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Clubhouse: Why Do You Need to Create a Voice-only App

The Clubhouse Phenomenon: Why Voice Chatting is So Popular

February 23, 2021
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7 min read

"<medium>Speak, so that I can see you<medium>," Socrates said. Let's think about it in the case of Clubhouse, the voice app, probably, the buzziest app for today. Will it be a real social significant platform or just a business product? Is there a place in social media space for a format you don't need a screen for? Finally, do you need to build a drop-in app and can the voice application perform communication flawlessly?

What is Clubhouse app?

Clubhouse is an audio-chat social network, 'a hybrid of conference calls, talkback radio and Houseparty' performing like a live podcasting application. You can select different topics of interest, like tech, books, business, or travels, and then receive recommendations with conversation rooms and individuals in accordance with specified interests.

The conversation room is like a conference call, but where only some people are on the mic, and most are just listening in. And, in an analogy with a phone call, once the conversation is over, the room is closed.

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Note, Clubhouse is invitation-only iOS-only. It means you can only access Clubhouse through an invite from a current app member and only if you have Apple's iDevice. Thus, Android users and lonely pilgrims, who had no one to invite them, had been sacrificed on the hype's altar without any qualms. More seriously, such a try of elitism, in the author's view, is quite a shame but we shall not dwell on it now.

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What are the reasons for Clubhouse's popularity?

Clubhouse has seen a huge surge in growth that has come in the past 3 months — it crossed 10.1 million registered users . According to the AppFigure report, the U.S. makes up the majority of Clubhouse downloads, and Germany, Japan, and the U.K. are the top three non-U.S. markets that added 700,000 downloads to the total (as of the 4 February this year). So, why Clubhouse is so popular and what's the secret of its success?

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Clubhouse: a modern agora, a noisy fair, or an interest club?

Conversations in Clubhouse are contrastingly different — some are like <medium>passionate debates<medium>, others can resemble <medium>a genteel five o'clock tea<medium>, finally, they can be just <medium>drab hangouts<medium>. In Clubhouse you can find a celebrity, just chattering laughing guys or behind-the-scenes industry experts. Perhaps, such a diversity of topics and individuals this app offers is one of its key benefits that won users' hearts. The others we are going to discuss below.

<medium>Clubhouse room may become a cozy living room with talks in front of the fireplace, or an Oxford classroom, or even a boxing ring<medium> (we will discuss this below). So, you make up your own rules or just accept another's.

Now let's discuss the core Clubhouse advantages we decided to highlight. Nevertheless, we are going to discuss some pitfalls and controversial points too — there are lees to every wine, and learning from others' experiences is an excellent chance to improve your own product.

Clubhouse pros

Freedom of expression: new ideas and exchange of experience

Initially, Clubhouse positioned itself as a passive observer to become a freedom of speech platform avoiding censorship. So, people seized the opportunity to discuss everything they care about.

Everybody can moderate the room: even if you are not a recognized expert

You can create the room and start the topic, even if you have no followers and your name is unknown to the public – it doesn't really matter. Application is not entirely dominated by huge influencers now and it is a good chance for people who have a story to tell or knowledge to share to be heard.

Microphone only: no camera, no worrying about ypur hair

No worryings about your hair and ridiculous wallpapers. That is a really interesting Clubhouse experience. No matter, whether are you taking a bath or jogging in the park, just plug in your headset. Cameras are off and such immersion into talk becomes deeper. Just try it! :-)

Diversity of topics: choose the most interesting

Clubhouse offers a diversity of topics, such as relationships, NBA game recaps, philosophy, politics, e-commerce, innovations, etc. You can create your own topic to discuss, receive recommendations in accordance with selected topics, and that is one more tick on the list of Clubhouse pros.

Live podcasting: sense of presence

Voice-hearing experience makes immersion into talks much deeper. People are concentrating on the voice, intonation details, pauses and accents, timbre changes, and so on. Talks are perceived in a unique way and that is probably something that was missing before when video chats took over during the pandemic.

