At a Glance
The invite-only app has skyrocketed in its popularity and now has over 10 million users. With a staggering market valuation of $1 billion, Clubhouse has emerged as the most popular option for like-minded users to connect and share their thoughts. Ever since its emergence on the social networking scene, Clubhouse is revolutionizing how users perceive and use social media and networking in the virtual world.
Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage.
Amy Jo Martin
In the way Twitter is about words, Instagram about pictures, and YouTube about videos, Clubhouse is a free social networking platform that revolves around audio conversations. The modern-day unanimated “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” is an iOS app that has recently climbed up the popular ladder. It was launched by Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth in March 2020. Clubhouse is an app where people can interact via exchanging audios. Users can listen to conversations, interviews, and discussions between various people on various interesting topics. It can also be explained as a podcast platform where several people can discuss various topics based on their interests. However, unlike a podcast, you cannot go back and listen to a recording. The platform is designed to engage on a live basis so no recording!
In a league of its own
Clubhouse comes with a layer of exclusivity. Unlike all other free apple store apps, users first need to get an invite to install Clubhouse. This makes Clubhouse an “elite” group. When you join Clubhouse, you are presented with various interesting topics like technology, books, business, or health. Once you choose your picks, the app provides more information about your interests. It will then recommend you various conversation rooms and individuals you can follow and join.
The conversation room is similar to a conference room. One difference here is that there are only some people talking and more people listening. Once the conversation is over, just like a phone call, the room is closed. Clubhouse is supposed to be a safe space where celebrities and regular people can answer questions, conduct lectures, showcase talent, and share stories without having recordings or unethical video clippings lingering on other social media platforms as the aftermath.
To begin with, the exclusivity of Clubhouse is working in its favor. The recent celebrity entries have hiked its demand. It has created intrigue in the normal audience; everybody wants to have a conversation with eminent personalities. However, this app is far from making distinctions in the lines of popularity. The app’s main feature being voice-only, further pursues human connectivity. It has eased the worry of people to recheck their appearances. The ability to leave the room as and when you wish to have also attracted many users. It allows one to listen to conversations from their comfort zone or while performing another task. Clubhouse has comfort and convenience listed in its fundamentals.
The Journey So Far
Since Clubhouse is invite-only, most of the users of the app are celebrities. In the beginning of December 2020, it had just 3,500 members from across the world. It later increased up to around 600,000 users. This crowd includes Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, and Drake. In Germany, Bodo Ramelow has a conversation on Clubhouse about playing Candy Crush on his phone during online pandemic response meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mark Zuckerberg was also present on the platform to talk about the technology and the future
Clubhouse recently gained a lot of popularity, with Elon Musk hosting an audio-chat on the platform with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. This audio chat led the conversation rooms of Clubhouse to reach their maximum capacity. The demand for this conversation was so high that it resulted in the live streaming of the same on YouTube, making Clubhouse the talk of the town. This ignited a scramble for invitations.
The premise around the app is straightforward but intriguing. It is so impressive that the app’s audience jumped from 600,000 users in December last year to over 2 million a month later, even when the app is not open to the public yet. It recently announced the addition of various new features. Its latest funding makes the value of Clubhouse $1bn. It is now considered a unicorn startup.
However, Clubhouse was recently banned by the Chinese government. Clubhouse grew very popular in China, and it managed to break the Chinese government’s rigid walls. Unlike all other social media apps like Facebook and Instagram, it worked in China for several months. It attracted many Chinese users as it provided them with a rare platform of uncensored and unrestricted healthy conversations. They were able to engage in conversations that were usually blocked on the mainland.
Apart from this, E-commerce sites in China started offering Clubhouse potential users a chance to buy invites. On platforms like Xianyu and Taobao, invite codes were sold for between $23 – $61.
Revolutionizing Social Media and Networking
The emergence of Clubhouse has revolutionized social media networking. What sets it aside from other social media apps like Facebook and Instagram is that Clubhouse centers on experience and engagement among users. There is a substantially diverse group of users who join Clubhouse.
While Instagram requires users to scroll through content and YouTube offers passive watching, Clubhouse focuses on listening and interaction. It is also far off from physical appearances, which create a subtle shift in the social media world. This knows appearances and interests over personalities.
Apart from this, the app’s algorithm also creates an individual experience for the user. Recommendations are suggested keeping in mind the interests chosen. Here, Clubhouse has revolutionized the way our feed on Instagram or YouTube appears. On these platforms, the recommendation is fueled by likes or one’s network of friends or acquaintances. Clubhouse, on the other hand, brings into light an interest-focus perspective. Users can create communities around domains of their interest and can engage in conversations that they want to. This boosts the user experience and helps in the persistent quality of engagement. It could also be called more authentic than its competitors. In literal, Clubhouse delivers the same genre of content just in a different form.
The Road Ahead
Soon, the founders of Clubhouse are planning to open the platform for users to make it public. It will also be available to Android users. Localization features are expected to be added, meaning that the user can experience the conversation and feel “native”. Clubhouse has slowly tilted the audio conversations into light reading. Since there is also a boom of interest in listening platforms of India, drawn from analyses that suggested that there was a 42% growth in March 2021 in audio streaming platforms, it has pushed apps like Spotify, Gaana, and Saavn to diversify their collections and incorporate podcast collections in their offerings. Pandemic has also favored audio-based content. Considering these facts, Clubhouse is expected to continue enjoying this steady growth in the near future. The more users it will have, the more rooms and domain discussions, and the more diversity the platform will enjoy.