Are you Clubhouse curious, finding yourself in the dark and left to wonder what all the buzz is about?
If you’re experiencing FOMO or are a bit hesitant and want tips on how to use the Clubhouse App before you take the leap, then look no further, this post is for you.
If you haven’t heard of the Clubhouse App yet – get ready – because you will be hearing about it a lot. Despite being old news for many in the tech community, the mainstream buzz is gaining momentum.
So, what’s the deal with the Clubhouse App?
Well, remember when you were in high school and fell asleep talking to your sweetheart on the phone? The Clubhouse App feels a bit like that.
Except you’re not dating the person who’s talking, no one knows you’re drifting off to sleep and the conversation is probably (not always) deeper than it was in 9th grade.
An overview of Clubhouse:
Clubhouse has a good tutorial – so definitely check out their cheat sheet by clicking here
- This is an example of the Clubhouse hallway.
For context on my insights below, here is a high-level overview of what the Clubhouse App is.
- Clubhouse is an app (that is only available on iOS) where people talk about topics like business growth and mindset as well as a large variety of topics that I didn’t explore, but that may tickle your fancy.
- You have to be invited to participate in the app, thus the hype. That means everyone on the app is already connected to someone else on the app. Reading about the team-behind-the-scenes, I learned this isn’t meant to make the app exclusive, it’s about managing growth effectively with a small team behind the scenes.
- There are many rooms open at any given time, with each one hosted by one or more moderators. You scroll through the “hallway” to see what room you want, then listen or join the conversation. Some rooms are just a handful of people whereas popular conversations have hundreds or thousands of participants. More on that further down the page.
- At my first glance, many of the users seem to be tech entrepreneurs, podcast hosts, business coaches, online course creators and speakers.
How I got onto the Clubhouse App and chickened-out twice:
I heard about Clubhouse a while ago, but December 28th, 2020 FOMO reached its peak. I decided to reserve my username even though there’s a wait list to use the app and you have to be invited. I have never been the fastest Allison Graham to snag my name on any platform like Twitter or Instagram and was slow to move on securing my personal .com domain (hence the AllisonGraham.co), but figured it was wise to secure my name this time – just in case.
Much to my surprise, less than 24 hours later – I WAS IN!! Woohoo.
Being in the app didn’t mean I felt comfortable using it. In fact, I tried to enter a room twice and chickened-out both times.
Nowhere did it make it crystal clear that I would be muted when I entered a room. (It actually is in the Clubhouse tutorials, but I missed it.) My imagination conjured up the sensation of me, being a hint of a klutz, walking into a room and disrupting an otherwise in-flow conversation.
Talk about a blast back to high school, I felt like I was dialing a boy’s number and hanging up before clicking the last digit.
Eventually I entered a room and, much to my relief, I realized everyone who enters the room is muted. (Obviously, that makes sense.)
Once you’re in a room, you can choose to listen or participate in the conversation. Listening can be interesting because you can learn some very cool insights from some very cool people.
I imagine people who love talk radio or listening to podcasts will love Clubhouse for this function.
What it's like being inside of Clubhouse:
The catch is, if you want to be seen, develop relationships and build a following (as of the writing of this post at the end of my first night I have 14 followers!) then you have to pull up your brave pants and step onto the “stage.”
The stage is reserved for people who are part of the conversation and is controlled by the moderators. Depending on which room you enter, it could have a different vibe.
Imagine a group of friends sitting around a fireplace in the ski lodge ('er, the clubhouse) after a day of skiing and shooting the breeze about their favorite topic or a panel discussion at a conference with members of the audience invited on stage to ask a question of the expert panellists. Now, imagine those scenes with your eyes closed because you can only hear them.
If that sounds good to you then let's get to it...
15 Tips to get started on the Clubhouse App:
Here are 15 insights that I learned from my first night on the app. It’s super-easy to learn, so if it's of interest, you're on Apple and want to give it a try, I recommend you jump as soon as you have an account.
In no particular order of importance…
- Grab your username now. Someone you know on FB may wave you through faster than you expect.
- Beware: the app is addictive. Set boundaries before you go down the rabbit hole. In every room I went to, at least one person mentioned the all-consuming nature of the platform.
- The notifications come fast and furious when you’re off the app. You may want to set boundaries for those settings if you expect to get work done (or sleep without a phone on your chest.)
- For the first week or so you get a celebration icon added to your profile. Leverage this. Step on stage, ask questions, get to know people fast. Also, be sure to attend at least one welcome reception where the app team shares the how-to's.
