The latest hot social media platform doesn’t require you to curate anything or even show your face. Clubhouse is an audio only platform that’s probably best described as live podcasts and radio stations.
Clubhouse launched in early 2020, but invites have been hard to get, so it’s only the last month or so that you’ve probably heard more about it. Nothing is saved (in fact, if you try to record the audio, you’ll receive notifications that you could be banned) so it’s very in the moment.
Once you receive an invite and get set up, the first thing you’ll see when you open the app is a list of topics – this main screen is referred to as the hallway, and the topics are referred to as rooms.
The hallway will show you trending rooms in the topics that you’ve said that you’re interested in as well as rooms that are being recommended based on the people you follow. You can see the size of the room by the icons at the bottom of each room block – the number to the left of the person icon is how many people are in the room, and then the number to the left of the speech bubble icon is how many people are on the stage speaking.
Rooms can be created by anyone – you can start a room open to anyone, open to people you follow, people you specifically choose or members of any clubs you’re in. You can also schedule events so you can promote them. When you join a room, you’ll automatically join as a listener and you’ll be on mute.
The rooms are structured like this:
At the top, those are the speakers, and this area of the screen is known as the stage. People with a green asterisk icon before their name are the moderators of the room, who control everything that happens in the room. If you’re a speaker, then etiquette on the app says to keep your microphone muted until you’ve got something to say. People who are currently speaking have a tan circle around their profile photo.
The section below that are the list of listeners that are followed by the speakers. Below that is everyone else in the room.
You may see some profile pictures in rooms which have the party hat sticker on them – this means they’re new to the app, and this label is with you for the first 7 days you’re on there.
When you’re in a room, you may hear PTR – this means pull to refresh and it’s a way to get you to refresh the room so you see the most up to date list of attendees.
The bottom buttons on the screen are how you leave the room, the plus icon is how you can ping your followers to come into the room and the hand icon is how you raise your hand when you have a question. Moderators will see the hand raising, and will invite you on the stage.
Clubs are a way that you can join groups that align with your interests and build a community. You can host rooms inside those clubs so only those people will see it.
Your bio can be pretty long on Clubhouse, but the most important part are the first three lines, as this is all someone will see when they tap your profile pic in a room, then they can choose to expand it and see your full bio page. You can connect your Instagram and Twitter accounts so there are links to them but any links you put into the bio won’t be clickable. Many users choose to write their bio in a separate app like Notes so they can edit it and add in emojis easily.
The best way to learn about Clubhouse is to join rooms that interest you and just listen in for a while. There are new user orientations held by Clubhouse at 6pm PT every Wednesday (2am GMT Thursday) which are open to all but many other users hold their own rooms if you’re not in the mood to stay up that late!
The downside to Clubhouse is it’s main feature – it’s audio only. This makes it inaccessible for those with hearing problems, but also it means it’s less easy to just pop into a room when you’re browsing idly. (Not being able to idly pop in might be seen as a positive though, that users are engaged with what you’re doing)
Clubhouse is invite only and currently only available on iOS as they grow slowly. Download the app now to reserve your favourite username. If you’ve got any questions, leave them in the comments below!