Clubhouse: the Audio-Only Social Media Platform

What… IS Clubhouse?

Clubhouse - Social Jargn, Ashley Smith

Clubhouse is the audio-only social media platform – it’s the one Elon Musk used to grill Robinhood’s CEO (and talk about other things) back on Sunday, January 31st and the reason for Clubhouse Media’s mistaken identity (and stock price increase). It’s been described as “talk radio,” “radio 2.0,” “an interactive podcast,” and a “live audiobook,” but it’s also an endless personal/professional development + professional education + therapy + networking + everything else virtual conference with millions of breakout training sessions to choose from led by industry leaders and game-changers. There are even music and comedy rooms for a fun break.

Anyone who is an intrepreneur or a person who acts much like an entrepreneur except they do not own the business/organization/company (a term I learned from SD CEO Executive Director Michelle Kane) or has a personal brand, this is place for you.

The following is all about who YOU are. No one cares about the brand you represent. They want the person behind the mic.

For me, I’ve become addicted. And completely, totally in love with this platform. This isn’t like Vine (RIP), Snapchat, Pinterest, or TikTok… and I’ve seen all of those launches during my career. Clubhouse has some serious potential for those who understand how to unlock it’s power and I am here for the long-haul! I’m gearing toward the title of Clubhouse Expert and currently offering Moderation, Co-Moderation, and Moderation Support services. Please contact me if this sounds of interest to you!

So how do you join?

Currently, the fastest way into the network is by invite from a friend. You can get on the waiting list by downloading the app and reserving your username, but you will have to wait until the developers can get to you – and I imagine it’s a looooooooong list to go through. Because of the hype, invitations have been listed for sale as much as $1,000 on reddit! However, this is a sketchy tactic as there have also been reports that if you invite someone who violates Clubhouse Community Guidelines, you’ll also get booted. The thought behind an invite-only system is that the platform will be filled with people who will contribute to the platform. And with an initial limit of two invitations upon signing up, members should be selective in who they give these to.

The app is also only available on iPhones running iOS 14 or higher. iPads attached to your cell phone number via iMessage have been rumored to work – and if you’ve discovered this to be true, please let me know! But there’s no website. And no Android.

NOTE: if you don’t have an invite, you can reserve your desired username by going to joinclubhouse.com!

What do you do when you finally get a coveted invitation?

First, invite two friends to join you! Ideally, these people will be genuinely interested in the app and active participants. Don’t worry, the more you participate with the app (ie. join Rooms, speak, and moderate, Clubhouse dishes out more invitations. I received three more when I logged in for my fourth consecutive day of using the app).

Pick Interests to follow. My recommendation is to start small – be super targeted with what you want to show up on your feed and go from there. As you navigate the app, find speakers you enjoy, and join Clubs, it gets incredibly easy to build up a continuous list of Rooms to choose from. You can always add or remove your Interest Categories later in the settings.

Next, complete your profile because it WILL be looked at. Not only from other members but moderators often check this out to be sure you’re a legit human and not a troll. And be sure you check out other people’s bios too! You’ll find some great connections this way.

You’ll want to include your Instagram and/or Twitter handles as there is no in-app DM or chat feature, so conversations happen on these external platforms instead. 

Before you jump into a Room, here are a few pieces of jargon to know:

  • The Hallway is your Feed.
  • Your Party Hat is a signal for Clubhouse Members to know that you’re new to the app and may need a little bit of help. This disappears after seven days.
  • RTR (Refresh the Room) or PTR (Pull to Refresh) is a common request among busy and active rooms.
  • Flash Your Mic is equivalent to applause or cheering.
  • Moderator: the creator of the room
  • Stage: where you’re invited to speak
  • Founder: the person who creates a Club
  • Notifcation Bell: a way to set alerts after you’ve followed another member to know when they are speaking in a room.
  • Raise Your Hand: a way to participate or show that you’re interested in participating in the conversation!

