Is Clubhouse Worth The Hype?

A Clubhouse Room

Tsū. Ello. Blab. MySpace. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. TikTok. You may not remember the former but most have heard of the latter.

I was an early adopter of Tsū and Ello though neither held my interest for long — their format simply didn’t improve or solve an issue outside of one of my existing platforms. There was no benefit for me outside of serving my innate curiosity of exploring something new and satisfying my own personal desire to be one of the first to try something new. We learn through experimentation and exploration.

When it comes to new technology, there are 5 stages of technological adoption: Innovator, Early Adopter, Early Majority, Late Majority, Laggards. My curiosity usually ensures I am in the early adopter category thus I find ways to explore new things as early as possible. I like being ahead of the curve — partly for the prestige of being able to share something I find wonderful with others and partly for the ability to be an “expert” and guide others through a process. It stems from my need to share and nurture.

It was October 2020 when Clubhouse first drew my attention. It niggled my mind to keep an eye on the platform though I knew no one actively using it. By November, I was looking for an invitation to join this invite-only platform despite the fact it was iOS and I was an Android user. I was determined to find a way to join. In early December, I found someone who could provide the much coveted invitation. With some careful maneuvering and an iPad, I downloaded the app and reserved my name. I was finally in the club!

Clubhouse is a “Drop-In Audio Only Chat.” Launched in March 2020, the app had a $100 million valuation in May 2020 despite having only 1500 members. By December 2020, there were 600,000 members and, in January 2021, that number has already surpassed 1 million users. But that is just the data. The platform is experiencing exponential growth — and it is not just because of the exclusivity! Clubhouse offers the conversation we are all missing in a time where Covid-19 has limited in-person connection.

So what is Clubhouse and, is it worth the hype?

The value of Clubhouse is very evident to me as I seek out conversation with people I have not yet met. I crave knowledge. I crave sharing experiences. I want to expand my connections. That said, it might not be right for you. The Clubhouse experience is very dependent on how you use it. You curate the experience. As with many platforms, you will find the marketers, the sellers, the coaches and the fringe groups, however, through careful curation of who you follow, you will customize the space to be what you want and need. My own space is full of people from vast backgrounds sharing knowledge and experience on an authentic level. When I want to listen, my favorite rooms include people like Dr. Jeff Spencer, a former Olympian, and Anil Gupta, a philosopher. My favorite rooms to host tend to be smaller rooms and one on one conversations with people of varied backgrounds — from students trying to discover their path to multimillion dollar CEOs.

Clubhouse had another huge benefit — it’s audio only. This has been said before and here is why it is so significant — you can multitask and listen while you work, do dishes, shower or any number of other things. Clubhouse is like a giant podcast list and I suspect it will replace listening to podcasts for many people. There is no need for fancy equipment, to be video ready or even to be in the office. Rough audio, poor signal, unscripted content. These are things that endear me to the platform. The authenticness is what I miss is this highly curated world. I seek the imperfect, open conversation and for me, that is what Clubhouse provides. It is the hallway conversation at events. It is the chance meeting with someone you never expected to meet. For me, Clubhouse is the perfect place for someone who no longer wants to simply be an audience member, a butt in a seat, at a speaker event — it is a place to engage, to meet others in the audience, a place to connect, learn and grow.

How to Use Clubhouse

  1. Clubhouse is an audio-only app. Each user has a profile picture and a bio section that can be customized. This is your only way to tell people who you are — you cannot message other users within the app. Make sure to complete your bio including interests and links to other social platforms so that people can connect with you. Emoji use is popular to emphasis information.
  2. As a new user, you may be tempted to follow everyone. Don’t!

Clubhouse shows you topics and conversations (Rooms) based on who you follow. Make sure that the people you follow are people you want to talk with, listen to, and learn from as you may otherwise end up with Room choices that simply do not interest you.

3. Rooms represent conversations. There are 3 levels of speakers — Moderators (marked with the green bean circle), Speakers, and Audience. Only Moderators and Speakers can speak. Anyone can join the audience and you can raise your hand to request to join the stage as a speaker or to ask a question.

4. A great thing about Clubhouse is the ability to quickly learn about a speaker without leaving the room. Click on the profile picture to view their summary (note: make sure your key points are in the first 3 lines of your profile). Click View Profile to find all their information. The conversation continues while you learn about the speaker.

5. Use the Law of Two Feet. If you find a conversation is not interesting you, leave the room and try a new one, or Start Your Own! Clubhouse experiences are what you make them. You can be a listener, a speaker, or both.

Originally published January 22, 2021 by Rebecca Palmer on Medium.

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