Last night, I took part in my first clubhouse event, thanks to my friend Luke Robert Mason, and it really was a lovely experience.
It followed a few intense days of switching out my research time from TikTok to Clubhouse, trying to get to grips with what makes the experience worthwhile. Over the course of our session — which was all about where humanity was going and our relationship to time — a few things really struck me as to why Clubhouse is doing so well.
1: We’re burned out with video
The end point of our televisual culture culminated with TikTok, the hyper-televisual medium which has us channel hopping every 15 seconds to something new and, eventually, scrolling through ‘live’ events, where there is an endless stream of people who, if prompted, will say your name and make you feel part of something bigger than just you. But this is exhausting and endless, frequently TikTok users speak of having spent hours just scrolling through content — like we did with Facebook, but worse. Additionally, a year of Zooms means we really need to switch off the cameras and worry less about how we look. Clubhouse provides respite from this, along with being able to engage with content without having to be attached to our screens. We can move freely and still participate/enjoy the content.
2: Clubhouse is the natural evolution of podcasting
Clubhouse is stripped down of pre-production — but not production values. Its pop-up and drop in format allows events to focus on the words and voices, rather than the quality of production. Mobile phone mics are so good now that the audio quality is absolutely fine, no need for more technology.
3: Its lack of chat is positive.
Clubhouse doesn’t have a chat facility, so users can really focus on what’s being said. There are no hashtags, no images, and no way of really . It’s like listening to the radio, but its intelligent way of connecting people with whom we may have some professional or values based affinity. It’s like LinkedIn, but with deeper connections, made through the sharing of voices.
4: Its exclusivity is working
Cllubhouse is still an invitation only environment, which means everyone wants in! The consequence of this is that the people who users ‘nominate’ tend to be based on thoughts around the value they may contribute to the environment. It’s not yet a mass population platform and, while the number of social parties or banal chat will likely grow, it’s presently focused on the most important things. The content I see is all located in broad social value. This will likely diminish as the numbers open up to everyone.
5: Its informality is refreshing
While there are events that seem to have been shaped by a clear set of conversations and plans, many of them are people seemingly talking freely off-the-cuff, but about their areas of expertise. So, you find that people speak honestly about complex issues, without well-honed presentations around them. Often, there may be silence as people think what to say next, or times where people will say they just don’t know how to answer a question. It’s refreshing and moves us away from the expectation that we should have all of the answers to all questions.
So, here’s the thing, Clubhouse really needs people like you. It needs people who want to create thoughtful content, talk openly about the challenges, and to make connections that lead to tangible work and valuable content, which is less focused on a polished production and more focused on honesty, authenticity, and the kind of chat we enjoy in a social setting.
Like all platforms, you need to spend some time in it to discover its value and I’m still on that journey, but keen to make content and explore the possibilities.
Hope to connect there!