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What Is Clubhouse, the new social media platform everyone is talking about?

Could this be a rare instance where the younger generation is behind on social media trends?

Matthaeus Choo
Matthaeus Choo

Published: 22 February 2021, 1:11 PM

There’s a new kid on the social media block and it’s taking the world by storm. 

While Clubhouse was officially launched in April 2020, it only recently saw an explosion of popularity after Elon Musk made an appearance on the platform. You may have heard friends talk about the platform on social media or even received invites to join.

With how unique and niche Clubhouse seems, it can be daunting to understand the hype. So to bring you up to speed, here are a few key points about the platform: 

What is Clubhouse anyway?

Think live-radio coupled with the benefits of social media. Most of the action on Clubhouse happens in rooms. They are similar to Zoom conference calls where there are a few main speakers. Participants listening in can raise their hands to ask for permission to speak.

 

Screenshot of a Clubhouse room. PHOTO CREDIT: HOW2FORU.COM

 

Where Clubhouse rooms differ from Zoom conference calls is with how conversations cannot be recorded (it’s against the terms of service), how they are purely audio and the rooms’ semi-public status. 

Anybody can join any public room if they’re searched for. However, most that come to your attention will be based on your selected interests, what you have scheduled, who you are following and what they are listening to. Users can also create and join clubs for dedicated topics or interests.

How do I get on the app?

To hop on Clubhouse, you will require an invite from someone already on the app. There is also the extra caveat of being only on iOS for now. An Android version is in the pipeline.

Those without an invite can get on a wait list but those really desperate to get in can purchase invites from Carousell as well. It all adds to a feeling of exclusivity that has made the social media platform lean and focused so far.

Who is it for?

Clubhouse is still young and users are still figuring out what to do with it. The enticing appeal of being able to listen in to conversations from around the world and the opportunity to network with them has made the platform naturally appealing to entrepreneurs. Impromptu ‘seminars’ featuring industry figures are frequent. 

Frankly, Clubhouse feels like the evolution of Linkedin more so than any other social media platform.

However, that is not to say there are no opportunities for entertainment. Clubhouse’s invite-only model and a limit on the number of participants in each room has also made celebrity appearances feel extra exclusive and sought-after by fans. Beyond these, there are a variety of clubs each covering specific topics to immerse yourself in.

The platform’s audio-only nature may be a turn-off for some, especially the younger generation who might prefer more engaging platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. 

However, Clubhouse may also become a solid companion for the transport home from work or school, or when you need accompaniment while cooking and cleaning.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT OF CLUBHOUSE APP

 

For Singaporeans in particular, Clubhouse presents exciting opportunities. There is currently only one club that explicitly mentions and focuses on the country. Meanwhile, the user base in Singapore looks to only grow over time. 

Those looking to be influencers, community leaders, or just enjoy gathering like-minded individuals together will probably capitalise on the gap soon enough. 

Regardless, it will be interesting to see where Clubhouse goes from here. 

Will feelings of exclusivity fade over time once the app opens up to more? What kind of content will users come up with given the platform’s audio-only format? Or will Clubhouse turn out to be a hellscape for those who dread corporate networking? These are early days and only time will tell.


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