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Is this social media platform ready to soar?

What you need to know about Clubhouse

PORTLAND, Maine — Ever heard of Clubhouse? If not, get ready—it just might be the next social media platform to explode in popularity.

207’s tech guy, Rich Brooks of Flyte New Media in Portland, joined us to talk about what Clubhouse is and how to get the most out of it. Here are his talking points.

 What is Clubhouse and why is it getting so much attention of late?

Clubhouse is a fairly new social media platform that I would describe as audio-first. Some people describe it as an audio only platform, but I've found that unlike podcasting, you really need to be engaged with your screen for most of your experience there.

In short, it's a place where anyone can listen to conversations, participate in conversations, or even start conversations on just about any subject they're interested in, keeping in mind the structure of how Clubhouse is set up.

I think a few things have led to Clubhouse's rise in popularity, including people working from home and looking for new social outlets, the fact that it is different than a lot of the other social channels out there in that it's more auditory than visual, and the fact that a number of celebrities are on the platform which allows you--similar to Twitter--access to those people. When I first started using Clubhouse Daymond John, "The People's Shark" had a regular show where he would talk to people who joined him in his room. Oprah, Chris Rock, and Drake are also celebrities who have joined in.

 So, for the uninitiated, how do you use Clubhouse?

Important to know that not everyone can get into clubhouse right now. First, it's only on iOS, and secondly, they are purposefully restricting the number of new members as they scale up. You can request to be admitted, and generally someone you know on Clubhouse has to approve the request or send you an invitation.

Once you have been admitted, when you first fire up the app, you're taken to the HALLWAY, which is the Clubhouse equivalent of the newsfeed on Facebook or LinkedIn. That's where you can see ROOMS where conversations are going on. The rooms are recommended based on your interests, your connections, and the CLUBS you've joined.

If you see a topic you're interested in, whether it's real estate or creativity or manga, you can just click and you're in the room.

 What is a room like?

Imagine walking into a room at a conference. There's a host on stage. That person might be alone, or he or she can invite other people to join them on stage. Often, rooms are Q&A affairs, and the host will bring up people to ask questions that they or their panelists can answer.

If you see someone--whether they are on stage or in the audience--you can click on them to learn more and you can decide to follow them. You can stay as long as you like, as long as the room exists, or exit and check out another room if that one doesn't hold your interest.

 How can you find topics you're interested in?

When you first join Clubhouse, you'll be asked about your areas of interest, which will get you started. You can also join Clubs, which tend to focus around a topic. That will definitely start to feed you appropriate rooms. You can also search for additional topics over time.

 How do you start your own room?

It's actually quite easy. As you're scrolling through the Hallway, you'll see the Start a Room button. Click it, decide if you want to make the room open to everyone, just to your contacts, or private. Give the room a name, and you're ready to start a conversation!

 How are people using Clubhouse? 

For some people, it's just a great place to connect and have interesting conversations. For other people they're using it as a platform, a way of growing their audience and building their business. For other people, it's a great place to network and make new connections.

 You advise businesses on social media...what's your take on Clubhouse?

I've yet to recommend any of my clients spend their time on Clubhouse as a marketing tool, but that may have more to do with my client base than anything else. I find Clubhouse interesting...but it's not something I can enjoy passively like a podcast. I need to be engaged visually with it as well.

One of my favorite things so far is seeing how diverse the user base is. Maybe this is because the app is still young and so it's showing me everybody, and not just people who look or feel or think like I do, which is a problem with popular social media sites like Facebook, that have algorithms that tend to act like an echo chamber.

If you like audio like podcasts or talk radio, then I definitely think you should give Clubhouse a try. Just make sure you have an iPhone or iPad, otherwise you'll have to wait until they release the Android version, which is supposedly a "top feature" in development right now.

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