When pulling up the Clubhouse website you only get a mysterious prompt and a waving emoji. It reads: “Hey, we’re still opening up but anyone can join with an invite from an existing user!” By downloading Clubhouse through the app store, you’ll join a seemingly endless wait list.
Clubhouse is an invitation-only audio based iPhone app that has been around for 11 months. By January of this year, the app was valued at $1 billion, having over 10 million active users per week. On eBay, invitations to join the app are sold for up to $125, with celebrities like Elon Musk and Joe Rogan making random appearances that make the experience all the more enticing. Plenty of celebrities have mentioned Clubhouse on their social media profiles.
The app allows users to create and join “rooms” where they drop in, listen to other people and post audio clips if they’re invited on the stage (which limits disruptions and guests who are there to derail the room’s conversation).
Once you enter the app, you have the option of creating a room or join other rooms. Rooms have different topics and are often hosted by an expert. These can range from discussions about cryptocurrencies, to Korean karaoke contests, to impassioned Real Housewives debates. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, there are no options for posting images or videos. The easiest way to describe Clubhouse is by calling it a temporary live podcast.
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Immediacy is important to Clubhouse, with rooms disappearing after guests are done. This is one of the main reasons why the app is so interesting to high profile users like celebrities and experts, giving them the freedom to post without self-consciousness. While the people in the room will hear what they have to say, the audio clips won’t make it onto a different website. If something scandalous is said, the outside world will only get a retelling of it.
The invite-only format means Clubhouse can only be downloaded by getting a direct invitation from someone. According to Clubhouse’s CEO Paul Davidson, the app will open at some point for everyone who’s interested in joining, including users with Android devices.
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In 2021, when there are several apps leading the social media charge, it’s worth pondering why downloading another app is beneficial. Aren’t there enough already? And while this is true, apps with new ideas tend to boom, with others trying their best to remain relevant and incorporate these new features in intuitive ways.
Much like TikTok, there’s a sense that Clubhouse is here to stay, especially if developers handle the app’s expansion with care. Clubhouse seems to provide social media users with a much needed sense of exclusivity and community.
But before you join, Inc. recently did an eye-opening story about how much of your personal information is being shared (without notifying you) and how hard it is to delete the app.
Says, Inc.: “It seems pretty clear that Clubhouse is getting ready to monetize the platform it’s building. That’s fair–every business should have a plan for making money. If that plan includes monetizing its users’ activity and data, I think we can all agree it should be upfront and transparent about that fact.”