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Chances are, you’ve heard friends or family members talk about a new social network called “Clubhouse”. The service has become a sensation in recent weeks – despite being invite-only on iPhone and still unavailable on Android. If you have some questions about what the social network is, how Clubhouse works, and how you can sign-up …we’ve got you covered.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is a pretty unique new social network that combines elements of talk-radio, podcasts, conference call and Houseparty. Unlike other social networks, where users rely on words or images to share their thoughts or feelings, Clubhouse is centred around audio. So, if you don’t like the sound of your own voice – turn away now!
Clubhouse users scrolling through their feed can listen-in to conversations, interviews and discussions between people on any number of topics. It’s like jumping into a podcast part-way through, but with an added layer of exclusivity. You can find new audio feeds based on your interests (when you sign-up, Clubhouse asks about your favourite topics – such as tech, books, business) or follow individuals that you know, or have listened to before.
When you’re listening to a broadcast on Clubhouse, the hosts will be able to see your profile. So, they can shout-out your presence. However, audience members cannot contribute without permission from those who kickstarted the broadcast. Like a phone call, when the hosts decide to end the conversation – the “room” will be closed. So audience members cannot hang around after the conversation is done and dusted. When the hosts want to talk again, they’ll need to open up a new “room” that Clubhouse users can join as audience members again.
So, Clubhouse users don’t create a single “room” for their show or a specific topic that audience members need to keep returning to.
In its listing on the Apple App Store, the team behind the app describes its social network as: “Clubhouse is a space for casual, drop-in audio conversations—with friends and other interesting people around the world. Go online anytime to chat with the people you follow, or hop in as a listener and hear what others are talking about.”
Clubhouse is used by people to host game shows with strangers or friends, recap TV shows and discuss matches, sing together, discuss philosophy, meeting other musicians, share travel tips, run support groups, and meditate together.
According to the team behind the app, there’s also daily talk shows, standup comedy, as well as users playing the guitar and giving history lectures.
How do you join Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is currently invite-only. According to the team behind the app, this is to limit the number of people joining the service so that it can cope with the demand. Unfortunately, that means you’ll need to know someone already broadcasting on the social network. Clubhouse does offer a waitlist for users to put their email address down, however, this has been taken from the website at the moment due to the sheer level of demand.
Once you get your hands on an invite code, you can sign-up to Clubhouse. Apologising for the delays caused by this invite system, the creators behind the app state: “We’re working hard to add people to Clubhouse as fast as we can”. By limiting the number of people who can join the service, Clubhouse can ensure that those already using the app enjoy a better experience.
The new social network has experienced issues with server outages, causing people to see red error messages. Vowing to stop this from happening, Clubhouse has stated “a large portion of the new funding round will go to technology and infrastructure to scale the Clubhouse experience for everyone, so that it’s always fast and performant, regardless of how many people are joining.”
How do I sign-up to Clubhouse?
If you’re lucky enough to be sent an invite from someone who is already using Clubhouse, you’ll see a link texted to your mobile number. Tapping on this link will direct you to a sign-up page, where you can input your personal details, email and create an around for the app.
Those who are already signed-up to Clubhouse can’t just send an invite to anyone. Existing users only have two invites available when they sign-up. This is to control demand.
Is Clubhouse available on Android?
Unfortunately, no. Clubhouse is currently only available on the Apple App Store, which is only accessible on iPhone and iPad. Those who haver an Android smartphone or tablet will need to check out the new social network on a friend’s iPhone or iPad (there’s no official iPad app, but the iPhone app runs on the tablet with black borders around the smaller smartphone-sized app screen).
Clubhouse is expected to launch on Android soon – as soon as the creators behind the app can handle the current levels of demand on iOS and dedicate resources to building another version of the software. As for a release date, the closest thing we have is a declaration from the team behind Clubhouse that they want to “open up Clubhouse to the world world” after the beta stages of the app are completed in 2021. So, erm, it could be a little bit of a wait.
How many people use Clubhouse?
As of February 2021, Clubhouse boasts more than 2 million unique users.
What is coming next?
As well as opening up to more users, ditching the invite-only system, and releasing the app on other platforms, Clubhouse has also teased some new features in the pipeline, including tipping, tickets or subscriptions, which will be paid directly to creators. This will allow the app to rival Patreon and other platforms that allow creators to monetise their content without relying on adverts.
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