Since the pandemic broke out in 2020, many of us have turned to social media to maintain our social lives. With this overwhelming increase in reliance on social networking services, the current demand for it is at an all-time high. As of last year, it was reported that there are a total of 3.6 billion social media users worldwide.
With everyone currently looking to join the latest popular social media app, now serves as the perfect time for developers to release their own platforms. And if you’ve been keeping up to date with what has been trending on popular networking sites, such as Twitter and Instagram, you’re bound to have seen users mentioning a seemingly exclusive app known as ‘Clubhouse.’
Just agree to do Clubhouse with @kanyewest
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 10, 2021
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is a social networking app that’s doing things a little differently. Instead of capitalizing on popular features such as disappearing visual content, quick videos, or even text messages, the platform is choosing to focus on voice-only chatrooms. In this sense, the app almost presents itself as an interesting forum and podcast hybrid. This new networking service aims to offer a more nuanced social experience that simply can’t be obtained from text-based interactions.
The free app by Alpha Exploration Co. is currently one of the top 10 social media apps on the App Store. In fact, it was downloaded 2.3 million times in January of this year. Despite its recent spike in popularity, the app by Alpha Exploration Co. was initially released in April of last year. Since then, the app has been an interactive hub for influencers and enthusiasts alike. As of right now, it is still considered to be in its beta stages, and the app is still only available for iPhone users. However, the company has mentioned that they will be releasing an Android version at some point in the future. Unfortunately, Alpha Exploration Co. has not disclosed a specific release date, and Clubhouse’s exclusivity doesn’t stop at its absence from the Google Play Store.
How do you join?
Even if you do have an iOS device, you must receive an invite from an existing Clubhouse user to create an account and use the service. However, it seems like its current exclusive nature will not permanent, as you can still download the app to join their waitlist and reserve a username for your future account. With that being said, it’s difficult to resist the urge to be a part of a new social media platform that everyone seems to be ecstatic about.
While there are websites that will allow you to purchase an invite to join Clubhouse, there are more cost-effective ways to score one. For instance, many aspiring Clubhouse users choose to request an invite through the hashtag (#Clubhouse) on mainstream social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. This has proven to be one of the most successful ways to gain access to the new service — if you don’t already personally know of an existing Clubhouse user. [Update Feb-16: as concerns about the legitimation of invite-seeling sites are currently debated, we have removed the link from the post. Please be very careful not to get scammed when researching such options.
If you do have a friend who’s an existing user, here are a few steps that they can follow to send you a Clubhouse invite. Initial users are presented with two invites that they can send to their friends. However, depending on how much you and your invited friend interact with the app, users will eventually receive more opportunities to invite others to join. In order to send out an invite, users simply need to press the ‘add invite’ icon at the top of the app. Users are able to send invites to any of their existing phone contacts. Therefore, as long as your phone number is saved in their phone, you’re eligible to receive an invite via text message. From there, all you need to do is follow the provided link and complete the usual sign-up process.
The audio-only experience
Clubhouse functions just like a collection of chatrooms, if they consisted of audio and not text. Similar to a forum, the service offers a variety of different discussion topics, as well as a vast number of rooms where like-minded people can converse. Users can join a pre-existing room, and if there isn’t a current room that centers around a desired topic, any user can host and schedule a time to start their own room. The overall experience can be likened to that of an audio group chat, except for the fact that hosts are able to choose who gets to speak in the room.
Users can ‘raise their hand’ to speak or simply remain as an audience member. This offers a unique experience, as users are able to choose to engage in the group’s dialogue or simply listen to it — much like they would for a live podcast. Moreover, unlike a typical text-based group chat or forum, the app itself does not allow users to save or record any audio content. Once a room is closed, and the session has ended, all of the audio content is said to be deleted.
It serves as a unique community
As of right now, Clubhouse seems to cherish its current exclusive nature, as it provides for a close-knit community environment instead of an impossibly impersonal user-saturated social media platform. While the company has voiced that they would like to make their app completely accessible to everyone, they also expressed that they wish to execute it in a manner that best preserves the original empathic and respectful nature of Clubhouse. Considering that the company is choosing to center their services around audio — and be completely void of textual or visual interactions — it’s safe to say that Alpha Exploration Co. is keen to create a social platform that is unlike any that we’ve seen and used before.