Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
I was expecting to spend yet another night with my new friends on Clubhouse, getting into all sorts of mischief as we stayed up chatting well past our bedtimes. We’d talk about everything going on in our lives and all the things on our hearts we couldn’t seem to share with the people around us. Or, on this particular evening, to join a talent show that some of them had put together to deepen the relationship beyond what the rooms we help moderate filled with hundreds of users usually allow us to.
But when I went to load the app on my iPad Pro, all I got was this:
Clubhouse is an AMAZING app… unless a celebrity’s online.
I’ve talked a bit about Clubhouse before, the iOS voice-chat app that’s seen a stratospheric rise in the last few months as more people catch wind of it and the unparalleled access it gives to others that you can’t find on other social media platforms.
The thing that separates Clubhouse from other apps—at least for now while the app’s still in beta—is that it really evens out the playing field for people from all walks of life, since the only tool you have to work with is your voice.
Whereas other apps impose a hierarchy with their blue checkmarks, follower counts, and algorithms skewing heavily towards the most popular users, Clubhouse doesn’t seem to favour one user over another, using connections mainly to notify users when the people they follow are online and letting the popularity of the rooms speak for themselves.
But the app’s not without its problems. Clubhouse is still in beta, meaning that they’re still working the bugs out till they’re ready to roll it out to the world. Which means that you can currently only get in if someone invites you or if you know enough people already on the app and one of them lets you in. That the cofounders are very hands-on right now as they look to the community to help them find their blind spots and create a better app. And that their servers were nowhere near ready for the explosive growth that came with the pandemic.
Especially when there are a bunch of celebrities online.
We needed an app that let us connect in authentic and genuine ways. We just didn’t know we needed it.
See—what kept the app from working is that there were a few big names on Clubhouse at once. The names I heard were:
- Elon Musk
- Kanye West
- Katie Couric
- MC Hammer
- Dan Levy
- Vanilla Ice
- Paris Hilton
- and Bethenny Frankel
The cofounders were online, doing their New User Onboarding, and so many of us were left out in the cold.
And that’s a pretty big deal for some of us like myself, who’s been averaging nine hours of Clubhouse a day while I handle the rest of my life.
My relationship with Clubhouse was casual at first, where the latest room I’d hit regularly was an R&B battle of the decades every Tuesday at 11:30 PM Eastern. But I’d chance upon a room looking for authentic and engaging people thanks to a friend lurking in the audience, and nothing was the same ever since.
The brainchild of Bianca Peynado, the “Looking for AUTHENTIC and GENUINE people on Clubhouse ✨” room came from a place of wanting to provide a safe space for people on Clubhouse because let’s admit it—the rooms aren’t perfect. There are plenty of people trolling other users and all too many who fail to think before they speak—as the founder & CEO of the roadBLOCK foundation, a non-profit designed to spread kindness and combat cyberbullying; she’s a fitting person to rally behind for this cause.
Over the past week, we’ve grown our tribe of people who safeguard the space, finding that there are so many people who need an outlet to talk about their lives because when you live all alone, you might not hear your own voice for days.
So if you’re out there feeling alone and like you can’t connect with anyone in these times, Clubhouse might be exactly what you’re looking for.
If you’re not on Clubhouse, you better ASK somebody!
Out less than a year so far, I think people have a gross misconception about what Clubhouse is actually about. Plenty of people come on the app for quick access to influential people and celebrities or use the platform to sell their services or grow their brands. But there’s so much more than what Clubhouse can do for you, and it’s in fostering a community that you can connect with while COVID-19 keeps us all at home.
You don’t necessarily need to spend half the day interacting in rooms with people looking to connect, but honestly? There are rooms for all sorts of people and all sorts of interests in Clubhouse. You just have to try it out.
I hope to see you there!
Till then, this is @caseypalmer, signing off!