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What is “Clubhouse” and Why is it The Next Big Thing in Social Media Networks?



Above: Photo Collage / Lynxotic / Adobe Stock

Getting more buzz daily and sign-ups continue to accelerate

Clubhouse is a fast growing “new” social media sensation that is growing at an amazing rate. It is also constantly morphing in an endless kaleidoscopic experience that comes from an amazing new technology: the conference call.

Exploring the paradox that having no gifs, no photos, no memes, not even a string of text is now the most added social app with the biggest buzz is as good a starting point as any.

Imagine you are unable to text, unable to send or post a photo, unable to speak unless you are called up or invited to be on on stage, need to use your real name for sign-up and must adhere to the specified topics and protocols of each room.

Read more: Mark Zuckerberg Joins ClubHouse: Crashes the App (for a short time)

Sounds restrictive right? But it is this very contrast with other forms of social media that seems, for many, liberating, even transcendent. Once you realize that you are in a room with, in some cases, 12 or so people on stage and thousands of people listening in the audience, its a bit like a panel discussion, but in a smaller rooms it’s like a small gang in Philly circled around an oil drum fire chatting (or conspiring as it were) while they rub their hands together to keep warm.

Next, imagine, in a few years, when apple’s “Animoji” capability is added, perhaps with a body, the ability to walk around with some scenic backgrounds and you have “Ready Player One” in real life.

Obviously gaming platforms approximate this but for non-gamers, as the tech sophistication advances, it becomes more viable and interesting. And it’s the enthusiasm from the public exploding for the speech only version of this that could be key in hastening the realization.

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On the other hand, clubhouse users are raving about, while others are lamenting, the intense intimacy that comes with speaking to, or sometimes whispering in, each other’s ears. The ASMR version of a conference call. With an audience.

There are also music rooms and a music mode – a higher fidelity version of a room where singing playing instruments and more is possible. The idea is to eventually do concerts (possibly paid) and even live collaborations and more.

The phenomenal nature and accelerated adoption since the launch is is perhaps just as much a reaction to the chaos and collisions that are so ubiquitous on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and others, as it is a fascination with the “new-yet-old” options enabled by the Clubhouse technology.

Users Date

1,500 May 2020

600,000 December 2020

2 million January 2021

6 million February 2021

Sources: TechCrunch, New York Times, Mashable, CNBC, Medium.

Add to all the the perfect synchronicity of the first lockdown phase of the pandemic corresponding to the initial public launch in March, 2020 and you have a historic paradigm shift that may well carry forward for years or even decades. Adaptation to new ways of communicating as a necessity and a natural next step.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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