The last thing I thought I needed in my life was another social media platform.
But I must admit, Clubhouse is the most exciting platform I’ve come across in a long time. And my initial experiences with the app have shown me that it gives us what we’ve always really, truly wanted from social media: meaningful conversations and connections.
Some of that comes from the fact that it’s audio-based, and that you feel like you’re actually connecting with other human beings. But this feeling of connecting and interacting is even more pronounced right now because Clubhouse is still in its infancy. Rooms are small, for the most part. People are more accessible on Clubhouse than on Twitter or Instagram. Nothing is recorded so when you’re on the platform, you’re in the moment and then the moment is gone. And because we’re all sort of figuring this new type of social experience together, I find myself taking next steps with people that I wouldn’t normally take on other, more passive platforms (many of whom I would never even connect with in real life).
I’m far from a Clubhouse expert and I’m learning as I go, but here are my high-level thoughts after one month (and way too many hours!) on the platform.
1. It’s all about finding the right rooms.
On Clubhouse, your hallway is entirely dictated by the people you follow. So, as a rule, you should make a point of following people you know, are interested in, and/or want to learn more about. Unfollow anyone that is extraneous. Follow clubs that align with your interests. When you hear someone in a room that you’d want to hear again, follow them. This will give you the best experience over time.
There are so many types of rooms. Lots of conversations about bitcoin and turning millions into billions. Those conversations are popular and great for some people. But not for me. Some rooms have tons of speakers (“moderators”) on stage talking amongst themselves. Some rooms create more interaction and problem-solving so the audience members can ask for help and get real, meaningful advice.
I realized that I personally like rooms where true experts are up on stage offering meaningful advice to the audience. I like participating in those rooms when I have relevant expertise. I like conversations about health and wellness, conscious capitalism and impact, storytelling… now I can find more of those rooms and if I find rooms that don’t align, I move on (this is one of the best parts of Clubhouse!).
Once I started following the right people and clubs, understanding the different types of rooms and the different energy and experiences in each, I was able to navigate more easily and now I’m using my time and energy more wisely in rooms that align.
2. Finding your voice is a process.
One of the things that’s so unique about the Clubhouse experience is that it’s audio only. You can tell a lot from someone’s voice, the way they speak, the words they use, their energy… if someone is self-promoting, it’s very obvious. If someone is listening intently and generously offering their time and advice, that’s very clear as well.
With all of the public speaking I do, I was surprised to find myself super uncomfortable speaking in the beginning. It’s a result of a new format and also the fact that I was in rooms where it felt like a competition to speak and/or maybe the topics weren’t my strong suit.
I’ve learned a lot from listening to great moderators and speakers and observing what’s working and what’s not. And by finding rooms where I’m at ease and can truly be myself.
In this app, authenticity really shines through. People who might be able to project a certain image on Instagram show up in a different way here because they have a space to be vulnerable (and human).
As I explore, I’m enjoying places where I can support, educate, and lift others up. This is part of my journey of finding my Clubhouse voice (which, no surprise, is similar to what I enjoy most in real life).
There’s room for each of us to show up as we are.
3. It’s easy to become a Clubhouse addict.
Considering how busy I am (even in this weird pandemic world), I have somehow found way too much time to be on this app.
Sometimes I’m listening passively while working or washing the dishes.
But when I’m called up on stage and might be called on to speak, I need to be paying attention and listening to other speakers and the conversation. I love this part of it so it’s worth it.
With so many interesting conversations going on and a feeling of wanting to continue to explore and see what’s happening, it’s easy to get sucked in and to forget the real world.
While I’ve heard of people saying they’re going to make Clubhouse their full-time job, that is not my plan and, on a daily basis, I’m squeezing in Clubhouse around my other priorities of running Stanton & Company, my Zoom dance classes, and Bernard’s dog walks (his walks are suffering because of Clubhouse, I’ll admit).
I’ve even seen rooms for Clubhouse addicts and I’ve heard that other people are also having Clubhouse dreams (I’m serious) so I know I’m not alone.
I’ve been working on a more discerning approach: choosing rooms wisely, scheduling time for rooms that are meaningful, and ending my evening in the Lullaby Club (my favorite part of Clubhouse… acoustic singer-songwriters singing us to sleep).
Once you understand the app, you can be more conscious about your choices.
4. Clubhouse makes it possible to “bump into” people you haven’t seen in years and meet new friends.
After a year of being trapped in my home where the only random interactions are with the FedEx guy, Clubhouse reminded me of the power of serendipity. And how much that fuels me in real life.
I have invited a number of friends to the platform.
Some are long-time friends I talk to all the time. Others are friends I’ve made through workout classes (or, in 2020, Zoom workout classes). But Clubhouse gives us all a different way to socialize, connect, and ultimately talk with one another. It’s also a way of extending our social networks to each other and introducing more like-minded people.
You might meet someone on Clubhouse that you’ve always wanted to meet (in fact, you might actually speak to him or her directly on stage). There’s lots of connection off-app—people follow up with feedback through Instagram DMs and this is great for business, and personally.
The serendipity and novelty of it is something that I never imagined to be possible through an app. Or during a pandemic. I’m especially grateful for this part.
5. On Clubhouse, you get what you give.
Some people are using Clubhouse as a way of practicing their own public speaking skills, and nurturing a small, devoted audience of listeners, before launching something bigger like a podcast. Others use Clubhouse purely as a means of socializing over the internet. Some people are hoarding followers because “now is the time” and they want to use this to fuel their marketing lists, etc.
I’ve been inspired by those who are meaningfully giving their time to serve. This is a place where you can share your expertise with those who can truly benefit from it. It’s democratizing information and providing connection and community, potentially in a way that’s never been possible.
Regardless of your intention or reason for using the platform, you get what you give. If you show up and participate, people will reciprocate and build on your ideas, answer your questions, and share stories and insights of their own. Listening and taking it all in is fine too—many are benefitting from the information they’re getting and a sense of being around others (you actually feel like you’re in a room with people).
I’m excited to keep playing around with Clubhouse. I see it as an opportunity to launch a number of projects I had started thinking about. And to connect with people that are both like-minded and not like-minded. And for inspiration and connection and community.
This is just the beginning and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.