#parent | #kids | What Is Clubhouse, The Invite-Only Social Media App Everyone Wants In On?

See ya, Instagram! Farewell, Spotify. So long, X Factor and goodbye Loose Women. Everyone is desperate to be invited to this exclusive audio-only social media platform packed with celebrities, talent shows and very, very good thought-provoking conversations…

It’s been so long since we queued for a nightclub. Do you actually remember how good it felt to get inside? All that waiting out in the cold, trying to look sober and staring at the VIP line, long-forgotten.

That’s how we feel about Clubhouse. Although don’t let the name fool you. This club, you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, and you know how we feel about things that we can enjoy from home RN.

If you still haven’t heard of it, it’s the new and *highly-exclusive* members-only social media app that launched to save us from the hell-hole that was 2020 (remember that? whew). It is still currently only available to those who are invited *urgh* and you also have to be a member of the IPhone crew.

Many of those members are celebs. At the start of December 2020 it had just 3,500 members around the world, now it has over 600k, and that crowd includes Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, Drake and Jared Leto. Mere mortals can’t even get on yet as it’s still in private beta mode.

The Clubhouse app is straight out of Silicon Valley and being dubbed ‘the next big thing’ in social, so WTF is it and why is everyone talking about it.

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Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, Clubhouse is about connecting people via audio, only. So, once you’re inside, you can eavesdrop on, or join in with, conversations that are already happening, or start one of your own.

It was only a matter of time until the popular app that made a brief uncensored stint in China, got itself banned though. According to Bloomberg, the ban reportedly came after Chinese-speaking users started discussing issues like China-Taiwan relations, as well as the Chinese government’s genocide of Uighur Muslims.

However, its audience is still growing everywhere else, and with good reason. It’s a bit like dropping into the live recording of a podcast, where you can actually raise your hand and ask a question, contribute to the conversation or battle out your singing and rapping skills to win over the hearts of the Hamilton Cast, for the grand prize of two tickets to the West End’s Hamilton and an exclusive backstage pass. Frankly, if this hasn’t made you want in, I don’t know what will.

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In fact, much like many CH rooms, #HamiltonCH was trending on Twitter a couple of weeks back, after a tense battle between diehard musical fans in the Hamilton Auditions Room with hundreds of listeners tuning in. Although popular TV Presenter and podcast host Oloni Dee (with a Clubhouse following of almost 60k) was accompanied by members of the current Hamilton West End Cast like Dujonna Gift-Simms (W5/Eliza), Karl Queensborough (Alexander Hamilton) and Sharon Rose (Eliza Hamilton) to judge the talent (X Factor style!) and moderate the room, the winner was picked via a twitter poll. Clubhouse is yet to include a live talent show feature where listeners can buzz-in for their favs, but maybe this is something the founders should consider?

Stateside, there has also been rooms for auditions for a forthcoming US tour of Dreamgirls with the likes of Broadway Actor Leroy Church and ‘Glee’ Star Amber Riley as moderators/judges. Hundreds to thousands of people around the world had access to tune in, and it felt like a live action of The Voice, bar the funky stage lights, sob stories and gimmicks, of course.

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Luckily, there’s no audio of the chat available. Clubhouse is supposed to be a safe space where celebrities and regular people can answer questions, lecture, showcase talent and share stories without having recordings lingering on other social platforms as an aftermath. However, if you find yourself getting quoted on a Twitter thread after saying something a little on the wild side.. well, that’s out of the apps control.

It has not been a year since the app has gone live and its worth is in the region of $100 million, with much more room for growth as Clubhouse founders say they’re working on making it available to the public ‘as quickly as possible’. Ok, so for now, what do we have to do to get an invite? Ask a friend that’s already in and hope they have not given their golden ticket away.

So that you’re not left out in the cold, GLAMOUR has done a little more digging to find out what’s really going on inside Clubhouse.

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What exactly is Clubhouse?

Twitter’s hook is words, Instagram is about pictures and Facebook is about, well, faces but Clubhouse is the free social media network forged around audio.

In a year when we connected most over Zoom, Clubhouse is the platform where eye contact, awkward walk-ins, naff backgrounds and dressing up for digital are all forgotten to allow the focus to be solely on conversation.

On the inside, you can see ‘rooms’ of people talking, which you can hop in or out of at any time. You might very well encounter Oprah talking to Ashton and you can stay and listen. You can even ‘raise your hand’ for the speakers to invite you up to contribute.

It means that debates, lectures, performances, book clubs, comedy shows and jamming sessions are all available to listen into for free, like a fly on the wall. The only rule is, you’re not allowed to record anything.

Alternatively, you can start your own conversations with friends or strangers, just like you would at a house party. Remember them?

Who’s on Clubhouse?

Right now, not many people. The app is only open to a beta group, meaning they’re keeping things small to test the features and safety.