- Start in smaller rooms to get your feet wet. In my networking speeches, this was a trick I shared for people who were not comfortable in crowds. I used the same tactic tonight and made a handful of connections whom I intend to talk with again.
- Don’t follow everyone. When you register the app will recommend several profiles to follow. You can choose all (which I did) or hand select. In hindsight, I wish I would have hand selected as you’ll start following people fairly quickly.
- Avoid the eggplants. Thanks to a small room of gals, I got the low down on some of the less tasteful sides of Clubhouse. Like any platform, it’s not void of sexual innuendos and jerks asking for you to change your profile picture to a topless pic for $10. I think for professionals looking for professional interactions, these issues will be easily avoided by choosing good people to follow and joining rooms focused on topics aligned with your interests.
- There are apparently some trolls, too. They get blocked pretty quickly by moderators. In fairness, I didn’t notice any of this on day 1, I just heard a few anecdotes, but hey, it’s my first night – will keep you posted.
- There is no messaging function within the app. This felt foreign to me. Who listens to a speaker without a backchat on the go? Well, people on Clubhouse, that’s who. Without the backchat it actually feels safer. Since you can’t see people’s faces, you don’t even know if someone’s rolling their eyes at a comment. There is no “mean girls” vibe from what I can tell. There may be cliques – but I’ll reserve judgment on that.
- Clubhouse is a launching pad for relationships. It facilitates the start of a conversation. It’s encouraged to connect via Twitter and Instagram for direct messaging. Like any social media tool, it’s one piece of a very elaborate puzzle that leads to your success.
- Quick wit is lost on this platform. As sad as it is, by the time it’s your turn to talk, the moment for that witty interjection has long since passed. That sucks for someone like me who gets a real joy from offering unexpected one-liners that make people laugh. I think the antidote to this is to host my own rooms, but hey, give me at least a day on the platform first.
- Watch your word fillers. In audio the nervous ticks like ums and ahs, likes and ya’ knows are magnified, as are lip smacks, up-talk and drawn-vowels. Many people are impressively fluent, while many are just getting started and need to interrupt these speaking patterns. These can typically be minimized with practice and focus, but without recorded audio for people to listen to, I fear many may never realize to what extent they use these fillers. It can be quite irritating to the listener and as such, hurt a person’s follower numbers and brand. (As I make a note to check my own filler audio habits.)
- If you think you’re long-winded, you are. This format is a real test of storytelling skills. Keep a stopwatch handy. A story that could be told in 30 seconds that lasts 8 minutes feels like an eternity on the receiving end. The best rooms seem to be ones that offer huge value (then you don’t mind the long-winded monologues) or chats that are snappy and feel more natural to real-life, hanging-out-in-the-pub-type conversations.
- Give to get. There is a lot of talk on how to monetize the platform and gain followers, and while these are important business considerations, it’s like any social media connection. You can’t pounce and expect people to respect you. It’s a balancing act. You’ll get out of it what you put into it and I hope when you join the app, you’ll make a contribution. There is buzz about how people have leveraged their stage offerings for revenue generation, so I’m optimistic, and keeping my fingers crossed.
- What happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. There is no recording function in the rooms. This creates FOMO because let’s face it – if Les Brown or Russel Brunson are giving a chat in the Clubhouse and it’s not recorded, you’re likely going to miss some GOLD if you’re not there.
One risk of Clubhouse:
And speaking of balancing acts – let’s talk about the risks of this platform.
Aside from the above-mentioned eggplant exploits, I think the addiction issue is real.
Our society is already gazing at technology more than into the eyes of family and friends. This is another distraction and a time suck that could impact family, work and self-care time.
In fairness, people have listened to podcasts, audio books and talk radio for ages and it hasn’t been the total demise of the family unit, so perhaps I can jump off that soap box.
The future of the Clubhouse App:
I realize these are early days in the existence of Clubhouse. They’ve been in beta since last spring, slowly growing under the radar. Now that the mainstream buzz is humming there is a big question mark around their plan to manage growth while maintaining the vibe and integrity of the platform (trolls and eggplant exploits excluded.)
With well-under a million users, it’s too early to tell if the platform will get wide-spread traction. Heck, I’m still sad Blab didn’t make it, so I’m no judge of platforms, however, I do believe Clubhouse has the potential to explode. It could be a wonderful launching pad for beautiful connections and newly-minted influencers and micro-influencers.
I hope when you join, you’ll follow me. For the first time, I can say that my handle is my full name: @AllisonGraham