At the end of 2020 my (media) five a day was waning. A bleary-eyed scroll through Sky, with Radio 4 chattering away as I flipped open the laptop all seemed a bit mainstream.
Having resisted invites to Parler and Telegraph and finally ditched the soul-sucking Twitter app (late to the party I know), Instagram was even losing its edge.
Fast forward to February 2021 and I have my social sparkle back having received a welcome invite to the latest permutation of social networking.
Dubbed this week by the Guardian as “a hybrid of conference calls, talkback radio and Houseparty”, I’m only a month in to invitation-only Clubhouse but absolutely hooked. When I joined it had just 3500 members worldwide, now it has over 2 million and the crowd is pretty impressive. It has not been a year since the app has gone live and its worth is in the region of $100 million, founded by former Google employees Paul Davison and Rohan Seth.
I’ve dropped into countless conversations in the property space, spent the early hours at a tech after party, speed networked at a high performance habit session and joined the overflow room (not cool enough for the main room yet it seems) when Elon Musk talked to a packed chat about cryptocurrencies and. Infact the crypto community is where it’s at, with some of the biggest names joining in, including the likes of Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Anthony Pompliano host of the Pomp Podcast…perfect for an amateur like me to gather tips, whose side interests on the app means I get notifications on sessions from psychedelics to geopolitics and architecture. It’s the perfect anecdote to the zoom weary amongst us, keen for a shot of audio inspiration.
This morning I dropped into the ‘breakfast with winners’ session, and today was no different in raising my eyebrows at the sheer generosity of guidance on offer. Connecters today included a Dutch philanthropist helping an ex-army Captain transitioning to a high profile COO role and an EIS discussion for a savoury snack brand.
Jennifer Adetoro, Culture Editor at CORQ says that part of why Clubhouse is so successful is that it offers a new and alternative way for individuals to interact during the pandemic. “The app’s audio-based innovation not only encourages more creativity – which we saw with the viral production of The Lion King – but a series of engaging discussions and discourse among a levelled playing field of celebrities, entrepreneurs, commentators and the average user.”
The focus is more dialogue and conversation rather than on likes and follows, and whilst not always polished, the tone is full of texture and empathy. Imagine a podcast but with an opportunity to talk back. My head is spinning at the thought of the conversations I am missing (cue fomo), but also the opportunities for comms strategies, clients and my own learning…if only this community had been around ten years ago when it felt like my husband and I against the world in setting up a dairy free brand, wildly pitching and blindly crowdfunding. Just imagine the on-tap support a start-up now has access to.
As a tribe of comms strategists we are cautiously exploring this cosmos for clients. Watch this space.
In the meantime my content intake has had a shake-up and I couldn’t be more inspired. Some habits are hard to break however, and Sunday audio remains sacred. Countryfile and Elaine Page are going nowhere, Clubhouse or no Clubhouse.