Of the Clubhouse members we do know, you could be joining musicians Estelle, Drake, 21 Savage and The Game alongside comedians Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart. There’s also Hollywood actors like Ashton Kutcher and Jared Leto. Queen of the chat show Oprah is, ofc, on the chat room platform because when she speaks, people listen.

How can I get a Clubhouse invite?

For this, we’ll have to be patient. Each new member is allocated one invite, and after awhile you get three more so if you get invited by an existing member, you can eventually pick up to 4 of your friends to join with you. (As if the Rule of Six wasn’t screwing with enough friendships.)

Right now, the club is so small that unless Jared Leto wants to chat to you, it could be some time before it filters down to our humble UK networks.

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When is Clubhouse launching on Android?

We know, we know, not the most inclusive app. Android users are yet again completely left out of the conversation (literally). However, not for long. Although we don’t have a specific date yet, the Clubhouse App’s makers have shared intel on what’s to come via a blog post this January.
“From the earliest days, we’ve wanted to build Clubhouse for everyone. With this in mind, we are thrilled to begin work on our Android app soon, and to add more accessibility and localization features so that people all over the world can experience Clubhouse in a way that feels native to them.” So if you’re part of the android gang, keep your eyes peeled.

Are there rules I should know about?

At this stage of the beta version of the app, rules are loose. Although the app strongly discourages any discriminatory and aggressive behaviour, it is largely up to the hosts/moderators of the room to control the conversation. When hosting a room, hosts should take into consideration the title of the room, the number of people they have on stage and how they moderate. Some hosts like an order and let speakers up on stage to speak one by one and then they have the authority to ‘kick’ them out as and when they are finished (or if they should be finished). Some will chose a free for all if there are less speakers on stage.

Moderators are also expected to ‘reset’ the room. Many clubhouse rooms are live for two hours+, so it’s advised that hosts/moderators reset the room every 30 minutes or so, by explaining the topic of discussion and the order of speakers, and any other info, like topics to follow, and twitter hashtags, so that the conversation can be expended beyond the people allowed on stage.

If you’re an audience member with an opinion to share, there is a raise your hand button that can be activated by the moderator as and when. It is up to them to accept you on stage. Warning, once you’re accepted on stage make sure to press mute. Much like in ZOOM it’s likely you mic will automatically turn on and you don’t want to find yourself talking nonsense to every and anybody.

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How To Follow People?

When you first join, the Clubhouse algorithm can link your phone’s address book and combine that with whoever you choose to follow (which you can do by simply pressing the follow button next to their profile photos). The app can also suggest other people to you based on your preferences and what you’ve clicked so far.

How To Follow Topics?

If there are specific (or fairly broad topics) you are mostly interested in, you can follow those topics so that Clubhouse will suggest rooms with that as the topic of conversation. Underneath the recommended people for you to follow, you’ll see a selection of topics labeled “Find Conversations About…”.

Within that you can find broad topics like Hustle *fire emoji*, with subtopics like entrepreneurship, small business and networking. Other topics include Tech, for those wanting to jump on that crypto hype. There are also safe space rooms to discuss Faith and spirituality, and even Sports where you will find rooms discussing the recent controversial transfers or questioning boxing results.

You can lose yourself in an endless list of topics by clicking through explore and recommended hashtags. Sometimes you will be invited to follow rooms by people you follow or hosts of a room you have attended too. So keep an eye out for those on your notifications tab.

How to create a room?

Anyone on the app can start their own room, where you will be the original host but then can designate host privileges to other speakers on stage. When you opt to Add A Topic, you’ll be asked to choose between making the room Open, Social, and Closed. An open room will be visible to anyone browsing the app. A social room will be available for people you’re connected to directly through the app, such as your followers. A closed room is as exclusive as it gets, where only those selected by you would be allowed to join.

How to join a room?

The rooms on your homepage will be open for you to join. Don’t worry, you will be muted throughout unless you get invited on stage. Once you’re in you can click “raise hand,” “request speaking,” or just go right ahead and unmute yourself, this is your chance to shine so if you’re on a stage with aunty Oprah or singing your heart out in front of label execs make sure the sound is good and there are not too many crying babies in the background. You can also access a room by clicking through the notification if you get ‘pinged in’ by a friend. When you’re time to tap out comes, simply click the “leave quietly” button.

How to clap?

You know like in the theater when you’re supposed to do clicks, at Clubhouse you can mute and unmute your mic button, when you’re a speaker on the virtual stage. Which will make the mute button flash, and you can show support to the person speaking without disturbing the discussion.

When can you lose your party hat emoji?

When you’re a newbie, Clubhouse wants everyone to to know about it! You will have a little party hat emoji up to a week, because nothing screams new kid in class like a nice accessory icon next to your profile picture right?

How to invite friends into a room *PING*?

Say you find yourself in a very interesting and thought provoking room. The latest CH update allows you to tap the ping [“+”] button at the bottom of a room, where you’ll then see an option to share link with your followers, friends, or even post it on your Whatsapp groupchats.


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