It’s hard to act like a jerk on the drop-in audio app known as Clubhouse.
For one thing, everyone can tell. You can’t hide behind a keyboard (or an emoji), and the tone in your voice is patently obvious, since all you can do is speak.
If you do start trolling someone, it’s easy for the room organizer to hit mute or kick you out of an audio chat altogether.
The drop-in audio app is like an interactive podcast or maybe an audio conference. People speak on a “stage” in front of a gallery, and only those selected to join the audio panel can speak. Imagine a group chat with audio only, except that only a handful of people can speak, and you’ll get the idea.
The real benefit is that Clubhouse is often a rewarding experience where you can connect with other people in real-time, and maybe even learn a thing or two.
Now, the app is even easier to use for the masses.
After an extremely short test period, Clubhouse is finally available for anyone to download in the Google Play store on an Android phone. It’s a fully functional beta version.
I tested it on a Google Pixel 4 and it works exactly the same as the (formerly exclusive) iPhone version. You still need an invite (if you ping me on my Twitter feed I can probably help you out), which is a genius-marketing ploy to make it seem exclusive, elusive, and elite.
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I’ve been a major fan since I started testing the app months ago, holding multiple book chats with authors and even an influencer roundtable. I’m also starting to test the Hotline app (created by an internal R&D team at Facebook, which is in a private beta). Clubhouse has some serious competition, including Stage Channels in the Discord app, Twitter Spaces, and a host of others.
Why is this a revolution? I have a theory on that.
First, social media has not aged well. The trolls are ruining the experience, arguing over subtle nuances. It’s not just boring and mundane, it’s predictable.
Second, we’re all starting to wonder about how much we want to hand over our personal information to Big Tech companies. At least with drop-in audio apps, when you speak to colleagues or hold a private group chat, you are not linking to products or sharing your Internet browsing history with advertisers (as far as we know). Even if that’s possible (e.g., maybe these apps are advanced enough to monitor what we say in real-time and serve us ads), I haven’t seen the dark side yet. Clubhouse seems like a grand experiment so far. I’m not seeing any advertising so far.
What I like about social audio is that it’s new and novel. I’m hooked. I’ve now moved many of my interviews over to Clubhouse, which is a fun way to encourage participation. In one recent chat, a book author fielded questions from the crowd and it turned into an enriching and engaging conversation. When does that happen on Twitter?
With the addition of Android, it means a wider assortment of users. It means the sheer number of people using the app will grow. And that means better and more diverse conversations. Are you ready to dive-in to drop-in audio?
If you start using it on your Android phone, post your impressions on my Twitter feed.