Should Entrepreneurs Join the New Social Media App Clubhouse?
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Clubhouse is the latest social media platform to explode in growth. Not only are the number of users growing exponentially, but the average time spent on the platform is also through the roof. After receiving a dozen invitations and seeing some of my respected friends raving about the platform, I started using Clubhouse ten days ago to see what all the fuss was about.
Like many people, I was shocked that I immediately started spending over 5 hours a day on the App. So what is Clubhouse, should you use it, or is it a waste of time?
Clubhouse is a social network for voice only, group conversations. People host "rooms" with a specific discussion topic. Moderators and speakers are appointed and certain people are given the opportunity to ask questions while others join the room to listen in.
For example, Kevin Harrington and Daymon John (two of the original Sharks from Shark Tank) hosted a pitching room. People pitched their ideas to angel investors and sure enough, deals started being done live and some people got valuable advice.
Another group I joined was about daily habits that improve your life. There were successful business leaders and behavioral change experts talking about how to install good behavior and routines. People took turns in asking questions and sharing stories and got immediate feedback from the moderators.
I was quite surprised to see a lot of well known celebrities and best-selling authors chatting away in many of the rooms. I was in a room with Paris Hilton who was talking about her latest business ideas. Musician and actor Tyrese Gibson was talking about a film studio he's planning to build in Atlanta. Champion boxer Floyd Mayweather joined into a discussion. I also came across people like Grant Cardone (10X author) and Jay Shetty (author of the book Think Like a Monk).
It has the feeling of attending a conference or listening to talk radio but focused on the exact topics you're interested in. With almost two weeks and over 50 hours on the site, here are the positive points I've noticed:
1. The quality of people on the site is high.
The only way to get into the app is through an invitation and each member only gets 4-8 invitations. This effectively means, everyone on the platform is within the top 10 contacts of someone else on the platform.
2. The quality of the information being shared is also quite incredible.
Speakers who would often charge thousands of dollars to give a keynote speech are on the platform for hours at a time answering questions. If a room isn't very interesting, it's very easy to move to another room.
3. The organic reach reminds me of the good old days of social media.
I remember when I joined Facebook and Twitter pre-2008 how easy it was to meet people and grow a following just through natural interactions. In my first weeks of Clubhouse, I have over 2700 followers just through interacting in the rooms. Many of these people are perfect new contacts who I'm thrilled to meet.
Clubhouse isn't without its shortcomings, however. Here are some of the problems I can see creeping in:
1. It's quite addictive.
It's shocking how easy it is to spend 3 hours on the platform. It's far more addictive than talkback radio because the topics being discussed are the ones you choose. None of the conversations are recorded, so if you leave the room there's no way to replay a conversation. This makes many people reluctant to leave a conversation but at some point we all have to get some work done.
2. As marketers discover the engaged audiences on the app, they'll be looking for ways to sell, sell, sell.
At this early stage, there's not much of that but I'm sure it will go the same way most platforms do with thousands of people using it as a sales channel.
3. There's a limited range of tools in the app
Most notably there's no way to message people directly. For that, you have to use Instagram or Twitter, which is a bit clunky. I've also found it frustrating that you can't mute the app unless you leave a conversation, so it's often running in the background like the radio.
With millions of people feeling isolated due to covid restrictions, Clubhouse has hit a chord with people looking to connect and talk. It has replaced conferences by giving a platform for speakers and experts to talk to engaged audiences. For now, it's also offering the exclusive networking opportunities you normally only get when you attend an expensive industry event. How long will it last? Who knows but for now it's delivering something special and clearly filling a void for people. On balance, it's an exciting place for entrepreneurs to learn, share ideas and grow their network, provided they still have time to actually do business.