Clubhouse: the Exclusive, Next Evolution in Social Media and Audio-Only Communication
By Jonathan Lubic
Since the start of the social media era with apps like Myspace and Friendster, identifying the “next big thing” hasn’t always been an easy task. While it’s easy to sit here and list all the popular social media apps that seemingly became popular overnight, i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, etc., there have been countless social apps that have failed to gain traction.
The last big social media platform to make it big was TikTok back in 2019. In the wake of the global pandemic of 2020, TikTok has taken the world by storm. Which naturally leads to the question, what is the next big social media platform?
With the start of 2021, we may already have our answer with the newest social media and networking app, Clubhouse. Slightly shrouded in secrecy and exclusivity, to even gain access to the app you need to be invited by a member that is already on the app, and invitations are limited. Beyond that, what is Clubhouse? The company describes itself as "a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world." Aka, a social media app that puts a greater emphasis on networking and socializing with individuals or industry leaders across a variety of verticals.
Already we’re seeing major titans of industry embrace the app and conduct group chats in the audio-only digital “rooms” within the app. These include major influencers like Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dan Fleyshman and more. The topics of conversation vary between pitching business ideas for funding, to analyzing the growth of a particular industry, or even talking about an upcoming NFL playoff game. There isn’t even a set structure to some of these discussions, with many “rooms” having just a topic set and the direction of conversation left up to the participants.
What has made the app so intriguing, if not "FOMO" inducing, is the fact that it’s regulated to being invite-only and doesn’t allow for people to self-join. The reality is, Clubhouse is still in its private beta phase and has reportedly raised at least $10 Million from Marc Andreessen’s venture capital firm, according to Crunchbase. This truly is the beginning of what could potentially be considered the next big social media platform and sit amongst the likes of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. For now, Clubhouse has proven to be a disrupter in what we consider to be a traditional format of social media, and has brought audio communication to the forefront. This will help determine whether we continue to see an expanded use of audio throughout other pre-established platforms. Until then, if you’re one of the lucky ones to get on Clubhouse, embrace the format and learn how to use it for the best of your benefit, as we never know where the industry will go to next!