What is Clubhouse and why is everyone talking about it?


(Pocket-lint) – The latest must-have social networking app is called Clubhouse. It’s an iPhone-only app that allows you to host and join audio conversations with other users. The thing is, it’s currently invite-only, though it will eventually open up for anyone to join.

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse launched in April 2020 as an iOS app. It’s described as a “new type of network based on voice”. It recently exploded in popularity after Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared on the app, by joining the Good Time show, to talk about Mars, memes, and becoming a multiplanet species.

Since it’s voice-only and doesn’t use your camera, Clubhouse hopes you won’t worry about “eye contact, what you’re wearing, or where you are”. You can use the app while doing whatever – whether you’re folding laundry or commuting – and because there’s no typing and hitting send, all your intonation, inflection, and emotion should be accurately conveyed through voice.

It’s the original medium, reborn, if you will.

According to The New York Times, as of December 2020, Clubhouse had 600,000 users. Since it’s invite-only, you can’t simply download the app from Apple’s App Store and sign up. While you can install and open it, the app only allows you to register interest and reserve a handle. From that point, it sends all interested users to a blog post detailing why they have to wait for an invite.

How does Clubhouse work?

Since Clubhouse is known for being a place to meet, talk, and share ideas, the app is pretty basic. It lets you create and join “rooms” – where you can chat with others in a conference call. You can’t share pictures, videos, or even text. All you can do is talk. Users can join and leave the call at any time, too. When you open the app, you will see a list of “rooms” as well as a list of whose in each room.

You can join the room by tapping on it – they’re all open for you to hop in or out. Clubhouse wants users to explore different conversations. You enter each room as an audience member. If you want to talk, you “raise your hand”, and then the speakers can choose to invite you up. Clubhouse rooms are often hosted by experts, celebrities, venture capitalists, journalists, and so on. You can also create a room of your own.

Clubhouse says its hired moderators, too, to ensure the platform is a place for free speech but also healthy dialogues.

How to join Clubhouse

Clubhouse’s creators say they intend to build the app to be used by everyone and working to make it available as quickly as possible. It’s not an exclusive app. It’s just in beta right now, as the general release version isn’t ready yet. Clubhouse says it wants to grow its community slowly to ensure that “things don’t break, keeps the composition of the community diverse, and allows us to tune the product as it grows”.

Because of all that, you can’t easily join Clubhouse. It is invite-only, so anyone who wants to join has to be brought in by someone who already has an account. You can download the app, reserve a handle, and put your name on a waiting list, but then you have to wait.

Does Clubhouse have an Android app?

Not yet. Clubhouse’s CEO Paul Davidson has said that the app will eventually open up to everyone, including Android users.

Why is everyone talking about it?

Clubhouse, despite being just a 10-month-old startup, reportedly already has a $1 billion valuation. Many of Silicon Valley’s top honchos, from Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg, have spoken in Clubhouse calls in recent weeks, fueling interest in the app. Even Oprah Winfrey has used it. 

Writing by Maggie Tillman.

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