Everyone, apparently, is talking about Clubhouse, the new-ish audio-only networking app launched by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Paul Davidson and Rohan Seth. Dubbed a 'live podcast' platform, it hosts conversations, interviews, discussions and debates, and has, since its launch in March 2020, been valued at a staggering $1bn. Set to shake up the digital space, here's what you need to know:
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Just like a swanky members club, gaining entry isn't a given – unless you're Oprah, Elon Musk, Drake, Tiffany Haddish, Jared Leto, Ashton Kutcher and Chris Rock. That said, give it a go, because chances are you'll be afforded someone's +1 invitation (anyone that knows you will be alerted to your arrival on the app when you join). I, for example, was surprised to see how many 'friends' in my social media networks were already on there. Plus, on the Clubhouse website it does state that membership will soon be open to all, it's just that they're "still in the private beta stage" meaning they want to avoid any crashes or bugs.
Anyone who likes podcasts, debates, gigs, comedy clubs and live readings. So basically, everyone. Received to rapturous applause, content topics range from politics and police reform, to feminism, fashion and Harry Potter fandom. There have even been auditions for an upcoming US tour of Dreamgirls, with Glee star Amber Riley acting as a moderator. With everything aired live, if you miss something, you miss something, but whatever time you tune in, there's a surplus of brilliant discussions going on. Rumour has it that after hours, the app transforms into something that looks more like House Party (remember that?) with lots of drinking, and hopping between different conversations, networking and socialising. “It's like a mystery box every night,” 28-year-old account executive told The New York Times. “You don’t know what you’re going to get, but it’s always good.”
You can jump around from room to room, eavesdropping on different topics, until you find one that piques your interest. Or better yet, start you own. After you've named your talk, you'll decide who's moderating it and then set access: 'Open' is for everybody, 'Social' is for your followers, and 'Closed' is for your exclusive, chosen circle. Founders advise conversations last no more than two hours, and encourage the use of hashtags so the conversation can continue on other platforms.
See you there?