Clubhouse, what‘s the hype

What is Clubhouse? If you have missed the hottest and most hyped social media app, you‘ve probably been too busy skiing. It is hard to escape the Clubhouse-madness that has been released at the beginning of this year.

Clubhouse is essentially a live podcast app. It allows its users to create rooms in which varies topics are discussed. Anyone can listen in to the conversation, and even raise their hand to ask the moderator if they can join.

But why has it become so popular in such a short amount of time? Is it really worth the hype, or just a great way to distract yourself when you’re stuck in your home offices.

At this point, I am not entirely sure what to think of it.

On the one hand, I find it fascinating that a live chat/podcast app can draw as much attention to itself as Clubhouse does. On the other hand, I feel that there are too many people are going all in on the format, causing a big stir for a little while, that might just as well blow over in a few weeks to come.

What can be said is that @joinclubhouse fits our current, isolated needs perfectly. The people on the platform (the host and its guests) do not need to dress up nicely to join. All you need is an iOS device and you are good to go and join the club.

Haven’t we all been craving a bit of airtime with our peers, secretly at least? Blow off some steam on a topic close to our hearts, and waiting to have a “real” conversation with someone again?

Clubhouse is the app to beat at the moment. Tech enthusiasts and (wannabe) entrepreneurs are flocking onto the app to leave a good first impression. Everyone is eager to use the positive momentum and build up their new empire of listeners.

If you haven‘t tried it out already, give it a go. That is, if you manage to get invited. The @joinclubhouse app is in public beta, only available to iOS users and someone will need to let you in to get started.

I wonder how long it will take for Clubhouse to introduce the possibility to listen back to recordings, or save them for a later date. Turning shows into episodes that can be listened to at a later stage, would be very appealing. One of the main selling points is that fact that you have to be present to „witness“ what goes on in the Club House.

But for marketing purposes and to share the insights with a larger audience, the app will need to broaden its feature set. If it is able to be the go-to place for professional hangouts and conferences, it could rival Spotify and Apple‘s podcast services.

Therefore, it is essential to add new features that support better moderation of conversations. And of course, add support for other operating systems than merely iOS devices. There are millions upon millions of Android users out there, dying to get on the platform. Unless… Apple? Are you interested in buying a live streaming podcasting app that is nicely integrated in your ecosystem?

This could be the podcast-killer or accelerator “everyone” has been waiting for.

The beauty of an app like Clubhouse is that everyone who joins a room, is themselves. It is highly unlikely that someone would hire a voice-double to join a room in their name. Therefore, the conversations remain authentic and (until now) fairly unscripted.

Authenticity is key with this product. There are too many Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, that are managed by agencies, and even a couple of very smart bots. As long as the app stays as open and authentic as it is today, it might have an interesting future ahead.

Twitter recently released two features that are mighty close to what @joinclubhouse can do:

  1. The ability to add voice tweets
  2. Closed Tweet-groups, the possibility to allow for a limited number of people to comment on a Tweet

Why have Twitter not been able to put both together? Jack Dorsey‘s vision of making the platform more personal and authentic, made a lot of sense. And this new kid on the block is doing exactly that. Both the technical capabilities (audio recording) and forming groups are available on Twitter. I feel that they should jump on board of this trend and use their follower power to create an alternative to this app.

In essence the difference between a Twitch, YouTube livestreams, or ClubHouse are not that big. The main differentiator is the fact that the user does not have to show themselves. Hence, the experienced is less staged and if feels as though you (as a user) can eavesdrop on a phone call between peers.

Maybe we‘ll see other platforms use their reach and technical capabilities to offer audio-only streams, too. But as time has shown, there is a space in the market for single purpose apps. Not everyone is a fan of using a one-stop shop for all of their social interactions.

Regardless of whether they do or not, be sure to check out the app for yourself. And happy listening. Maybe see you in one or two rooms as well and be sure to find me on Clubhouse and follow me on Twitter to find out when I‘ll be going live. My social handle: @rlivain

Have a great day everyone, and stay healthy

Remco

Originally published at Remco Livain.

Dutch Digital Entrepreneur. Love to share thoughts on innovation and digitalization (ceo @gandt ventures) - writer @thestartup

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