Every day, we hear about an app that’s suddenly becoming the must-have, mogul-backed, ultra-profitable hit in app stores, but Clubhouse definitely deserves the huge amount of media attention it’s received in the past few days. The app, which cleverly combines social media, podcasting and radio, has been downloaded 10 million times and has been joined by Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. You might be thinking, so what? 10 million isn’t a game-changing figure. Here’s the thing about the Clubhouse app: it’s currently only available on iOS, in its pre-launch stage and invite-only!
What makes the Clubhouse app so innovative and why am I recommending it for students at The Audio College? Bear with me because this might sound a little strange at first. It’s definitely something you need to try before you truly understand its merits. The app lets you hear and join other peoples’ conversations. The room may host a chat featuring a celebrity, an expert on a subject you love, or it could just be a sociable get-together. You could find yourself in a situation where you’re invited to join in. In a sense, that makes it like a podcast or radio show that you’re suddenly appearing on.
I’ve spent the past two weeks jumping in and out of conversations on the app as well as getting up on ‘stage’ and speaking about a range of topics in front of different sized audiences. My mind is tingling every time I get off the app due to the types of conversations I’m having. Clubhouse is pushing me to discuss and question different issues. The amount of TSL (Time Spent Listening) I’ve given to this app would exceed 10 hours over the past week. Think about that! Multiply that figure by the number of users it has (during its pre-launch phase!) and you can see why it’s being touted as the next big social media sensation.
The platform leverages what the radio industry has thrived on for so long: the power of voices, audio content and communication. There is so much more that you learn about someone through their voice including how genuine they are, what they stand for, their energy, passion, how they connect with others, and how emotionally intelligent they are.
I look at the Clubhouse app as a giant mansion party. When you walk into different rooms of the mansion, there are groups of diverse individuals discussing a huge range of topics. You decide whether the room is for you or not. You can put your hand up to be asked to the stage to speak. I’ve had a few goes at this now and I’ll be honest, sometimes I’ve stood on stage in front of 1,500 people and totally bombed! You get pushed down to the audience and the next speakers get their chance on stage. The lesson? Don’t go up on stage until you know what message you’re trying to convey. My vibe may have not matched the room’s energy or I may have misread the room. While these experiences have been a little humiliating and humbling, they have taught me so much more about the art of conversation. I’ve been tested in ways in which I’ve never been tested before.
Clubhouse is an audio content producer’s dream. If you’re a radio host or podcaster, you should be asking your friends or colleagues on the app to invite you to join, and you should spend some hours exploring the app.
I’ve ended up in rooms with all walks of life, and it gets intense! One moment you may be pitching business ideas to legit investors, like a Shark Tank-style room. The next moment you’re discussing the art of conversation with Alex Dyson from The All Day Breakfast Podcast or debating who is the better broadcaster between Howard Stern or Joe Rogan with Perez Hilton. For your interest, I argued in favour of Howard Stern because he’s a legend and had more red tape to get through in order to get his voice heard, constantly battling with the FCC, Program Directors and Station Management.
Up-and-coming audio performers can learn so much from the app and I think the best skill it teachers young performers in audio, whether it be radio or podcasts, is to listen and give space to others in the room before you speak. Providing space shows you have the ability to listen, show empathy and learn from others. There’s no way you’ll survive on this app if you act like a dictator, telling everyone what they need to believe and that your opinion is the only one that matters. You should try to approach all conversations on the app with an open mind and build conversations by using a calm voice and tone.
Clubhouse also allows you to build confidence in front of decent-sized audio audiences and gives young performers real-time feedback on the content they are creating. Think of Clubhouse as a radio show where you can include guests from the audience whenever you think they have interesting input that can benefit the conversation.
Yesterday I was driving to pick up my wife from work and had Clubhouse running on blue tooth. I was listening in on a conversation about content marketing and sales with some amazing marketers from the US and UK. I was called up to the stage to speak about what I’m doing in Australia with The Audio College. I connected with people I never thought I would speak to and when I got home my DMs on Instagram and LinkedIn were filled with enquiries and advice to grow The Audio College.
Clubhouse hasn’t reached its full potential yet but my advice is to get on it, understand it and use it to grow your audience. I believe this is the beginning of the next phase of the audio industry, and every one of my students at The Audio College will inevitably use Clubhouse to reach new audiences.