Clubhouse, an App created by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth (2020). The App grew in popularity in recent months and download figures are sitting at several million. Currently, Clubhouse is invite-only and available on Apple/iOS but will eventually be available to everyone.

Our colleague Tony McGovern looked at the Clubhouse App and covers what it is, how to get started, potential uses and some privacy issues.

What is Clubhouse?

It is an audio-based social media platform. There are opportunities for networking, conversation, marketing, discussion and live podcasts.

The Clubhouse App is currently only available on Apple/IOS which allows you to listen to live talks and/or join in discussion. An Android version is on it’s way but the launch date has not yet been confirmed.

To join, users need invites from existing Clubhouse members. So be prepared to give the Clubhouse App access to your contacts if you want to send invites. The App allows users to host and/or join conversations.

Getting started

Once signed up, Clubhouse allows you to add interests and it suggests recommendations to you. The Calendar Icon allows you to see the schedule of talks based upon your choices. Listed talks have titles and details of talk themes, along with information on the speakers.

There is a Calendar feature and talks can be added or a notification reminder set. Again, talks can be shared with other people using the App and linked to you.

The vibe is said to be quite Ted Talk like (without the visuals). This is where there’s a main speaker and everyone else listens. Should you want to ask a question, there is a raise hand icon, be prepared to voice your question as you may well be made a temporary speaker.

What could Clubhouse be used for?

Having done some research, Clubhouse would be good for:

  • learning communities
  • marketing
  • influencing
  • networking
  • conferences
  • sharing ideas

All these activities are in real-time. Remember, once the audio room closes, the content cannot be revisited again. This may encourage larger audiences.

Let’s look at Clubhouse from an Education viewpoint. The App could be used for Q&As or talks around particular topics. It might be a nice way to network and build a community of learning on a particular theme.

Students could follow talks relating to their area of study and gain different perspectives from peers in the community and from around the world.

Live talks

All talks are live! Once a talk ends, the talk room is closed by the host and effectively kicks users out. The room disappears. If you leave a room, it can be re-entered whilst the talk is live. However, closing of the room ends the talk and it cannot re-entered. Currently, the limit of people per room is 5000.

Talking in real-time

Talks are in real-time. There’s no pause, record or playback (from a users perspective). Also, rooms are not moderated although Clubhouse temporarily records audio.

They state:

Solely for the purpose of supporting incident investigations, we temporarily record the audio in a room while the room is live. If a user reports a Trust and Safety violation while the room is active, we retain the audio for the purposes of investigating the incident, and then delete it when the investigation is complete. If no incident is reported in a room, we delete the temporary audio recording when the room ends.

Clubhouse

Temporary recordings are encrypted. If an incident occurs, users can create an incident report in real-time which is backed up by the audio. Making incident reports after a room closes will not have any of the associated audio to back up the incident claim.

Are there privacy issues?

Yes, users are encouraged to share contact lists to invite new users and any social media links (i.e., to Twitter, etc.) in their profiles are also collected. Users of Clubhouse are encouraged to ‘authenticate‘ their accounts via third-party apps. This gives Clubhouse access to your followers on those platforms also. However for some users, this may not matter.

To conclude

The Clubhouse App as a social media platform is creating interest and traction. It seems good as it’s different to other social media offerings out there, it’s audio-based rather than visual.

Like any new platform, getting in on the action early can lead to increased audiences and followers. However, ask yourself why are you using Clubhouse? Are you a teacher? An influencer or marketer? A listener? And, is this the best use of your time?

After all, like most things on the internet, you time can slip away very quickly. And, watch out for your invite!


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