Clubhouse – Why Is It So Hot Right Now?

Prior to joining Clarity, I worked in the audio world for a podcasting company and have always loved audio as a medium for communication. Even during this pandemic, when there is zero commuting for me, I am still listening to podcasts upwards of 2 hours a day.

Audio is an incredibly intimate and authentic medium, creating a feeling of accessibility between listener and talker that is hard to find elsewhere . It’s great for going deep into a topic and it’s really portable! Listening to something allows you to build your own image in your head and also lets you engage with what you’re listening to on your own terms.

It seems that nearly six million people also agree! That’s how many users there are for Clubhouse, an audio-only social networking app. If you haven’t explored it yet, Clubhouse feels like a live podcast or a 24/7 conference with talks that you can drop into or even engage with the way you would with talk radio/call in shows!

But why Clubhouse, and why now? Are we sick of TikTok? Are we looking for a new form of content because we are scraping the bottom of the barrel on streaming as we close in on a year of lockdown? When, and how, will brands and marketers inevitably get onto the platform?

In an attempt to understand this phenomenon, Clarity looked into why the app is so popular and why audiences were primed to adopt Clubhouse in this moment (remember when podcasts launched and they were “a thing” and then they became “the thing”? – timing is everything). Here are a few of our thoughts.

  1. It’s not video! We shouldn’t underestimate the value of this right now. With everything we do happening on screen, the ability to enjoy something that doesn’t require you to look at or be on a camera is pretty appealing.
  2. Fear Of Missing Out. Right now, Clubhouse is still “invite-only” and buzz is often created around products or services that are exclusive. There’s not much in the world to brag about or show off about, but if you can claim you had early access to Clubhouse and got to hear Elon Musk or Oprah on that’s pretty powerful.
  3. Ideas > Likes. Social media is powered by likes and followers and comments. On Clubhouse, the content you see and the rooms you’re invited to join are largely driven by what you select as interests vs relying on an algorithmic network effect.
  4. Spontaneity. You can drop in and drop out of rooms at any time, day or night no matter your time zone. If you are listening to a talk and get interrupted or want to check out something else, you can quietly leave a room without being seen or creating a scene. Plus, there’s always different things happening when you open the app, so you can drop in and drop out of topics as you please. 

Clubhouse: Is it a pandemic bubble or a disruptive technology with staying power here to change the way we meet and talk? I don’t know, but I’m happy to be along for the ride. 

Photo by Dmitry Mashkin on Unsplash

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