Last year, the ambitious startup Clubhouse appeared in Silicon Valley, no less than a new generation of social networks. And last week, an advertising campaign for this application began in Russia, everyone, without exception, began to write about it, people fiddled with acquaintances and friends in search of an invitation. Yes, you can get to the Clubhouse only by invitation and nothing else, now it is a closed club for its own. The beauty of Clubhouse from the point of view of promotion is that it uses old-like social mechanics – vanity, the desire to overcome loneliness or to make money. Speaking of an advertising campaign in Russia, there is no need to present classic placements of articles in different publications, advertising banners or something similar. Newcomers to the Clubhouse do everything with their own hands, and since the social network is focused on a media get-together, she, willingly or not, tells at every corner what it is. And this material can be safely attributed to this format.
How many social networks that didn’t take off can you remember? And it doesn’t matter who was behind them, small startups with or without money, or IT corporations with a formally unlimited budget. Try to remember names that have long been forgotten. Digging in my memory, I remembered the following social networks – Google+, MySpace, OpenSocial (a collaboration between Google and MySpace against Facebook), Friendster, Vine, Orkut, Path, Vine. The list is far from complete, it contains only social networks that came to mind and were noticeable, in fact there are several dozen of them, and we have not yet touched the Asian market, where there were ups and downs. Experience suggests that it is not so important who is behind the social network, how financially it is and how well it started, fortune may change in a year or five years. Therefore, it is possible to unequivocally assert about such projects that they have taken place only in retrospect. Being in the moment of their growth, it is almost impossible to assess the future, as well as the impact on people’s lives.
It is important to say these points to yourself so as not to fall into the temptation to unambiguously praise or scold the new social network. The first time he received an invitation to the Clubhouse at the end of last year from his American colleagues, as well as good advice not to write anything in Russian. The social media engine is set up to recommend people and conversations in your native language, plus mix key topics in English. The app is available exclusively on iOS, with Android coming at a later date. Since the startup is American, this approach looks justified for the United States, plus the company is trying with all its might to create the perception of the Clubhouse as an elite club where you can chat with famous people, exchange a few words with the same Elon Musk. Without any discounts, this is a utopia for the majority, but the idea that the key characters of the industry are a few clicks away from you and you can hear them warms up many.
What is Clubhouse? These are audio chats in which up to 5000 people can communicate simultaneously. There are those who create chats, they also act as moderators and can allow other people to speak, just raise your hand. The place for communication is called rooms, they can be not only public, but also private, when you chat with someone one-on-one or make a room for your own, you can only get into it by invitation. We will return to chats later, for now a couple of words about registration.
The club system assumes that your acquaintance brings you to the social network. After registering, you have several invitations that you can send to other people. The application asks for access to your notebook, you can also give access to your Twitter account. This allows you to form a circle of those to whom you will initially subscribe.
There are not many rules, one of them is that you must register under your real name. It is largely observed, but from time to time people appear under nicknames, since they are better known than their names.
Registration is very fast, there are no pitfalls. If you wish, you can indicate something about yourself, add a link to your Instagram. There is no way to share messages inside, all communication is based on voice.
For those new to the Clubhouse, learning about social networking starts with seeing a list of rooms with different conversations. You can see the number of participants and the number of those who can take the floor. Connect, listen, and if you don’t like it, just leave the conversation. It’s nice that this is a rather transparent piece, you always see who came to your room and who left it.
You can see the schedule of conversations, you can add your own conversation, choose those who will moderate with you or just with whom it is pleasant to chat. Complete strangers may come into your conversation, and there is a certain beauty in that. The more you have achieved in life, the more it has changed for you – you live in a capsule and are isolated from most people, you do not even face them. Home and family, car to work, your colleagues in the office. The return route, and so on from day to day. It is possible that from time to time you come across strangers, communicate with them, but these are rare episodes that do not change anything in your life. From a certain level, money allows you to isolate yourself from society, to live in a cozy cocoon, where everything is regulated. You communicate with people you like, shape your social networks for yourself, an ideal world. But there is no place for surprise, there are no new and random encounters that can definitely enrich our inner world. Communication is always a bi-directional process, in our life communication has become much less, and the same Clubhouse is trying to solve this issue in a natural way. It is possible that this is a social network for the busy, for those who just love to chat.
