The hottest new app right now isn’t about pretty pictures, witty memes or slickly choreographed dances.
Clubhouse is about conversations.
“It’s almost like a conference call that takes place live on the internet… and anyone can join,” explained Amber Mac, a tech expert with a popular newsletter, show and podcast.
“I think that people like that it’s not video so it’s pretty easy to pick up your iPhone and do one of these conversations,” said Mac, whom I spoke with via Zoom from her studio in Toronto.
Right now, Clubhouse is only for iPhone and it’s invite-only, which means you need to know someone already on the platform to get an invitation to sign up.
Once you’re in, you pick your interests and the app shows you rooms where people are having conversations on topics you might be interested in.
Unlike radio, anyone can start a “show.” Unlike podcasting, everything is live and not recorded, although there’s nothing to keep someone from just recording the audio off of their phone.
“When you get into the Clubhouse universe… one of the things that you’ll notice is that there isn’t really an end to some of these rooms, so it’s really flexible as far as the format,” explained Mac.
Rooms have speakers who moderate the conversation, listeners can raise their hand to speak or ask a question.
“I think we’re a lot more casual when it comes to voice and a little looser, so I anticipate that what we’re going to see down the road is that people are going to get themselves into trouble on Clubhouse since it is so casual,” cautioned Mac.
Clubhouse has gotten a big boost from early tech adopters who love the new format. One of the biggest conversations so far involved Elon Musk of Tesla fame.
One thing to know: Clubhouse is being criticized for its privacy practices. Some don’t like how the app asks for access to your address book in an effort to grow the network.
So, should you try to get into the Clubhouse? Mac says it’s probably a good idea to try to secure a username now in the event that the site continues to grow.
“I think it’s going to be a few more months until the average person sees a lot of content on that platform… so it might be one of those social platforms where you wait a little bit,” concluded Mac.
Already, Clubhouse is worth an estimated 1 billion dollars and competition is on the way. Twitter continues to beta test a similar audio feature called Spaces and Facebook is reportedly working on a Clubhouse clone.
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