Audio has made a comeback with a new social platform: Clubhouse
Clubhouse in a nutshell
Clubhouse is an invite-only social media app that allows users to launch or drop in on ‘Rooms’ (or audio-only chat rooms) with friends, followers or the general public. You can best compare it to live podcasting or a kind of talk radio with talk guests. The technology is innovative and refreshing in such a way that it is possible to talk at the same time. How so? Clubhouse does not use the audio setup of e.g. Zoom, where all voices are pushed through one and the same channel, but rather that of a simple phone call, where all voices get a separate channel. This ensures better quality and easier conversation.
The central premise? According to a post from co-founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth: “Our goal was to build a social experience that felt more human - where instead of posting, you could gather with other people and talk. Our north star was to create something where you could close the app at the end of the session feeling better than you did when you opened it, because you had deepened friendships, met new people and learned.” In other words, they want to create a virtual clubhouse or café with each discussion happening in a different Room.
To join the app, you must have an iPhone and receive an invitation from a Clubhouse member. We do have good news for Android users: they are currently working on an Android app. And Clubhouse might want to launch this soon, as there are rivals in the field already. Because Facebook feels threatened. And that means that there are two possibilities: either they buy Clubhouse or they rebuild the app themselves (and rumor has it that Facebook is already building a competitive product). Only time will tell!
Why should you care?
Clubhouse might be a game changer in the social media space. Audio brings people together - two million people (and counting) to be precise - in a world where social distancing holds sway and Zoom fatigue rules. It stills our hunger for voice. But, apart from the ongoing pandemic, people really appreciate its authenticity: everyone can fake an image, but it’s hard to fake a live voice. Furthermore, individuals - and not brands - are taking part in the conversation. You only see someone’s first name. And Clubhouse is determined to keep it that way. In fact, it’s very intimate and close, as the social network is in or near your ears. Some call it the first social network for AirPods. And, last but not least: it plays into your Fear Of Missing Out, something all social media channels have in common. But unlike other social channels, you have to follow the conversation in real time. It’s about volatile audio, as opposed to podcasts. Up until now, there is no option to record the conversation and listen to it when it suits you the best. In that way, it’s at odds with the ‘on demand’ trend.
So, how can you act upon it professionally? For now, it seems that thought leaders and major influencers from different industries are benefiting mostly from it. Clubhouse is all about sharing knowledge about a specific topic and increasing community connection. Clubhouse is planning on investing in their creators, as they are the lifeblood of Clubhouse. With their new funds, co-founders Paul Davison and Rohan Seth want to help them thrive: “We want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions. Over the next few months, we plan to launch our first tests to allow creators to get paid directly - through features like tipping, tickets or subscriptions.” So, it seems that they will evolve towards a paid version, where the audience will need to buy a ticket from the creators to enter a specific Room. This potential business model, being the marketplace model, might work very well: imagine that Tomorrowland creates a Club and organizes several Rooms where you could have a chat with your favourite DJs. We’re convinced that people will be willing to pay for that!
Some Clubhouse best practices
Time to experiment! Now, it’s your turn to get to know the app and explore its possibilities! We feel ‘behind the scenes’ seems to work really well in Clubhouse. Because it's always uncomfortable at first, we provide some best practices that will help you out:
1. Just do it
As Nike would say: just do it. Get hold of an invitation, join a Room about a topic that interests you, raise your hand and join the conversation. Next, launch a Room yourself with some colleagues or friends. Just cross that threshold and remember that everyone is new to Clubhouse and thus experimenting.
2. Keep it short & snappy
Whether you are an attendee or a creator, keep it short and snappy at all times. Avoid monologues and keep the conversation alive. It goes without saying that you should avoid awkward silences too, or you’ll lose the attention of your audience.
3. Assign a role to every creator
When you launch a Room yourself, make sure that all creators are assigned to a role. In that way, the whole conversation will run smoothly and you’ll avoid chaos!
- The resetter: Someone needs to make an introduction at the beginning of the conversation. That person needs to repeat that shortly every 15 minutes, so incoming people are up-to-date as well.
- The moderator: You need someone who takes on the role of the anchorman. He or she has to steer the conversation in the right direction and designate people who are allowed to speak up.
- The hosts: To make the conversation interesting, you need at least one host - ideally two. He or she is an expert on the topic and can consequently answer all questions.
- The gatekeeper: When people raise a hand, someone has to allow them one by one on ‘the stage’. In that way, they are able to speak up and e.g. ask a question.
In the ideal world, there are five creators, but someone can also take on multiple roles.
4. Workarounds awaiting new features
As Clubhouse is still in its infancy, users are looking for workarounds. For example, applause is given by turning your microphone on and off and on and off … real fast.
Our advice? Familiarize yourself first with the app and look for possible opportunities to create scalable and engaging content. One thing is certain: with Clubhouse, audio has made a comeback. It’s simple yet ultra powerful. Need help (or an invitation)?