An avatar on the wall recounting of the future of social audio networks
Many celebrities have migrated to the Clubhouse app, an as yet invitation only, iOS only social audio network. For a more detailed background in the way the app works and what’s going on please see our articles below.
[this is second in a series of stories recounting live Clubhouse experiences]
A few basic concepts for the Clubhouse un-initiated:
How to get your account set up and what’s what in the app
For a basic breakdown: the app is audio only. Once you are invited (or get on the waiting list and are let in by a sponsor) and ready to set up your account you will be prompted for the usual things, user name, real name, bio, phone number and so forth. You can also direct connect a live link Twitter and Instagram accounts, which is where the “DMs” have to happen since the app has no built in messaging.
Once is you will see there are “rooms” and “clubs”. Rooms are always available and can be joined or created by all members. If you join a “live” room you are, as default, put into the “audience” which has two sub-sections: the “followed by the speakers” section which gives you a kind of front row seat, and the “non-followed” regular audience. The audience members have no microphone button and cannot speak without it.
To become a speaker you can click on a “hand” symbol which activates “raise your hand” allowing any “moderator” (designated with a “green bean” asterisk icon) to invite you to the “stage”, which is where the speakers reside.
The moderators do have the power to interrupt a speaker or even kick a speaker back to the audience, thereby removing any speaking privileges.
The magic of the app is in this structure, clubhouse etiquette, and the ability to have multi-minds from all walks of life that, generally, choose a topic for the room and then, with the guidance of the moderators, get input from various speakers on stage.
“Clubs” are like permanent rooms that also have signed-up members (some have thousands or tens of thousands of them) and these often have scheduled sessions, weekly, daily or otherwise, in advance.
Mr. Beast, Brad Pitt (not) and a Spontaneous Room with a View
An example of what awaits, at random, on any given day or night when strolling the hallway of rooms on the app, can be imagined from the following account of what happened on a sleepy Valentines eve:
In a temporary room called “Let’s see how many listeners we can get” the name at the top of the list of speakers was Mr. Beast (real name: Jimmy Donaldson), well known to be in the top 3 earners and view-getters on YouTube, with millions of dollars earned and billions of views seen.
Famous for give-away videos and a heart of gold, with endless clever ideas for stories told with a payoff- literally and figuratively, joining a room with him as moderator and surrounded by other YouTube royalty would clearly be worthwhile to “audit” from the audience for anyone who has an interest in the dominant video platform.
Once in the room, the voice of Mr Beast and others discussing how to succeed on YouTube was like a masterclass dream session.
The banter was entertaining, the various also-famous experts were very knowledgeable and helpful, and there was no real hint of whitewashing. This was a real and open discussion of the challenges and potential of the real-world YouTube creator’s life.
Also in the group of speakers (on stage and in the sort of bullpen of alternates, mostly comprised of people followed by those “on stage”) were several high level YouTube heads, those with real knowledge of the inner workings of the platforms algorithms and policies.
Many questions from the various luminaries were directed at the YouTube folks and the answers were amazingly candid and conciliatory. Naturally having the top creators gathered in a room would tend to do that.
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When a couple of mid-level and small time YouTube creators were invited to speak and they asked technical questions related to how best to monitor views and audience behavior in order to guide future content creation ideas.
The room was thrilled with the questions and gave thoughtful, seemingly valuable tips and feedback.
That, in a nutshell, at least for now, is the power and shocking effectiveness of the Clubhouse. This kind of star-studded panel, if one were to attend such a presentation at a conference or trade show, would take months to set up and likely cost attendees thousands in fees and travel costs.
On Clubhouse it’s just Mr Beast being himself and giving to his audience, only this time in the form of a learning experience instead of cash or Lamborghinis.
Non-self-aggrandizing honest sharing in an intimate setting
A few of the video luminaries on the stage were co-founders of the platform Nebula which is an alternative video platform, but, in keeping with the constructive tone of the room, no overt attempt was made to promote or sell that connection. This was in contrast to some rooms and clubs that come across more as infomercials than frank open discussions.
As a general takeaway, with a bit of live experience on Clubhouse it is astounding how unique the character and tone of each room or club is based on the instigator (in this case Mr. Beast) and the invited speakers.
One humorous anecdote from this room was, coincidentally during a discussion of the ineffectiveness of A-list Hollywood stars on YouTube, “Brad Pit” entered the room. When immediately brought to the stage and invited to speak and give his personal ideas, he briefly began shouting (?) in what sounded like Armenian.
Since the voice and choice of language and attitude was very unlikely the real Brad Pit he was booted from the stage and the room.
Interestingly this came on the heels of a lengthy discussion of fake copy-cat accounts on YouTube and other platforms and the damage they can do.
Suddenly, after several hours of intelligent, illuminating discussions, a speaker intimated that there was evidence that the room was being recorded (not permitted on Clubhouse) and the decision was made to terminate the room instantly. And it was gone.
All in all, this room was one of the most effective examples of how the verbal sharing of information and ideas, coupled with the possibility to interact, even if just as a listener, with some of the most known and accomplished figures in various fields of endeavor, makes Clubhouse a hit and hint at what the future of Social Networks may hold.
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