The emphasis on audio, rather than text, photos or videos, is a differentiator and part of the appeal. Delia Cai, of the Deez Links newsletter, wrote of her experience on the app: “It felt spontaneous, uninvolved, and luckily didn’t involve turning on any camera.”
Who’s on it?
As the name suggests, Clubhouse is built on exclusivity: you must be invited by an existing user. The club’s early members include Silicon Valley venture capitalists (Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, both early investors in the app), web savvy entrepreneurs (Mark Cuban, Tim Ferriss), a handful of performers and cultural influencers (Tiffany Haddish, Drake, Virgil Abloh) and people with random claims to fame (Vanilla Ice, Roger Stone).
Clubhouse has been criticized by some for its masculine, dominant energy (although a lot of women are on the platform as well). Its open exchange of information has also made it popular with users in countries with repressive governments. China blocked Clubhouse this month. Right now, the app, which is still in beta, has the rare (and likely fleeting) feeling of a small world. It’s always a surprise when you bump into someone you know, or when, say, Senator Tim Kaine shows up in a chatroom.
What’s going on on it?
Clubhouse can sometimes reflect Silicon Valley’s relentless focus on personal optimization. Networking, bodybuilding, early retirement, investors and Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin – the culture of commotion is real and present. But there is also a huge theater stage with plays and a dating scene. And conversations are often freeform, winding, and completely unscripted. This unpolished quality is part of the charm.
A recent weekday evening featured a talk show, “Housin ‘Around,” hosted by comedian Alexis Gay; a pitch event for entrepreneurs with start-up ideas; a conference entitled “Forming Black Creative Spaces in Fashion”; and Karaoke on Clubhouse, among other discussions. Daily and weekly shows have started to emerge from the formless, such as “The Cotton Club,” an after-hours chillout area hosted by musician Bomani X, and “Good Time,” which recaps the tech news of the day. every evening at 10 p.m. Peaceful time. Bouncing between rooms is easy and a lot of fun.