Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Everything you need to know about Clubhouse

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On Sunday, Elon Musk almost broke the Clubhouse. He was the founder of Tesla first impression on the invitation-only audio app, and the conversation quickly pushed the app to its limit.

The official stream peaked with over 5,000 listen to musk Discuss memes, COVID-19 vaccines, and interview the much-maligned Robinhood founder on the previous week’s GameStop drama. Thousands more who couldn’t access the official stream have joined the app’s “overflow” rooms to listen. Audio has also quickly made its way to less exclusive platforms like YouTube. As it turned out, there was nothing particularly revealing about the conversation, but it was a huge moment for Clubhouse, the buzzing app that has become known as a virtual hangout for celebrities and elite. Silicon Valley.

But while the app has made a name for itself as Silicon Valley’s latest darling, the one-year-old startup has recently been popular. to $ 1 billion – it’s much more than just tech bros talking to each other.

The application is presented as a “walk-in audio chat”. The idea is similar to the chat rooms of the first Internet. But instead of instant messaging, it’s real-time audio. Any user can create a “room” that others can join. Each room has moderators, speakers and listeners. Moderators control who gets speaking privileges, although listeners can “raise their hands” to ask to speak.

Screenshot via Clubhouse

The concept is pretty straightforward, but the dynamics of each piece vary wildly depending on who’s controlling and how many people are listening. Rooms can hold only a few people or a few thousand and last a few minutes or several hours. Everything is live – conversations are neither recorded nor visible after the fact – and people are free to move from room to room.

When Clubhouse launched last year, it was primarily known as a place for venture capitalists and Silicon Valley tech. industry elites. But the app has grown significantly over the past year. While it’s still in beta and requires an invite to join, it’s become a little less exclusive. It currently has 2 million users, according to a recent statement of the company, which plans to open the application to anyone wishing to join it “soon”. (They are also working on an Android version of the app.)

As the app has grown, the creativity of its users has increased. In addition to the usual questions and answers, interviews and other talk show style rooms, Clubhouse has hosted book clubs and professional networking events. There are rooms dedicated to meetings, comedy and music.

Clubhouse rooms run the gamut, from serious and professional to quirky and downright quirky.

screenshot via Clubhouse

Some rooms are decidedly NSFW, like the “moaning rooms” where people take turns … moaning. Others are healthier, like late-night lullaby rooms. Most of the more creative uses of the app have been carried out by black users, who in words by CNBC “Prevent Clubhouse from becoming a dull hangout for techies.” Several weeks before Musk joined the Clubhouse, it was a group of Black actors and producers who made the headlines after directing a live production of The Lion King in a Clubhouse room.

Whether your niche is scriptwriting, neuroscience, or astrology, there’s a good chance you can find people talking about it on Clubhouse. You are also likely to discover conversations that you might never have thought of. A club like me has created a sort of impromptu radio station for relaxing beats meant to help you focus while you work. I also recently discovered a “game show” where listeners change their profile picture to a picture of their fridge and the speakers give them ideas on what to prepare for dinner.

The main limitation is that you have to join live, as the conversations aren’t recorded and there is no way to listen after the fact (although the clips sometimes end up on Twitter.) That, combined with the fact that it’s still invitation-only, allowed Clubhouse to take advantage of users’ FOMO – a well-used tactic of upstarts in Silicon Valley, who used long waiting lists to generate a hype.

It also helped Clubhouse be perfectly suited to this particular moment, when a global pandemic left many people feeling socially isolated. For these Clubhouse users, the app has become not just another social network, but one of the few ways to meet and interact with new people.

At the same time, the application is not without controversy. Real-time conversations are not easy to control and Clubhouse treated bullying, harassment and anti-Semitism on its platform. The company was quickly criticized for having essentially no content moderation political or even basic safety devices such as blocking or the ability to report harassment. (The app has since added blocking and reporting tools, as well as Community rules.)

There are also questions about the durability of the app. Eventually the hype will die out. And when the majority of its users are no longer confined to home and social distancing restrictions have been lifted, it’s unclear if the app will have the same appeal. It’s also not entirely clear how a platform exclusively focused on live audio is making money. Its founders said they want to experiment with features like tipping and ticketing “to let creators get paid directly,” but those features will be based on a regular audience willing to pay.

The startup is also facing competition from Twitter, which is working on a similar product with a new feature. called Spaces. Twitter is much older with Spaces. The feature is only available to a small group of beta users, and has yet to generate even close to Clubhouse’s level of hype. But Twitter could eventually have the upper hand, as Spaces users may have an easier time finding an audience since the feature is built right into Twitter. Especially if people like Musk, who has over 45 million followers on Twitter (compared to just over 200,000 on Clubhouse), end up using this feature.

At this time however, Clubhouse has no real competition in the audio space. And his success in wooing celebrities and social media influencers will likely continue to ensure the app has many more viral moments (although Musk has yet to make another appearance on the app). The real test will be whether it can maintain its momentum once it loses the allure of exclusivity.


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