Meet Clubhouse- The Voice-Only Social Media App That Has Taken the Internet by Storm

Mar 1, 2021
5 min read

Are you wondering about Clubhouse that has taken the internet by storm? The world’s richest man, Elon Musk has recently popped up in a Clubhouse room that brought a lot of attention to this exclusive voice-only iPhone app. This app on your phone lets you listen in on other people’s live conversations, legally and not in a creepy way. You may get the opportunity to join the audio-chat social network. There are no pictures or videos in this app, but only profile pics for each user to join in via audio.

The Clubhouse is a new social media app that’s less than a year old and making big waves. Having valued at USD 1 billion, venture capitalists are scrambling to invest in this voice-only social media app that has taken the internet by storm. This social platform is built around the “drop-in audio chat”. It features short real-time voice conversations any user can listen to, but nobody can record. This invite-only app has gathered a legion of high-profile fans, including Elon Musk and some two million users.

The coronavirus pandemic may have created the ideal conditions for this app to thrive as people isolated by lockdowns were desperate for social connection. Though text-based social media platforms are fine, voice is a natural alternative to make a social connection during these unprecedented times.

What is Clubhouse?

Users can follow other users or topics of interest and join themed clubs in this social media app. They can have access to a selection of chat rooms that focus on different topics, most of which are highly tuned to the zeitgeist.

The chat rooms come in all sizes. Some have just a few people chatting informally, while others have hundreds or thousands of people listening to a panel of experts, a celebrity, a politician, or a business leader.

The other people in the room are visible, and you can bring up their profiles, complete with a list of whom they follow. The Clubhouse algorithm takes all this into account while offering content choices. You can raise your hand if you want to say something, and the room owner can give you speaking privileges. Moreover, you can even applaud a speaker by rapidly clicking on the mute/unmute button. All of this happens in an audio-only format.

It is more like eavesdropping on a fascinating conversation- with the ability to join in if you have something to add. Many of its early users are raving about how much they like it. One reason behind the Clubhouse’s popularity is that audio can feel much more intimate and “live” than text-based social media. People now more than ever prefer to talk instead of using a keyboard.

During its short life, Clubhouse has garnered a desirable social cachet. Currently, the only way to access the app is to be invited by an existing user. From its initial fame among the Silicon Valley investors, Clubhouse has attracted an impressive number of public figures, including Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, and Drake. You’ll also find celebrities talking about their latest projects, experts with in-depth domain knowledge, and politicians with policies to champion.

Renowned users like these have been a huge drawcard, along with its relatively scanty invitations have added a sense of exclusivity to Clubhouse. Rooms in the Clubhouse are temporary. So, when the meeting is over, the room disappears, and all its discussion is gone forever. Moreover, it is not possible to record these discussions.

The temporary nature of these rooms may help stop the formation of social media echo chambers, in which people are only exposed to those with whom they already agree.

How to Become a Clubhouse User?

The app's website is www.joinclubhouse.com, which points to downloading it from the Apple App Store and waiting for an existing user’s invitation.

Clubhouse website
Clubhouse Website

With its membership by invitation only, at least for now, there are two ways you can join and become a Clubhouse user. You can use this app with a personal invitation from a friend who is already a member or download the app and reserve a username to get yourself on the waiting list.

If you go by the second way, anyone you know who is already a member might be notified, and if that happens, they might let you in the Clubhouse. At present, this app is only available on Apple devices.

You need to give your phone number and your real name to register for Clubhouse. When an existing user sends you an invitation to join this app, you’ll receive a link texted to, asking you to visit the app link and sign in with your phone number.

You can link your Twitter account to this app if you don’t want to set up a profile from scratch. It will pull in your existing Twitter profile picture. Clubhouse encourages you to link your contacts to make it easier to find people to follow. After logging in, you can verify an email address with their service, so you have a method to reconnect if there’s an issue in the future.

Alpha Exploration Co. has stated that it intends to release an Android version soon for this audio-chat app.

What’s the Buzz Surrounding the Clubhouse?

Recently, this social media newcomer has secured a new round of funding in the order of US$100 million. The firm’s plan for the future is to open the app to the general public and allow content creators to get paid.

They are considering three types of income generation- subscription, tipping, and ticket sales. Currently, their user base is around 2 million that's likely to see an exponential growth compared to the fact Facebook is approaching 3 billion users, while Twitter boasts of having 300 million users.

When Did It Launch?

Well, Clubhouse was launched in March 2020 by Alpha Exploration Co., when COVID has started spreading in the US. It became a big deal in the process to select a few in part due to its invite-only exclusivity, similar to the real-world club membership.

During its early days, it was an incredibly small community consisting of venture capitalists. This app received USD 12 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz, two months after it launched. It quickly became worth USD 100 million while they had only 1,500 users. Now, the app is open to a lot more than investors, even if it provides invite-only access.

Currently, the developers are working on the Android version of the app, as there are more Android users than iPhone worldwide. Launching Clubhouse on Android might have killed the app servers after a publicity stunt like having Musk in an audio chat room.

Bottom Line

The history of innovation is marked by people making unforeseen connections. Meeting the right people at the right time in an unplanned way cannot be made on-demand. But you can create the right conditions for people and conversations to happen spontaneously.

The Clubhouse rules try to ensure that the conversations happening in their platform are effectively off the record. It states that the user cannot transcribe, record, reproduce, or share information from its chat room without prior permission. This encourages spontaneity and relaxed off-the-cuff chats. However, critics say this also makes space for racism and misogyny.

The growing Clubhouse network is likely to face challenges on content moderation and transparency, as confronted by Facebook and YouTube likes. The voice-based social media platform like the Clubhouse is well-suited to create the right conditions for making unforeseen connections- either for better or worse.