When you’re ready to start listening, search for Rooms to join and Clubs to follow. You can also look for specific individuals by name or username – it’s also a common courtesy to follow the person who invited you! Larger rooms are great for listening as the chance to speak will be slim, and cap attendees at 5,000. Most Rooms start at the top of the hour or at the half hour and typically last an hour. This means smaller rooms are best for speaking opportunities or having the ability to join in on the conversation. Also, look for rooms with a high audience-to-speaking ratio as this means the moderators are rotating through attendees and either giving them the mic to ask questions or contributing to the conversation. 

It’s common practice when you’re brought up on stage to mute your mic, as this doesn’t happen automatically. If you’re in a Q&A session and it’s your turn to talk, state your name, ask your question, then finish with a phrase like “I’m done speaking.” Not only does this provide a solid audio cue for everyone in the room, it also helps those who are using an teleprompter to participate, hearing impaired, or transcribing the conversation. 

You can start a Room at any time and allow any interested Clubhouse Members to join or keep it private between you and friends. When you join a Room and realize someone else may be interested in joining, you can Ping them so they receive a notification you’re inviting them to the Room.

The individual who created the room is automatically the Moderator for the room (Moderators can add co-hosts to scheduled events, however, they do not get Moderator status automatically and have the ability to make Speakers in fellow Moderators of the room). Moderators can invite you up to the Stage at their discretion or you can “raise your hand” to indicate you’d like to contribute to the conversation or ask a question – this makes you a Speaker.DIY Social Media - Clubhouse Event screenshot

Be sure to check out scheduled Rooms.  When you find one that interests you, add to your Google or Apple calendar!

Recording the Rooms is against Community Guidelines. So is resharing or distributing (ie. no FB streaming, recording then repurposing, etc.). If Moderators are recording, it’s typically shared in the title of the room.

Clubhouse - scheduled events Social Jargn, Ashley Smith DIY Social exampleTo join a Club, you must follow the Club and the Founder in order for it to be approved but if this person isn’t in the Club description, it’s the first account on the Members list (and some Clubs have extra instructions so be sure to look out for extra steps!). 

The developers also host regular “Town Halls” or Q&A Sessions giving new members run down of what Clubhouse is, how to get the most out of the network, and answer new user questions. They also have a Knowledge Center with more details and update their blog weekly with announcements and messages to Members. Just keep in mind the app was launched March 2020 and is still in its infancy. Features that we use on other platforms aren’t available right now and while Clubhouse is hiring within the San Francisco area, the developer team remains small. We’re talking some old school, Facebook just launched type limitations. Have some patience and give some grace.

Concerned about privacy? No keystroke tracking. And recordings are automatically deleted (so long as the Room isn’t reported). If you’re interested, here are their Terms of Service too.

While there are no direct ways to monetize with the app, I see HUGE potential here: direct payments, lead generation, sponsorships, moderators for hire (ahem… call me), organic follower growth on external social media platforms, networking, etc. Not to mention this is a fascinating springboard for professional speakers, authors, musicians, artists, coaches, podcasters, and more!

The name of the game is authentic conversations, genuine questions, and sincere interest to contribute high quality, engaging content.

As always, avoid the “follow-for-follow” method. And this nugget really applies to ALL social media platforms. You won’t receive the high-quality people you’re looking to attract and it can ultimately do more harm than good if you use this method. If you want to see REAL results, be you, show up, and be consistent. Show up! Make relationships. Share. I encourage you to jump in, raise your hand, and interact as soon as you’re in. People are really nice! Especially if you have a Party Hat on.

Of course, you can find me as @socialjargn!!

  • Hit the notification bell to be notified whenever I’m speaking.
  • Ping me to a room if you think I could contribute or would find the topic interesting.
  • I’m happy to co-Moderate a room with you! Let’s get something on the books.
  • Start a Private Room and add me to it.
  • You can also DM me on Instagram or Twitter if you have questions or want/need help.

What tips and tricks have you heard about improving the Clubhouse experience? What rumors have you heard in rooms? What questions do you have? What else would you like to know about Clubhouse that wasn’t covered in this blog post? Let me know!

 

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