Clubhouse is an audio chat app that has caught the attention and money of Silicon Valley and beyond. It’s simply the latest way technology has brought people together at a time when physical proximity is frowned upon during a pandemic. The information reported that the service is looking at a $ 1 billion valuation, giving it unicorn status. And as such, it’s become the kind of party that everyone wants to go to, but few really can – for now.
But when you do get those coveted invitations, what do you do? Here’s everything you need to know about Clubhouse.
What is a clubhouse?
Clubhouse is an audio-based social network launched in March 2020, created by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth. Within the app there are virtual rooms you can enter to listen to a conversation on a specific topic or to join a conversation. You can also create a room on a specific subject yourself.
How does it work?
On the Clubhouse main page (The Hallway) you can browse all the rooms that are currently live and join any rooms you might be interested in. Once inside, you can listen or raise your hand by tapping a button if you want to say something. A moderator in the room will allow you “on stage,” which essentially gives you permission to talk.
You can also form clubs and join Clubhouse, which the app describes as “interest-based groups”. Clubs can do things like start rooms within the club and organize events. The app also has a calendar of upcoming events, such as a mental health conversation or a movie discussion. If you see something interesting, you can set a reminder notification.
How do I get an invitation?
Clubhouse is still in beta so you can’t just download it and jump on it. To participate, you need an invitation from someone already in the app. However, you can get on the waiting list by downloading the app (currently available for iOS only) and entering your phone number.
Should I talk or can I just lie in wait?
You are not required to speak. However, it is important to remember the size of the room. Some rooms can attract a few thousand people in the audience. You can certainly lurk there. But if you happen to be in a room with maybe five other people, it can be a bit tricky if you don’t say anything, so check how many people are in the room first if you’d rather lean back.
What’s the controversy surrounding it?
Over the summer, Clubhouse received some negative attention after an incident with New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz sparked a debate about how the media is treating Silicon Valley culture. This also sparked greater discussion of how the app deals with harassment, as well as questionable content such as conspiracy theories and disinformation.
What Does Clubhouse Do About Harassment and Questionable Content?
In terms of the app’s policies, threats of violence and harm, discrimination, bullying, abuse, harassment, and the dissemination of false information all violate Clubhouse Community Guidelines. In practice you can block a user and also report incidents.
There are two ways to report incidents. First, you can do it in real time. While a room is live, Clubhouse will make a temporary recording, which can be used to investigate an incident, if one is reported. However, if nothing is reported while the room is live, the audio will be removed. You can report an incident afterwards, but audio will not be available if the room is no longer live.
Part of the responsibility for keeping rooms on track also falls with the moderators of the room. A moderator can control who speaks and can propel the conversation. The app’s Community Guidelines suggest that a moderator can be a “positive, balanced force.”
Why is clubhouse popular?
There are a few factors that contribute to why Clubhouse has become so sought after. First, it started early in the pandemic, when physically meeting people in a room is discouraged. Entering a room and hearing other people speak has a special appeal in these times. There’s also the exclusivity of the app – often people want what they can’t have. The app has also attracted notable names (see next question).
Who is on the app?
Part of Clubhouse’s popularity is that it has attracted notable names including Haddish, fellow actor Jared Leto, and filmmaker Ava DuVernay, as well as Silicon Valley elite like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and others. Clubhouse’s ranks include Oprah, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, actor Terry Crews, CBS This Morning presenter Gayle King and venture capitalists such as Mark Cuban, Marc Andreesen and Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian.
What are people talking about?
The topics discussed on Clubhouse vary. You can find everything from advice on how to pitch your startup to panels on the music industry and real estate. There are rooms dedicated to influencer marketing, Dogecoin, making money with your TikTok, and love and relationships. There have been rooms for singles, photographers and comedians, as well as auditions for plays, clubhouse meta discussions, and career coaching for women of color. Sometimes people make rooms just for “good vibes” and for people to jump in and hang out.
When is Clubhouse out of beta?
There is no timeline for when Clubhouse will be out of beta and open to everyone. The new Clubhouse User Guide offers this: “Hopefully the short answer is soon!”