By now, you’ve probably seen headlines or posts from friends about a new social media app called Clubhouse. Although Clubhouse was officially launched in April 2020, it only gained widespread popularity in the first few months of 2021. Thanks in part to celebrities like Elon Musk, Drake, and Oprah Winfrey joining, Clubhouse has taken the world by storm.
Here are five things you should know about Clubhouse:
- Clubhouse is a new audio-only social media platform
Clubhouse is unique from other social media platforms in that it is based entirely on an audio format. Users can create “rooms” where they can speak to up to 5,000 participants who join the room. Participants can “raise their hand” to ask to speak, and the person who created the room can add them as a speaker.
There is no chat option or moderation features, other than the ability to remove someone from the room if needed. However, users can create private rooms where only people they select can join to listen or speak. Users can also schedule rooms and invite people to join at a specific time.
- You need an invitation to join Clubhouse
While Clubhouse had over 10 million weekly users at one point this year, the app is still not available to the general public. You can only join Clubhouse by receiving an invitation from a current user. When you join Clubhouse, you receive 3 to 5 invitations that you can send to friends or family members via text. It may seem strange, but the exclusivity of being a Clubhouse user has been one of the main factors driving the app’s explosive growth. At one point, Clubhouse invites were selling on eBay for up to $400.
- Everything on Clubhouse is live and in real time
Clubhouse is unique from other social media platforms in many ways, but one of the most significant differences is that everything on Clubhouse is live and in real time. There are no replays or recordings of Clubhouse rooms. Users have to join a room while it is in progress to participate or hear what is said. This has created some concerns involving content moderation since there is no record of anything that is said on Clubhouse unless someone in the room manually records it using their phone. However, Clubhouse believes that this feature allows the platform to escape issues facing other social platforms such as widespread misinformation and the need to fact-check user content.
- Other tech companies are preparing to launch competitors to Clubhouse
One of the most interesting dynamics surrounding Clubhouse is the number of tech companies that are preparing to launch competing apps or similar features within their existing platforms. Twitter has launched Twitter Spaces, which allows users to create live audio rooms and invite their followers to join. However, Twitter has reportedly also discussed buying Clubhouse outright for around $4 billion. Facebook, LinkedIn, Spotify, and Slack are all also developing competitors to Clubhouse.
- Christian communicators should consider ministry opportunities on Clubhouse
As Clubhouse continues to grow, Christian ministries, churches, and organizations have a golden opportunity to use the power of this viral app to share the gospel. As the Clubhouse user base grows, it may be worth considering hosting live panel discussions or short updates on key issues. Churches could host small group meetings or open discussions for people curious about faith or church who want to ask questions in a friendly space. In many ways, Clubhouse is a refreshing alternative to staring at yet another Zoom meeting.
As Christian communicators, we have a responsibility to use the platforms and resources God has given us to advance His kingdom. By joining Clubhouse, Christians have a great opportunity to use a rapidly growing platform and an intriguing new format to share the same old story that has the power to change lives.