There are people in the Clubhouse, but there are no channels as such or pages to subscribe to (there are clubs by topic, you can join them). The one who wants to chat creates a room, then it becomes visible in the recommendations. The best way to attract people is to talk about the event in other media, which gives the Clubhouse an influx of new users, as they strive to get into this closed club. I have repeatedly met the mention that the new social network looks like an elite club. But this is the appearance, to some extent, the positioning and mechanics that are used to attract new people. The task of the social network is to attract as many different people as possible, and there is always a battle for the number of subscribers. The choice between quality and quantity for social media creators almost always leans towards the latter, and Clubhouse is no exception.
When Facebook just began to gain momentum in Russia, this social network was very nice, neutral and even positive, there was no aggression in it. Between acquaintances or friends, you knew through one person everyone who communicated with you or commented on what was happening. It was somewhat reminiscent of the early years of the Internet, when there were not so many people in it and it was a friendly environment in which aggression was perceived as bad upbringing, and the most you could face was screaming when someone pinched on the Caps Lock keyboard.
The world has accelerated, and we are rapidly going through exactly the same stages in different guises. For example, in the American segment of Clubhouse, the first weeks of communication was exactly the same – cozy conversations, where there were people who knew each other or at least heard about each other. In the Russian segment, there was a plus or minus the same, until a wave of new subscribers began and a mass of people flooded the Clubhouse. At the moment, this is not the same cut that the same Facebook or Twitter have in Russia, but we are confidently moving towards this. From the first warm tube conversations, we move on to an increase in the degree of aggression, when people break out into screaming, move on to insults. While this looks like a rare manifestation of incontinence, but the trouble is the beginning. In the application, you can report a person who offends others, and after a few comments, his account will be frozen. The question is how quickly this tool will be mastered in order to kick out those who are not in your sandbox from the Clubhouse.
I created a room about books, on Saturday at 12 o’clock we started chatting about everything. In an amicable way, it was necessary to add one of the friends to the co-hosts, but I did it during the play, this has its own charm. I like to read, I read a lot and very diverse literature. It is interesting to discuss with other people what they are reading, what books have made an impression, to celebrate what they praise. I didn’t guess, but I thought that we would communicate for about an hour, in the end it turned out almost three hours! My friend, who participated in the conversation, noted that this is an amazing business, on radio or television we are used to a strict time limit, we always pull ourselves back. It turned out quite differently, as if it was a conversation in the kitchen with friends, it was very interesting, and therefore the time flew by unnoticed. New people for me, very interesting thoughts.
About a hundred people listened to this room at the peak, people came and went. We managed to discuss Dostoevsky and the school curriculum, Chinese books and the quality of translations, contemporary Russian literature and who can be called great. Books of the late Soviet period and who reads and how, and most importantly, why. Topics, as in a normal conversation, jumped from one to another, and there is a certain charm in this. Let’s try to chat on Saturdays in this mode, it turns out very warm and useful.
Clubhouse rules prohibit recording conversations, if you start screen recording on iPhone, you will see a warning.
Of course, you can record any room on a second phone, but then what to do with such a record? Overhear on long winter evenings? The format where you can participate in the conversation or skip it, not be able to hear what was said later, suggests an incentive that you will find time and participate in the discussion. And here we come to the point that in some way makes this social network elite without any discounts – you should have a lot of free time.
I have one day off a week – Saturday. On other days, my schedule is very tight, not by the minute, but it is very difficult to find a free window. It takes time to listen to the rooms in the Clubhouse, and it should be very long. Yes, this is a kind of podcasts (conversations) in real time, somewhat reminiscent of another radio format. You can listen to these conversations while driving to work. You can do this on the go, while jogging or walking. But it still takes a lot of time. Therefore, there is no need to say that communication in the Clubhouse will be available to everyone, this is a natural limitation.
