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About Clubhouse app: what is it and how do you get invited
The exclusive invitation-only social networking app is a hybrid of conference calls, talkback radio, and Houseparty
What is the Clubhouse app and why is it suddenly everywhere?
Part talkback radio, part conference call, part Houseparty, Clubhouse is a social networking app based on audio-chat. Users can listen in to conversations, interviews, and discussions between interesting people on various topics – it is just like tuning in to a podcast but live and with an added layer of exclusivity.
The clubhouse is invite-only. You can’t just download it off the app store and create an account. Much like a real-life country or yacht club, you have to be invited to join by an existing member. Real-world elitism, but make it virtual.
When you join, you select topics of interest, like tech, books, business or health. The more information you give the app about your interests, the more conversation rooms and individuals the app will recommend you follow or join.
The conversation room is just like a conference call, but with some people on the call talking, and most listening in. And, just like a phone call, once the conversation is over, the room is closed. Unlike Twitch – where live-streamed videos stay on the platform for people to return to and watch – the live audio-chats had in conversation rooms disappear. (However, this doesn’t stop users from recording the live conversation. A YouTube user, for instance, live-streaming a conversation room launched by Elon Musk).
How do I get a Clubhouse invite?
To join, an existing Clubhouse user has to send an invite from their app giving you access to set up an account. If you are invited, you’ll see a link texted to your phone number, directing you to a sign-up page in the app.
Clubhouse users can’t just send an invite to anyone who wants to join, however. Existing users only have two invites available at first.
In a recent blog post, the creators have announced that their 2021 goal is to complete the app’s beta stage, so they can eventually “open up Clubhouse to the whole world”.
What has Elon Musk got to do with it?
About clubhouse app: it has been around since March 2020, when it was launched by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth. In May 2020, it had just 1,500 users and was worth $100m.
But this month it burst about clubhouse app mainstream when Elon Musk hosted an audio-chat on Clubhouse with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. The event maxed out the app conversation room limits and was live-streamed to YouTube. It helped propel Clubhouse to the top of the startup charts and sparked a scramble for invitations. As of 1 February 2021, Clubhouse has 2 million users.
The clubhouse has announced forthcoming new features, like tipping, tickets, or subscriptions, to directly pay creators on the app. Having raised new funding since its launch, Clubhouse is now valued at $1bn and is considered a Unicorn startup like Airbnb, Uber, and SpaceX.
Reuters reports that demand for membership is now so hot that a market for them has grown on platforms like Reddit, eBay, and Craigslist. In China, invitations are being sold on Alibaba’s second-hand market place Idle Fish.
Musk summed up the appeal of Clubhouse during his chat with Tenev, noting that “context switching is the mind killer”. The idea is that when users are logged into Clubhouse, with notifications disabled, they can focus on one topic at a time.
Why was it so popular in China?
The app’s value extends beyond its exclusivity.
While censorship, suppression, and government control are rife in China, Clubhouse managed to fly under the radar of China’s firewall for several months, unlike other social media networks Instagram and Facebook. It became very popular in recent weeks, attracting large numbers of Chinese users and giving them a rare chance to “binge free expression”, and engage in discussion on topics that are usually blocked on the mainland, including Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Quartz reported that “Chinese users, largely tech investors, and professionals, are using the space to talk about topics that would otherwise be censored back home, such as democracy.”
E-commerce sites in China were offering hopeful users of Clubhouse the chance to buy invites. On platforms like Xianyu and Taobao, invite codes were being sold for between 150 – 400 yuan ($23 – $61).
As of Monday 8 February 2021, however, Clubhouse has been blocked inside China.
A personal view about clubhouse app
Let me start by saying that this is, by far, the most excited I’ve been about a new social network since Instagram first entered the ring. But, in my couple of days of usage, I’ve begun to notice one thing that really stands out as being a bit annoying: lack of speaker indication.
When rooms have a healthy amount of people on the stage, you find yourself playing a game of hide & seek as you tediously scroll to find who’s avatar has the ring. So here’s my 2 possible suggestions & wishes:
1) As they already have for “Followed by Speakers”, make a “Moderators” section at the top of the room and a “Stage” section below it. Then make it to where speaker notifications (“___ is speaking” as a drop down notification) are exclusive to when a moderator is speaking. This way, the amount of scrolling to find who is talking would be reduced to on stage participants only. And the audience will be alerted when a moderator is speaking.
2) Decrease the profile sizes of those on stage as the number increases so that more avatars can fit on the screen. That way, when someone is speaking, we can see who it is without scrolling as much.
I absolutely love clubhouse, the only thing that I dislike is industry people charging others to speak on a free platform that was built to create the connection between the industry world with individuals who are somewhat already in the industry.
I feel like clubhouse needs to keep the app invite-only maybe doing 1 invite every two months to stop the app from being oversaturated like Facebook or Instagram where anyone can join. I think they need to have someone go into these rooms and make sure all guidelines are being met because most of them are not. This shouldn’t be a popular app, but a tool to help creative minds link with professionals and networks.
People should not be charged to enter a public room by people claiming to be professionals. Cashapp’s should not be allowed in profile descriptions on a public platform. And I feel like being that the app was created to be an open form raising of hands should not be disabled. Moderators should just pick who they want on stage but not make someone feel less than by disabling hands.
But the one thing I that should change on this is maybe a space in the chat where the person who is talking make their picture bigger so that you can find their info, follow them on the app or on Instagram. Sometime I’m trying to figure out who is talking to connect with them but I have to scroll down to see who is talking instead of their profile picture popping up a little bigger (like zoom, I hate to compare. But I think it should show a bigger picture of the person talking but still have all the little pictures of people in the discussions.
And maybe move the IG icon next to the follow button so that you can get back to the chat quickly without having to scroll all the way down. Could you guys also a question chat so it is easier for the moderators can answers questions for the audience of course allowing the mediators to pick which questions they would like to answer. Again this app is great !!! I look forward to seeing this app flourish wish y’all the best.