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— by Tristan Ahumada

Clubhouse – What’s all the hype about?

Want to know more about social media’s newest sensation, Clubhouse? 

 

If you haven’t heard of Clubhouse yet, think early AOL chat rooms. It’s a voice-only platform where you can join hundreds of like-minded folks and chat about topics ranging from parenthood to fitness to starting your own business. You can hear from celebrities and industry greats like Elon Musk, Oprah, Jay Shetty, and others.  However, unlike your other favorite social media platforms, you can’t share your perfectly filtered images, reels, or even send a DM. Instead, you’ll interact with other users in drop-in audio chats by entering one of the available rooms.

How do you get your feet wet?

Signing up isn’t as simple as it is on other social media platforms. You can only join the network if you are on the waiting list or if you are invited. If you’re impatient like me, you’ll need to find someone who’s already a member to send you an invite.

Everyone who joins Clubhouse is given two invites to give to whoever they want, so it’s worth putting a shout-out on your other social media groups to ask if anyone can help you skip the queue. Otherwise, you must download the app and join the waiting list.

Get a rocking profile 

It’s now time to create your profile. Consider this a mini-resume. It includes your username, a short bio, and your Instagram and Twitter links. In addition, you can choose to list your interests from a broad range of topics. 

A few quick tips when creating a profile. When writing about yourself, make sure the information you really want to let your ideal client and connections know about is in the first three lines so that it makes it into the preview. For example, my current bio looks like this: 

Instead of a pseudonym, use your real name. Remember that you can only change your name once, so I recommend that you use your real name. Also, for your profile picture, choose a photo of your face that depicts who you are and is eye-catching.  

In your bio, don’t forget to include a link to your Instagram account. During conversations, it’s not unusual for people to look at your bio and then click on your Instagram profile.  

There’s also no way to send someone a private message on Clubhouse. So it’s easier to just slide over to Instagram and into their DM. 

The hallway 

The main home screen on Clubhouse is known as the hallway.

It’s easy to navigate around Clubhouse within the hallway. Tap on the magnifying glass in the upper left corner to search for people and also get a list of clubs (which is denoted by a little green house icon)to join.

If you continue to tap on the areas of interest, you’ll get even more recommendations for people to follow in those categories.  

Remember that the more clubs you follow, the more updates on specific rooms you’ll see at the top of your feed. You can unfollow a club wherever you choose. 

To access your profile, go to the circle in the top right-hand corner.

Start a new room by clicking the green button at the bottom. Once you do that, you’ll then be able to invite people to your room. It’s up to you whether to keep this room closed to only you and your invited guests or leave it open and allow others to join the room as listeners.

Inside the room

The people who created the room are known as a host(s). These hosts can also invite moderators (or mods as I like to call them), who are signified by the cool green star by their profile picture. Hosts and moderators have the superpower to add speakers, remove speakers, and end (or close out) rooms.

Rooms are typically open-ended discussion rooms. This is where the magic happens! Some rooms frequently attract large crowds, like the ones that feature celebrities or well-known entrepreneurs like Jay Shetty. These rooms quickly fill to their maximum capacity.

Finding a club 

Clubs are similar to Facebook groups. These clubs are created around a common interest, bringing a community feel to the app.  As a club member, you’ll be able to join in regular conversations with people who care about the same things you do. So if you find one that tickles your fancy, make sure you join. 

When a club schedules a room, if you follow that club, you will receive an alert and the session will appear as a calendar item at the top of your main feed page. You can also see more about upcoming sessions by tapping the calendar icon at the top of the app.

Start lurking and listening

All conversations take place within rooms. When you sign into the app, active rooms will appear on your homepage. Click on the room you want to enter to join in.

I recommend hopping into a room and just listening, so you get the awkwardness out of the way immediately. In the beginning, it may feel a little like waltzing into a private party where everyone knows everyone except you. Once you start mixing and mingling, all that nervousness will disappear. Poof!

In most cases, the host and moderators in the room will be the only ones able to talk. This means that you will be in the room as a listener unless you’re invited up “on stage” to speak by one of the moderators. 

Chime in! 

If you want to participate, you can raise your hand in the bottom right corner of the screen. This alerts the moderators, who may decide to include you in the discussion by bringing you on stage. 

The majority of the discussions consist of a combination of a host/speaker, a few moderators, and a Q&A session. You’ll be able to tell how the room is vibing just by listening for a few minutes. At first, it may feel strange when you can’t see people’s faces or expressions. However, after the first few visits to Clubhouse, it will feel more natural and you’ll quickly get in the groove.

You’ll notice that some participants speak up more than others while some tend to be more laid back and listen more. At first, it can be intimidating to jump into the conversation, but in my experience, people are very kind and considerate. Usually, people express their appreciation and apologize if they tend to interrupt one another.  

When you’re ready to leave a room, no problem. Just tap the bottom on the right where it instructs “leave quietly”. 

Make real connections 

As a result of your participation, you’ll meet new people and end up following them in Clubhouse and on Instagram. This is Clubhouse’s most positive feature, and it’s what distinguishes it from other social media platforms: it gives the impression of genuine connections. Without a chat function, it’s nearly impossible for someone to hide behind a keyboard.  

As you might expect from any social media network, the user base is extremely diverse. However, some of the most common users you’re likely to encounter are entrepreneurs and business owners, celebrities and influencers, industry experts, marketers, real estate agents, and social cause strategists. 

Some quick pro tips to get you in the game faster: 

  • For the time being, the app is only available for iPhones. 
  • As long as you’re on each other’s contact list, you can sometimes be “waved in.” This phrase means that the person who waved you in is not required to use an invitation.
  • In the beginning, your avatar will have a small party hat icon. This simply indicates that you are a newbie. After seven days, your party hat simply disappears. Tada! 
  • Look at the two numbers at the bottom of the description when deciding whether or not to attend a session. The left number represents the total number of people in the room, while the right number represents the number of moderators and/or speakers. A crowded room suggests that there may be a lively debate on a popular topic. So don’t miss out as rooms tend to reach maximum capacity quickly! 
  • A “popcorn style” session is one in which the “mics are left open.” You should still keep your mic muted, but this simply means that you can unmute yourself and begin speaking at any time.
  • Tapping your microphone on and off flashes it, which is the visual equivalent of clapping. You may think it’s a glitch in the app, but no, it just means someone is showing appreciation for the speaker. 
  • Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell who is speaking. However, you can usually tell by their mic not being muted and a gold ring around their avatar. Pretty neat, huh? 

 Let’s connect on Clubhouse! Come find me at @tristan.ahmuda or check out my profile here.

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