You can click and join in without any password or permission required, keeping things casual and spontaneous. So far, Clubhouse is ad-free and without revenue streams for users, but that is likely to change later once it rolls out ways for creators to earn from curating content (launching rooms that get a lot of traction).
What’s so special about it?
With no text comments, likes, images or videos being shared, Clubhouse has been dubbed the ‘anti-Facebook’ as it relies on engaging conversation, clear communication and oratory skills for users to to gain popularity. The app clearly encourages users to be genuine and stay true to themselves.
The platform thrives on ephemeral content, with audio recordings that disappear instantly once the conversation is over and the room is closed. There is no recording or proof of conversations, except Clubhouse maintains records for a while in case somebody reports an incident.
The instant exchange style makes Clubhouse similar to an intimate phone call, except there are dozens of strangers listening in, instead of just one trusted friend at the other end. Clubhouse is an opportunity for introverts to be social, as the lack of video feature makes it a more comfortable, welcoming space for those who feel shy or conscious in front of new people.
Clubhouse fills a void formed by the pandemic and serial lockdowns, a unique time in history that has made many people feel incredibly lonely and bored. For those who miss socialising, attending dinner parties and meeting new people, it is a brilliant getaway.
Compared to the performative nature of Facebook usage and exhibitionist style of Instagram feeds, Clubhouse counters narcissism, letting people’s voices and personalities shine, instead of superficial factors like appearances and pictures of expensive lifestyle. It also seems to be more equitable and meaningful than other social media platforms that people are hooked onto.
Conversation types vary from private one-on-one chats and group discussions to free talk shows, musical performances, crowd-sourced entertainment (singing, sharing jokes and stories), music listening sessions, workshops like table reads of scripts or poetry reading, webinars with experts invited as speakers on a serious topic, and even group meditation rooms (where everybody puts down their phones and meditates synchronously to relaxing instrumental music played by the host). Clubhouse is a place to share, a place to learn, and a place to chill – in every sense!
International leaders and influencers like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Malcolm Gladwell, Oprah and Tiffany Haddish (the comedienne who became the first Clubhouse celebrity to gain 1 million followers) have embraced Clubhouse in a big way, using it to casually voice their thoughts and opinions and build their personal brand.
Speaking of brands, the app is great for brands that are up for using ephemeral content without too many measurable insights to build communities. It is also great for the opposite of celebrities – regular folk who want to be noticed – to create a club (poetry, football, books, movies, etc. – it’s like being back in school, almost!) and find like-minded people to connect with. It would not be surprising if people landed job opportunities through passionate networking and socialising on Clubhouse.
To quote entrepreneur and speaker Gary Vee, platforms that replicate reality well, unlock something unique. If Twitter is imitating the town square, Clubhouse is imitating dinner tables, with conversations being dominated by 4-5 people who talk a lot.
To add to Gary’s perspective, Clubhouse is way more democratic and accessible than a dinner party, because even if you don’t speak, you can sit at the table, i.e., you can listen in on engaging conversations carried by interesting people.