As one of my friends confessed to me that he worked as a director of a large Russian company, “I see dozens of my employees, they tryn’t stop during working hours, some just listen, but it’s working time, we pay money for work, not for entertainment in the spoken genre “. I don’t know what conclusions he will make in the end, but they will definitely be. On other social networks, it is not so noticeable that people sit there during working hours, and do not immerse themselves in work. The topic is rich, and I think that I will write a separate article about how the presence of social networks affects the workflow, for most office workers this is a distraction.
The difference in people who came to the Clubhouse is clearly visible by the number of rooms adjacent to each other in the recommendations (a screenshot was sent by a friend to emphasize how funny it is).
I tortured many acquaintances about their impressions of the new social network. The majority answered that there was an element of interest, but it was not clear where to find the time to listen to conversations (in fact, not in the recording). For some, this is a way to find contacts for business, others are just having fun. But the fact is that Clubhouse will not be able to become as popular as social networks with text content or the same YouTube (replacing TV in the current paradigm). This is a rather interesting niche that is not available to everyone, you need a lot of time and desire to be present and communicate here. When the first charm passes, monetization models will be needed so that the creators of rooms and clubs remain within the social network (for those who are engaged in business, monetization is not needed, this is a communication channel). It is still completely unclear what the monetization of such conversations can be, how interesting it can be and whether it will scare people away. Inserting ads in conversations will be frightening and insanely annoying. And here it is not clear what exactly to offer users, perhaps the ability to save these conversations and then sell a subscription to access them? This option looks interesting and not very annoying.
Today Clubhouse looks like a fashionable curiosity, the media crowd has moved there for a while, as it is fashionable – familiar faces, more precisely, voices and names, many different conversations. Over the past week, the Russian Clubhouse has grown a lot, more and more newcomers are appearing (I don’t feel old-fashioned, I registered an account in my name the other day). There are fewer interesting conversations against the general background, they are blurred. There are already their own memes, their own tricks for this social network. Life goes on as usual.
You can get an invitation from an existing user, let me remind you that the application is only for iOS.
There is also another option – get on the waiting list. If you are in the notebook of an existing Clubhouse user, then he will be able to let you in and not spend his invitation.
Android users rushed to download the app of the same name on Android, and then began to give it low marks.
The program of the same name, which appeared much earlier and serves for project management, has gotten away from those who just heard the name of the program and did not begin to figure out what it is. Iran, Iraq – what’s the difference? But people did not fail to express their indignation with a one-point assessment and even wrote reviews.
I can only sympathize with the guys from the original Clubhouse, since now the load on their support team will be gigantic and will not subside for a long time. Something needs to be written about the wits of those who download another application, but I’ll leave that to your thoughts. After all, people buy shares in companies on the stock exchange that are named in tune with what appears in the news, but they are not. So there is nothing new and surprising here either.
I have no clubhouse invitations, so sorry. Go online – you can safely search for me by name, Eldar Murtazin. At 12 on Saturdays, we chat about books, how long this format will be preserved, I don’t know, while we play chat.
It is difficult to draw conclusions about the future of Clubhouse, because fashion is fleeting and tomorrow this project may be forgotten. “Tomorrow” is a loose concept, it can happen in a year or five, according to market standards, these are also close events. But one thing I can say for sure, today it is a fashionable toy, since in the absence of monetization mechanisms it will be difficult to retain those who create content. And it is impossible to find people with a lot of free time, in our world they are not. So then, perhaps, after all, the Clubhouse is the elite club of those who have all the time in the world? What do you think of this social network?
PS About voice messages and communication. In our Telegram channel several times a week I leave voice comments about various events, something from the category of mini-podcasts. You like the format, judging by the comments, by the way you share such messages. Thank. And, of course, subscribe to the channel, if you have not already done so, there is live and “fast” communication, as well as information. Our channel is right here.
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