me holding up a phone with the Clubhouse app on screen

Clubhouse App: Tips and First-Impressions

I just wrapped my first live event on Clubhouse: a discussion around Using Content To Grow Our Businesses with Steve Portigal, Martina Hodges-Schell, Becky Buck, Thomas Richardson, and David Holl.

If you’re not familiar with the Clubhouse app, it’s like Snapchat for podcasts. People on the platform can spin up no-video, audio-only rooms and invite people in to chat. This allows for the real-time conversational intimacy of, say, a Zoom room, but it can have a much more broadcast-like effect because anyone on the platform can join a room (unless it’s set to private). This means people can join an interesting room, drop their phone in a pockets, and go about their day. Anyone can join and listen, only people on stage can speak, and moderators can pull audience members up to stage so they can speak.

All-in-all, it’s an exciting platform! I love how easy it is to pull people into and out of live conversations. It’s like real-time podcasting, only more relaxed because of the ephemeral nature of the sessions. It’s reminiscent of my favorite conference panels.

A few stray observations:

  • Much like conference panels, Twitter is a great place for live show notes. For a good example, check out Steve Portigal’s tweets from today’s event.
  • Pinging people to a live room is Clubhouse’s version of “share this with your friends.” Seems like a sensible way of making people aware there’s a live event happening, just hoping these pings don’t get too noisy as the platform scales.
  • When pulling people from the audience to the stage, there’s still a weird dance about when to move them back into the audience. Telling someone you’re moving them back to audience before you do it feels right, gives them a chance to ask a follow up question first, etc.
  • Inviting audience members to participate is m✨a✨g✨i✨c✨a✨l, but keep in mind many people are listening in situations where they can’t contribute. We’ll have to find ways of inviting them without the dead air of waiting for them not to respond.
  • People come and go freely into rooms. That’s the beauty of the platform. Unlike radio, though, people can see if you’re listening. That’s cool but weird. I can turn off the radio or podcast whenever I need to, but doing that on Clubhouse may have some social implications.
  • Joining a room and leaving your phone just so people who expect you to be there will see you there even though you’re not actually listening: will that become a thing? Related: Clubhouse needs an incognito mode.

There seems to be lots of promise on this platform. I’m looking forward to seeing how this helps facilitate conversations going forward.