Updated: Jan 17, 2021
Welcome to your next social media addiction: Clubhouse—a unique live audio platform.
What Is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is a live audio app that allows people to listen to or actively participate in live discussions. Nothing is recorded. When the room ends, that conversion is gone forever.
It’s like a never-ending conference covering eclectic topics. You just enter a room and start listening. Or if you’re like me, you spontaneously host your own room and people magically show up (and they really do). The conversations can last for hours.
Clubhouse was built by Paul Davison, who previously founded serendipitous offline people-meeting location app Highlight and reveal-your-whole-camera-roll app Shorts before his team was acquired by Pinterest in 2016. This year he debuted his Alpha Exploration Co startup studio and launched Talkshow for instantly broadcasting radio-style call-in shows. Spontaneity is the thread that ties Davison’s work together, whether its for making new friends, sharing your life, transmitting your thoughts, or having a discussion.
It’s very early days for Clubhouse. It doesn’t even have a website. Don’t confuse it with the similarly named Clubhouse.io.
What makes the platform fascinating is what’s been stripped away. There’s no private messaging and no written comments. It’s ONLY audio. Your voice is your instrument. When you use it to provide value, you can go far with this platform.
As you enter a room, you hear ongoing conversations. If you raise your hand, you might be called up on stage to join the discussion. As you contribute to the conversation, you might be made a moderator. This allows you to call others up on the stage.
The expected on-stage behavior is to mute yourself until you’re called on or until you have something important to add. As this happens, the room transforms into a naturally structured conversation, where the moderators control the dialog. As long as someone is moderating, a room can run for hours.
Similar to Podcasting
Like a podcast, you can listen while you’re multitasking. If you’re running out of good podcasts to listen to, let this app fill your need for valuable spoken content.
What makes the app super-sticky are the diverse and well-spoken individuals who host rooms and participate in discussions. Outside of known celebrities—like MC Hammer—there are many well-connected people you’ve likely never heard of, leading rich dialogs. Anyone can start a room.
As of this writing, it’s an invite-only experience to get into Clubhouse, currently available in the App store for iPhone. Each person is granted only limited invites. Experienced members told me that more activity on the platform unlocks more invites. This has created a special exclusivity that makes for a carefully curated community (and a lot of curiosity).
Don’t worry if you can’t find an invitation. Download the app and set up your account. Someone who knows you might be notified in-app automatically and grant you access.