In late January, Clubhouse secured a US$100 million investment, valuing the company at US$1 billion.
It has since been making waves online for its exclusive and elusive nature.
The invite-only audio app has grown from having 1,500 users in May 2020 to over 600,000 in December that same year.
With the app, users can tune in to conversations, interviews and discussions between interesting people on various topics — much like listening to a live podcast.
Just like a phone call, once the conversation is over, the room is closed.
The catch is that the app cannot be joined by just anyone. It works on an invite-only basis, so you would have to receive an invite from an existing user first before you can join the ‘club’.
The relative privacy has spurred celebrities, thought leaders and entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and Jared Leto to make their presence visible on the app, so you can definitely expect to hear from them.
How Do I Get An Invite?
To join, an existing Clubhouse user has to send an invite from their app giving you access to set up an account.
If you are invited, you will receive a link that is sent to your phone number, directing you to an in-app sign-up page.
Without an invitation, users will have to reserve a username instead. This means they will be added to a waiting list until they receive an invite from a friend.
When someone joins Clubhouse, they’re automatically granted one invitation they can send to someone using their phone number.
To be able to invite more people, they have to “host rooms and participate”.
Unfortunately, the app is now available for iPhone users only.
However, the creators announced in a blog post that their 2021 goal is to complete the app’s beta stage, and eventually “open up Clubhouse to the whole world”.
Sharing Conversations Between Industry Professionals And Celebrities
Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Clubhouse does not deal with trivial information such as discussing what they had for lunch.
Instead, it has become the primary space for celebrities, media personalities, and industry professionals to share stories and advice.
Once you’re inside the app, you’ll see rooms of people having conversations. You might stumble across celebrities, musicians, entrepreneurs, and commentators sharing information and knowledge.
In fact, the app probably grew in popularity when Tesla founder Elon Musk hosted an audio-chat on the app with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev.
It helped propel Clubhouse to the top of the startup charts and sparked a scramble for invitations.
While large-scale events like Elon Musk’s appearance are aplenty, there are also niche interest groups that range from bitcoin to meditation to a mandarin learners club.
It’s also easy to set up private audio rooms for select friends, meetings, or one-on-one chats.
The experience is similar to online conferencing, where moderators have the mic, the audience can raise their hands to ask a question, and the moderators have the ability to bring the audience on “stage” to speak.
Audio rooms are where all the activities happen — imagine being at a large convention and peering into booths to listening to the conversations going on.
Clubhouse rooms shown in the hallway are public and anyone can hop into any of them at any time, to listen to conversations about any topic of their choice.
But is it really worth the hype? It all depends on your motivation for using the app.
If you’re looking to join or build communities or expand your connections, Clubhouse offers an easy way for you to rub shoulders with influencers and thought leaders.
Furthermore, the wealth of topics available offers a good opportunity for users to learn about something completely new at no cost.
It’s Not Without Controversies
Clubhouse was blocked in China on February 8 following the hosting of several uncensored conversations on sensitive issues on the platform.
According to The Financial Times, thousands of Chinese have been flocking to the app to debate on controversial issues, such as Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Taiwan’s sovereignty issue.
Besides that, Clubhouse also dealt with issues like bullying and harassment, since real-time conversations are harder to moderate.
However, according to the founders of the app, their ultimate aim is to “build a social experience that feels more human.”
Thus, it remains to be seen how the team will be able to manage conversations while keeping them authentic.
For now, Clubhouses’s exclusivity and success in courting celebrities and thought leaders will ensure the longevity of the app, and more viral moments.
Our north star was to create something where you could close the app at the end of the session feeling better than you did when you opened it, because you had deepened friendships, met new people and learned.
The Clubhouse Team in a statement
Featured Image Credit: Forbes / Know Techie
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