• Kali Ah Yuen

Clubhouse: My Experience With the New Voice-Based Social Media App

Over a month ago, when a colleague mentioned a new hub for creatives called “Clubhouse”, I thought it was a forum of some sort. A few weeks later, I heard it again when I was invited to join by an old co-worker. After searching into what it was, I soon realized that it was the hot new thing on the tech market that was slowly getting into the hands of creatives, industry experts, and social media pioneers.

Suddenly, I had a flashback to when TikTok first surfaced and my younger, naive self brushed it off like it was just a fad. (Man, was I so far from wrong!) I didn’t want to make that mistake again, especially being in the digital marketing profession. So, I opened my mind to this new platform and decided to document my experience. Here's everything I learned in a few weeks while using this new app.

What Is Clubhouse?

Created during the global pandemic, the voice-based social media platform was an inspirational call to arms. Clubhouse is a social media app where venture capitalists and social media pioneers gather to mingle with one another (while in quarantine). It is currently invite-only as it is in beta mode, but is looking to open to the public sooner rather than later.

Think of Clubhouse like walking into a party where you know people are ready to mingle. You might be a little reserved at first, taking note of all the conversations around, but the key here is to chat with your voice. This is because it is an audio-based app where you literally talk to others in virtual rooms.

You can hold one of three roles in the rooms: a Moderator, Speaker, or Audience Member. The moderators are exactly what it sounds like, people who moderate the discussion. The speaker is on a virtual stage above the audience with the moderator and is able to add to the discussion by chiming in. And the audience members are essentially people who just listen in. You can go in and out of the room and have the ability to mute your mic, similar to Zoom calls.

There’s no pressure in consistently being on the app posting about your day because the only thing you upload is a profile photo of yourself. It’s a breath of fresh air from the pressure of posting pretty, aesthetic photos and seeing your neighbor’s post about politics that somehow ended up on your feed again.

Did I mention the app also has its own lingo? That’s a story for another time.

What Do You Talk About?

Really, whatever is on your mind. You can create a room for a discussion or enter other rooms that peak your interest. The whole point is to connect with other humans. After I signed up, the first room I went into was about A&R for upcoming artists where music insight was being shared. I then joined a room called Clubhouse American Idol and listened in on users singing in a virtual talent show. Last night, I even hosted my first room that was focused on zodiacs. There were several other chat rooms about women in business, public relations and marketing, what everyone had for breakfast, and activism. Any topic is fair game! And every conversation goes away once the room has closed, but the creators are in talks about changing that to where you can record segments to keep for later.

What’s All The Hype Around Clubhouse?

Aside from notable celebrities, like Kevin Hart, Joe Budden, Oprah, and Drake, being active on the new platform, it’s a safe space where real and raw conversations take place. Because it’s still a fairly small community, people are jumping at the chance to make as many beneficial connections as possible. So you'll find a lot of professionals networking, and creatives cultivating community.

Since the global pandemic took away the chance to make physical connections and stripped others of their jobs, some might look at Clubhouse as the next big thing. Think about it -- there’s a reason we choose to jump on a Zoom call rather than email back and forth. It’s the beauty of social media in all its true essence.

Is There A Negative Side?

Every social media platform has a negative side, but in this case, it’s very minimal. You won’t come across the typical “troll” who likes to stir up drama, or the overly opinionated person who refuses to see another’s point of view. However, there are consequences to being in rooms with people who have a limited set of ideas.

Just be aware of people who might call themselves “experts” or refuse to hear out other people in the room. When it comes down to it, we’re all just trying to use our First Amendment right.

Another big thing is to be aware of who is in the room with you. Many times you might not realize that someone you know is in there hearing you bash their situation or someone could be screen recording you saying something that you might regret later. It goes back to the saying, “be careful with what you put on the internet because it might not go away.”

Is It Worth It?

From my experience, absolutely! If you’re in a profession that calls you to be on top of trends and find opportunities, then you need to look into ways you can get an invite to the app. I’m not a huge podcast listener myself, and the structure of the app kind of functions like a live podcast in my opinion, but growing up with a passion for social media has really made me appreciate it. And the fact that I get to create a community with like minded people (and even those who challenge my thoughts), is an experience unlike any other.

I’ve networked with other professionals, found inspiration for my music, and even made a friend or two who I engage with on a regular basis outside of the app. Clubhouse is what you make it. It can feel like a waste of space on your phone if you don’t care to hear these conversations or it can be a very educational resource.

Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoy the app in all its glory. There's opportunity to learn something new every day and the convenience of it is unbeatable. All you have to do is tap into a room and listen. It also allows you to listen in even when you tap out of the app, for all you multitaskers out there. The simple formula that the creators stumbled upon is sheer genius. This might even be the future of social media.

That being said, keep Clubhouse on your radar. It’s not going anywhere and if its recent success shows anything, it’ll be booming in 2021. Twitter is already talking about launching something similar on its platform if that says anything!

If you’re reading this and have a profile on Clubhouse, add me @kaaliflower, and let’s have a conversation.

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