I have been commissioned to write a blog about ClubHouse. Without knowing too much about ClubHouse, I have now forced myself to get a little into it. I have heard about it before, but I do not have in-depth knowledge, and the idea of this blog is then to make a subjective juxtaposition of pros and cons, as well as to explain some of the things that I have encountered on my way.
When I started researching this blog, I asked people around them if they used ClubHouse, and what they think about the app. There were surprisingly many of my contacts who thought it was a weakness that the content they were interested in was not available when they wanted it. I’ll explain it a little further down.
Let’s start a little with the beginning.
ClubHouse is a social medium. It is the sixth largest social media in the world, according to the App Store. What sets ClubHouse apart from other social media is that it is 100% voice-based. It is an app where you talk together. For real. With words and voices and such. In the App Store, 5,600 people have given their rating of the app, and they have given an average of 4.6. This is great. At the same time, it is my personal opinion that people like to give an assessment when something is really good or really bad, and rarely in between. That they have received an average of 4.6 (out of 5) bodes well.
Since ClubHouse is still in beta, the founders want to have control over the number who use it. Therefore, it is only possible to create an account if you have received an invitation from another. Now it should be said that it is not particularly difficult to obtain such an invitation, so one can ask questions about this scheme.
ClubHouse was founded in 2020, and became seriously known when Elon Musk debuted on the app on February 1 this year. He attended a late night chat called The Good Time Show. Musk’s performance broke the space boundaries (funny pun there, since Musk loves space ..) which is 5,000 people, and led to the app in the coming weeks increased from 3.5 million users to 8.1 million users on 1 February to 16 February. Pretty good for an app that is only 10 months old.
The first thing that meets you when you have logged in is a number of settings that you have to decide on; interests, languages, etc. Based on that, you will be introduced to a selection of people who know something about these topics. These are pre-selected for you, and if you click OK here, you will follow them. ClubHouse does this to give you a good start, so that your feed is not empty. That’s a good idea. Unfortunately, I find that it does not work properly. Suddenly my feed was full of Arabic conversations. Since I do not speak Arabic, this was a little less useful than I had hoped.
Rooms, clubs, stage
Clubhouse uses some unfamiliar terms that are good to know.
The most famous concept is space. A room is a conversation, where you can come and go as you please, and you can choose whether you just want to listen to the conversation, or whether you want to participate actively. In the room there is a stage and an audience. The stage is the area of the conversation where you actively participate. The audience is the area where you only listen.
The conversations in the Clubhouse are not recorded. For this reason, you have to be present when it happens to get something. For me who is interested in sports, I could have been interested in a discussion about the reopening of sports, which I was told an hour later that had taken place. I mentioned at the beginning that many were skeptical of the app, and that this was the reason.
Perhaps the biggest problem with ClubHouse is that many people feel that the content they are looking for is not there WHEN they are looking for it. Because in ClubHouse it is not allowed to record the content. You have to be there when it happens. At the same time, several people point out that if one had recorded the conversations, it could lead to fewer people coming to the stage to talk. It is expressed that one of the strengths of the conversations not being recorded is that you get a more natural flow in the conversation, which makes the rooms more lively and that you can have the good conversations.
Each room is first created by one person. This person will be the Moderator. A room can have many moderators, this is a bit like administrators in other social media. These have the property that they can mute people (ie turn off the microphone), they can place people down from the stage and in the audience, or they can pick up people from the audience and up to the stage. They can also choose to kick people out if they think they are using a language or tone that does not fit in the room.
ClubHouse has different clubs, which are like groups in other social media. By following these clubs, you get access to information about when certain conversations take place. These conversations are called events.
One of the rooms that first appears when you log in to look at, is “The sofa corner – The coziest room at the Clubhouse”. This is a room where you talk about everything and nothing. This was the first room I went into, and here you immediately get up the conversation to the others. The other participants in the room can see who is there, and whether they are on stage or just in the audience. The two ladies who talked together when I was there were concerned about health and well-being. When at one point it seemed like they were running out of conversation, I was challenged to talk. This is perhaps where the great strength of the Clubhouse comes in. For in many cases on other social platforms
more I have noticed that many are reluctant to talk. To pick up the phone when someone calls, and then mainly numbers that they do not know. Many people want doctors, government agencies and others to send text messages first, saying that they are calling before they call. At Clubhouse you are challenged to the opposite, namely to speak – vocally speak, not key / chat – to other people you do not know before. This is highlighted by many as a good way to learn to “take the stage”. Many people have to stand in front of an assembly and talk at some point, and then it’s a good opportunity here to get used to it. It can in many cases remove a stage fright.
When I was inside Sofakroken, I also met a person who told me that I should follow Charles Joachimsen. This is a person who holds the course «moderator school», which can be useful to follow.
In addition, I was advised that if you search for “Clubhouse Norway” on Facebook, you would get two groups that you can sign up for. Here you get events and events that you can possibly add to your calendar.
My perception of Clubhouse changed after this conversation I had in Sofakroken. When I downloaded the app, my starting point was that I had heard something negative about it, I had heard little positive, and it seemed that the trend in general was on the way down. After using it for less than a day, I have a partially changed perception. Because even if some of the content is complicated to find, and the content is not there when I want, it is a big point that you get the opportunity to talk to other people – such a real chat – about things that concern you. That someone will get more used to talking in front of strangers is for me a big, big plus in the book.
Another thing that is good about ClubHouse, in my eyes, is that you get the opportunity for a discussion about what you want. You can have this discussion while driving, working, walking, etc. It requires no subtitling, as all conversation is oral, and you can choose whether you want to follow the conversation, or whether you want to participate actively. That way, it’s a bit like Teams, only on social media. There are several clubs designed to allow users to walk together, individually, while chatting. It is both socially stimulating and traffic safe. Hopefully many people will not have to collide with lampposts while walking when using this app.
It is difficult to find any information about Clubhouse’s algorithm. As I mentioned above, you get the opportunity to come up with some interests and information when you create your account. Based on that, you get a number of people who can fill your feed with that content. When you get to the main page, you will see a search icon in the upper right corner. Here you can search for both individuals and clubs. In these clubs you can see who has signed up, and you can choose to follow them. From what we understand, Clubhouse’s algorithms will improve as you use the feed, and you will get more and more relevant content in your feed.
A major weakness is that the app only works on iOS. So iPhone. But now it should be said that the app is currently in a beta testing (second test for full launch), so it may be that it both comes for Android and also opens to everyone without an invitation in the next round.
And at the time of writing, I read that Facebook is launching its own Clubhouse competitor «Live Audio Rooms». It will be exciting to see which of them wins the war ahead. The story is full of projects with good intentions, where one is acquired by others. You can only speculate about what happens to Clubhouse.
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