Trendsetters: A deep dive  into Clubhouse

The Invite-Only, FOMO Inducing Social App

By Milan Charles

Thursday, 14th of January 2021

Clubhouse is the ‘new kid’ of social networking where users can spontaneously join audio-based chat rooms together. The exclusive, invite-only app enables ‘casual, drop-in audio conversations’ with everyone from friends and celebrities to total strangers. What sets it apart from existing platforms is that you exclusively communicate with audio. 

The recent nearly year-long separation and isolation has proven that when we are forced to be separated, unprompted conversation is something we all miss and take for granted. In the office, we crave the small-talk at the tea station with a colleague or reading aloud a funny meme when hanging out with friends. At a bar, it’s the complimenting of other girls (often strangers) in the bathroom or complaining about the weather with another passenger on your train. That’s what we miss so much now that we’re stuck at home…again. 

The app Houseparty reimagined the spontaneity we pined for. It became the breakout must-have app of the first British national lockdown by enabling people to join group video chat rooms on a whim. It saw approximately 50 million downloads in a month, but what Houseparty lacked is the exciting exclusivity of Clubhouse.

While everyone seems to be talking about Clubhouse, just 600,000 people around the world – including celebrities Oprah, Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Hart – currently have access to the platform which is yet to be even a year old. Clubhouse is only in Beta testing and is therefore ‘invite only’ for now. Every new member is assigned one invite – there’s no public app or access. The name Clubhouse perfectly captures the fear of missing out or ‘FOMO’ those uninvited currently feel.

Clubhouse features a number of chat rooms created by its members. Participants are able to join in on conversations, start their own audio chat rooms or simply listen in on the existing discussions. The topics of discussion range from entertainment to industry chat, to social issues and activism-related matters. And once a conversation is finished, it’s gone forever.

So why has Clubhouse become so popular so quickly? It’s because the app is currently only available to a small group – and the chance to rub virtual shoulders with this exclusive network of tech giants, celebrities and public figures is one of its most enticing features. 

Though the concept of a chat room might set us back a decade or two, Clubhouse is predicted to be the next big thing when it eventually becomes available to the public. 

It’s very early days for Clubhouse – so early that it doesn’t even have a website yet, but the buzz its created demonstrates  a desire for a more immediate, unscheduled, multi-media approach to discussion. Think Twitter reimagined.