New network contacts and wider outreach

No doubt, the Clubhouse network is a large scope for marketers, sales managers, and other specialists to expand the reach and connect new potential clients. And for mere mortals, Clubhouse networking can be a place to find interesting conversationalists, good company, or even soulmates, who knows?

No doom-scrolling: reducing information overload

The time of doom-surfing on the waves of anxious social media news feeds is over. Just select the room you like or leave the toxic or boring one by clicking on the link at the bottom with the ️"peace out" icon.

Don't have to look at a screen: eyes fatigue off

Audio-only apps like Clubhouse make you free from looking ar the screen of your smartphone. After the workday spent in front of a computer screen, it's an excellent opportunity to give your eyes a rest. Staring at devices' screens for hours is a real scourge of today. Sure, audio chats and podcasts are good alternatives to switch to other 'modes'.

Platform is add-and pay-free (for now)

Clubhouse doesn't generate revenue now, there are no ads, but it plans to add subscription tools so members can earn money through the app.

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Clubhouse cons

Freedom of expression: rudeness and nonsense

Fake information, mindless chatter, missed topic – you'll be facing all that here just like in any social media. While Facebook is trying to fight fake information, such regulation within live audio chats is an issue for today. Probably it will be better to give the floor to people with something important or interesting to say.

Everybody can moderate the room: even if you are not an expert at all

Clubhouse app now is a green field, with space for newcomers to be heard. But not all users are guided by principles of 'good faith, reasonableness, and equity'. Clubhouse is also actively used by businesses to promote their product\service and some of the rooms may be too salesy and don't match a specified topic.

Microphone only: no camera, no lovely faces

Camera-off is one more coin with two sides. While you can be calm about your background picture (because of its absence) you can miss your conversationalists' smiles and other facial expressions. Also, in Clubhouse you can't accompany your talk with visual material, like photos, charts, etc. It can be a real omission for visual learners. But still, a good chance to improve auditory perception skills!

Not fully private: live audio can be siphoned

Clubhouse creators claim that live audio-chats had in conversation rooms disappear. However, this doesn't stop quick-witted users from streaming Clubhouse audio feeds into third-party websites. So, voice data can be successfully stolen by malicious hackers or just by merry men. Keep calm and don't turn the social Clubhouse room into a confessional box. More seriously, as in the other social media, all that has been said and written can be used against you and that's nothing new.

No verifying credenials of public figures: are you sure Elon Musk?

It is about marking a user account with a verification badge just like сheck-marks on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. It will brand an account as one belonging to a public figure or celebrity. Also, it will help users to separate genuine accounts of famous people from imposter accounts.

Fight club(house): toxic conversations and impunity

Freedom of expression is a de facto goodness. However, 'your right to swing your arm leaves off where my right not to have my nose struck begins'. Don't be surprised if you'll be humiliated by an unidentified user. Being the man without a face is a 'nice' chance to go unpunished. After accusations of promoting antisemitism and racism, Clubhouse promised to add more moderation tools and improve content regulation functions.

Invite-only (or wait in line *sound of crickets*)

As we've already mentioned, Clubhouse is an invite-only app, which means you can sign in only when some current Clubhouse user will send you an invite (or you can get in the Waitlist line). Maybe it makes someone feel involved in something important but probably it's only a marketing hook to make an exclusivity feeling. By the way, some eCommerce platforms, including Xianyu and Taobao, were offering to buy Clubhouse invites for between $23 - $61.

Currently is not available on android

One more odd thing is there is still no Android version of the app. Feels like being staying for supper, right? While iOS users got the cream, Android users are still waiting. 'It is on the way' they said but hasn't given a firm date. Meanwhile, a developer from Russia created an unofficial Android version of Clubhouse in just one day and published it on GitHub.

Takeaway

Audio chat room is a wide field for new user experience and interaction opportunities. This kind of new social platform faces many challenges today but every challenge as you know is a possibility to improve your skills and become a pioneer in a particular market niche.

Create your own Clubhouse-like app or enhance your existing platform with advanced voice chat features — Freshcode experts are ready to discuss every suitable and efficient solution for your digital product.

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