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Clubhouse is already habit-forming
Has the pandemic escalated the adoption of Clubhouse, or is this the next big thing post-TikTok?
Reading the tech-news outlet last year, they identified Clubhouse as the next rising star. Clubhouse’s latest valuation is around $100 million. The usage and the adoption probably spiked when Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg paid a visit.
So far, being an invite-only service, the epicenter seems to be in San Francisco, rapidly spreading to the rest of the world. A couple of weeks ago, I got an invite; the first night on the app felt like tapping into conference calls with entrepreneurs and investors in SF. I also lurked in discussions with Swedish youth politicians that were gossiping and threw around hearty roasts towards each other. The following day, I listened to Swedish entrepreneurs and investors hosting rooms talking about the tech world. Between those calls, I also noticed Swedish influencers gathering their audience having intimate conversations with their fans. At the end of the week, I tapped into a debate where Swedish youth politicians and Swedish parliamentary members debated the future of Clubhouse and Swedish politics.
Is this a severe threat to the big social media companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, and TikTok? Thinking as a product person, I believe it will unravel other insights about what value Clubhouse is bringing.
The loneliness has been real the past year. While being socially distant from friends and family, I have Housepartied, Zoomed, swiped, Facetimed, and called them. But those solutions did not induce a new behavior and didn’t make me feel less lonely.
Granted, while my loneliness is triggering me to reach out digitally, I lacked the ability and motivation to mingle.
Dating apps make me overwhelmed since we’re not yet having a universal solution to socially distant dates away from the keyboard; I believe that video dating is not a viable form of building a connection. I’ve in vain tried to listen to podcasts while doing chores without feeling any sense of reward. My extrovert side could not find a way to substitute meetups and conferences to tune into intelligent panelists. There are still exciting conferences hosted. But those I’ve attended are likely one-way discussions, with a high threshold of motivation to turn on my camera and smile to interact with keynote and debate.
While I get gratification after publishing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, in the form of likes and comments, it is the opposite when I jump into a Clubhouse-discussion; I (hopefully) get an instant reward from a group of people I find interesting. Although there are interactive features on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch, the barrier to real-time collaboration are high.
Similar to the discontinued service Rdio, human taste and interest compile the Clubhouse-feed. You are not only following followers’ rooms, but you are also observing what your followers are attending. The element of broadcasted talks makes the knowledge ephemeral. You are not able to replay. Thus, users want to invest more time in the app to not miss out on knowledge distributed.
I argue that Clubhouse is disruptive since it is entering a new niche, accessible sound streaming. You are not only listening, but you can also raise your hand and interact with the podcast, except that it is a room in Clubhouse.
Although Twitter is creating a subset of features called Spaces, the moat is high for similar feature-development; Clubhouse focus on rooms and community is a competitive advantage. Facebook and Twitter are still about people, while Clubhouse is evolving around interests.
The biggest competitor to Clubhouse are physical meetups and conferences, but that kind of presence is a behavior we need to relearn once we are back to old routines.
Speaking of Clubhouse. We have our first book club meetup on Thursday, 6 pm CET. We will hang out and talk about the first pages of Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. Let us know if you want to join us and have a weekly discussion about the book!