Clubhouse is the latest big player in the world of social media. The audio-only platform officially launched on iOs in March 2020 and had 600,000 users by December 2020. Just a few months on, it has now been downloaded more than 10 million times and has over 2 million active weekly users.
And the app is still invitation-only.
So should you be finding someone who can invite you on to the mysterious new platform, or is it all just hype?
With every new platform comes new opportunities. The user base is growing, but there’s still a lot of room for you to become a leader on Clubhouse. And as an audio-based, you have the chance to actually speak to other like-minded people, or listen to others talk about things you’re interested in. It’s like a networking event without the pressure of appearance.
The live conversations give you the opportunity to hear first-hand what your favourite industry leaders think about something. There’s something quite personal about it. Like you’re listening in on a phone call. Sure, you can connect with Elon Musk on Twitter, for example, but how often are you going to get the chance to hear him speak live about colonies on Mars, crypto or Covid-19 vaccines?
Plus you can share your expertise. Stake your claim as a travel industry expert or the up-and-coming social strategist to watch out for. Open a room, show off your skills, speak with others and build your reputation as a thought leader. Think of it like audio LinkedIn 2.0.
Great Work Listening
By this, I mean Clubhouse rooms are great work-related background noise. Sometimes Greg James can be a little too entertaining on Radio 1 in the mornings, and you might not be in the mood for your usual podcast; Clubhouse is a fantastic option.
I personally prefer having a bit of background noise while working and making sure it’s work-related has been a game-changer. Your mind stays active even in those moments when you drift out of your little bubble of deep focus. The speakers may even say something that sparks an idea in the work you’re doing. Now wouldn’t that be useful?!
Now I know I’m not the only one fed up with zooms/teams/meets/any other catchy, one-word video call platforms. They’re handy while we’re wfh but the video call fatigue is real. I mean, BBC shared an article about it in April 2020. Only 1 month into lockdown 1.0! Little did we know…
Probably the most refreshing thing about Clubhouse is the lack of visuals. There’s no panic about crafting the perfect backdrop, looking 100% focused throughout, making yourself presentable etc etc. You simply join a room and continue with what you were doing. You can multi-task and not worry about looking scruffy or distracted. H E A V E N.
Weighing Up the Cons…
I’m very aware the Clubhouse app is still in its early stages, but my phone often gets filled with Clubhouse notifications. First, from someone scheduling a room. Then 15 mins later “XXX wants to start a room with you about…” before finally, “XXX is talking to XXX about XXX”. That’s 3 notifications for one discussion. One that I haven’t even added to my calendar.
I got quite neurotic about notifications after watching that documentary* last year so turned them all off. Why don’t I do that with Clubhouse, I hear you ask. Well, you can’t actually filter which type of notifications you do/don’t want to get and that leads on to con #3…
*The Social Dilemma, for anyone who didn’t guess.
You can follow certain topics, such as entrepreneurship, fitness, art or mindset. And you can follow people. Great. But finding a room you want to listen to is a bit of a challenge. Again, it’s important to remember the app is still in beta phase, but I personally don’t find it the most user-friendly platform. It’s nowhere near fair to compare with the likes of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, but there’s definitely room for improvement in my opinion.
This is the biggie. Clubhouse have harnessed the oldest marketing channel in the book — word-of-mouth — to an incredible level. The amount of talk around an app that only has 10 million downloads and 2 million active users is impressive. (I know “only” 10 million and 2 million sounds wrong, but these are low numbers compared to other social channels). They’ve played a fantastic game making it invite-only. We all know that “if you’re not on the list, you’re not coming in” makes everything more appealing. Ever heard that and not wanted in? Exactly.
Note: Gmail did the same waaay back in 2004. Only a few people were allowed access and each of these ‘beta’ users were then able to invite a few more friends and family. It was so successful that invites were put up for auction on eBay at the time. Gmail now has over 1.8 billion active users, so those are some pretty big footsteps to follow in…
But, is the chase better than the catch? The allure all in the mystery? 10 million downloads but only one fifth of that being active users would suggest so. Of course, people would only be talking about Clubhouse if it was worth talking about, that’s how word-of-mouth works. But the numbers are slightly off for me. It seems that after you finally gain access to this VIP platform, the shine wears off.
Android users, sorry if you’ve got this far without realising you might not actually be able to download Clubhouse yet. The app is currently only available for iOS users. Rumour has it they’re starting to roll out the Android version though. Then you’ve just got to get an invite…