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What’s Clubhouse and why is it such a big deal?

Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app that has been attracting a fair amount of spotlight lately.

  • In January 2021, Elon Musk debuted on Clubhouse and busted its participants limit.
  • In February 2021, Mark Zuckerberg guested on “The Good Time Show”, a Clubhouse talk show.
  • In March 2021, Bill Gates appeared on the platform and talked about Android and iOS.
  • In April 2021, Twitter reportedly held acquisition talks with Clubhouse for a possible $4 billion valuation deal.

Curious about what’s Clubhouse all about and why everyone is hyped about it? Read on to learn:

Background — What’s Clubhouse All About?

What Are Clubhouse’s Downsides

How Does Clubhouse Work?

Clubhouse — Latest Features

Joining Clubhouse

Final Thoughts: What’s Clubhouse — How Does Clubhouse Work

Background — What’s Clubhouse All About?

Clubhouse is a social network that revolves around audio chats. People can jump into voice chat rooms and listen to real-time audio conversations.

Paul Davison and Rohan Seth started this venture with an iOS-only app. Launched in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, the startup became a big deal because of its exclusivity (invite-only at that time) resembling a real-life club membership.

By May 2020, Clubhouse had 3,500 users and a market value of $100 million. In the subsequent months, its user base experienced a sharp upward trend, reaching two million users in January 2021.

Still, Elon Musk’s appearance on Clubhouse on the last day of January 2021 was the event that helped Clubhouse enter February with a bang. Clubhouse gained 4.6 million users in the next 15 days, taking the total count to 10 million users by the end of the month.  

In April 2021, on the back of this growth, Clubhouse secured another round of funding from venture capitalists, putting the company’s valuation at $4 billion. It is now considered a Unicorn startup like SpaceX and Stripe.

As of July 21, 2021, Clubhouse has removed the invite-only requirement. The company reports that it had 10 million users on its waiting list prior removing the invite limit.

Clubhouse has 30.2 million installs right now, of which 18.7 million are on Apple’s iPhones. Since the release of the Android app in May 2021, Clubhouse has registered 10 million new users. Popular Clubhouse users include Oprah, Kevin Hart and Drake.

Clubhouse’s popularity has also gotten Twitter interested in its own live audio space with Spaces. Another Clubhouse competitor is Spotify’s Greenroom, which has received over 100,000 downloads. Companies like Facebook, Discord, Reddit and Slack are also building products to compete with Clubhouse.

What Are Clubhouse’s Downsides

Clubhouse’s popularity hasn’t gone unnoticed. For a new social networking app, it’s had its fair share of controversies regarding privacy and misinformation.

One of Clubhouse’s features is that it’s ephemeral – you can’t listen to the conversations at a later time or play it back. However, the app does record the conversations to sort out complaints attendees raise while the room is live.

Clubhouse claims they discard the recording once the discussion ends. However, Clubhouse’s privacy policy does not specify who listens to the recordings and under what conditions.

Also, while Clubhouse doesn’t allow participants to record conversations, they still find ways to do so.

The app also contended with hate speech and abuse issues, resulting in the development of community moderation guidelines in October 2020.

How Does Clubhouse Work?

Clubhouse is a place where you meet new people, speak on different topics or just listen to other speakers. You can join or create rooms and become a speaker or a listener. While speakers speak and listeners listen, listeners can also raise their hands to step onto the stage and become speakers.

Why the hype?

Podcasts and audio content remain popular because of their support for multitasking. Recent studies have shown that although 49% of users listen to podcasts at home, 22% listen to podcasts while driving, 11% while at work and 8% while exercising.

Clubhouse brings out the best of podcasts by adding a ‘Live’ feature like popular social media networks. While similar in name, the Live feature of Clubhouse makes it an interactive discussion instead of a performative streaming session (or one person being the star of the session).

Clubhouse Rooms

Clubhouse conversations take place in Rooms, which can host up to 5,000 participants. In each room, you can take the role of Moderator, Speaker or Listener.

  • Moderators start and manage the rooms. Moderators can add, mute and remove other members. They have a green star badge next to their names.
  • Speakers have the ability to talk. By default, people that start the room are both moderators and speakers. Moderators can add more speakers by inviting users to the stage.
  • Listeners are people that join existing conversations. They are usually on mute but can ‘raise their hand’ and speak if the moderator allows.

Clubhouse records the conversations in the room but stores them only when someone complains while the room is live. Otherwise, Clubhouse discards the recording once the discussion ends.

Clubhouse — Types of Rooms

Clubhouse rooms can be classified into:

  • Open rooms: A room that anyone can join. It is the default setting for Clubhouse rooms.
  • Social rooms: Social rooms resemble a party. It is restricted to people you follow. If you want to add other people to the room, you can make other users moderators so the people they follow can join.
  • Closed rooms: A room that is limited to people you add. Closed rooms are perfect for private conversations.
  • Welcome rooms:It is a room for new users. When a friend of yours joins Clubhouse, you might get a notification to join a Welcome room so that you and the new user’s other friends can orient the friend that just joined.

Once a user has hosted at least three rooms, they are eligible to form a Club.

Clubs are communities of users that regularly converse to discuss shared interests. You can distinguish a club by a green icon next to its title.

Clubhouse — Latest Features

Besides its audio-centric social features, here’s what Clubhouse has in the pipelines:

What’s Clubhouse Payments
  • Backchannel: In July 2021, Clubhouse introduced Backchannel, their direct messaging service. Backchannel features one-on-one and group chats and an optional second inbox for message requests.

Joining Clubhouse

After knowing what Clubhouse is and how does Clubhouse work, you’d want to try it out.

Here’s how you can join Clubhouse:

  1. Download the Clubhouse app on Google Play or App Store.
  2. Create an account by entering your phone number — you’ll receive a one-time pin to validate your phone number.
How does Clubhouse work — Sign in with your phone number

3. Once your phone number is validated, you can:

How does Clubhouse work Set up your account
  • Link your Twitter account to set up your account quickly.
  • Set up your profile from scratch.

4. Once you’ve set up your account and are logged in, the last step is to verify your email address.

Final Thoughts: What’s Clubhouse — How Does Clubhouse Work

Summing it up, what’s Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is the hottest social app in silicon valley that capitalizes on the popularity of audio content by bringing real-time conversations — in the middle of the pandemic — to users’ pockets. Social media giants are quickly building their versions to compete with it.

For a social app that’s a year old, Clubhouse’s growth is astounding. While only time will tell how it plays out in the long run, Clubhouse should be proud of how it has disrupted the social media industry – for that’s quite a feat.

Have you signed up for Clubhouse? How did you find it? Let us know by tweeting us at @Bluehost.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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