Clubhouse: The invite-only audio chat app everyone’s talking about

So what is it?

Clubhouse is the latest in social media trends and since launching in 2020, it has now achieved around 6 million users, with this figure continuously rising. It is used by many celebs, including Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, Drake, Jared Leto and Elon Musk. Straight out of Silicon Valley, the social networking app based on audio chat, is part conference call, talkback radio and Houseparty, a refreshing medium in a world of Zoom calls. The app allows users to listen in to discussions, interviews and conversations on the app, similar to tuning in to a live podcast, but as it is invite-only, there is an extra layer of security and exclusivity.

Unlike most social networking apps, Clubhouse can only be accessed through an invite. You can’t just make an account or sign up, you have to be sent the invitation by a member and do it through that. When you’ve got past that, you can then join the app and make your own profile. This is quick and easy to do and then it gets to the fun part! The app will then give you follow suggestions and topics you can select and show interest in. This personalisation is great to tailor the app to your interests.

Once this part is complete the app will recommend conversation rooms. These are similar to a conference call, but only some people talking and the rest listening in, you can even raise your hand and ask a question to contribute to the conversation. When the conversation is over, the room will close and any chats had in the room will disappear. There are scheduled events, with arranged speakers, and notifications will prompt you to join. You can easily join and leave rooms or even create your own! Just follow the house rules to be open-minded and respectful, and keep your cool if you come across any celebs!

How do invites work?

To receive an invite, someone will need to send this from the app and to your phone number. This will provide a link to the app store and prompt you to download. When you do so you can choose to join through the invite and put in your phone number, and then set up your profile. Users can’t just send an invite to anyone who wants to join, they only have two invites available at first so need to use them wisely.

There is also no vetting process to join, once you’ve got an invite, you’re in! The app is currently only available for iPhone users, although there are plans to open the app up to Android users and the rest of the world.

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Why is it so popular?

Clubhouse has recently burst into the mainstream when Elon Musk hosted an audio-chat with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev. The event caused the app conversation room limits to max out and it was even streamed onto YouTube. This helped give it a boost in the public eye since its start in March last year. 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, although this was not the case here.

Clubhouse has announced new features to come, such as; tipping tickets or subscriptions, to directly pay creators. This funding will come from their earnings since the launch, now valued at $1bn, it is considered a ‘Unicorn’ company, alongside Airbnb, Uber, SpaceX, Robinhood, and SoFi.

The app has recently exploded in popularity in China, as e-commerce sites there are offering those who wish to join, the chance to buy invites. These sites are charging heavily for invite codes, platforms such as Xianyu and Taobao, are selling them for between 150 – 400 yuan ($23 – $61).

There are also concerns the app could be blocked by China’s firewall due to strict government control, especially as popularity soars. Have you got the invite yet? Write in the comment what you think and if you’ve already tested the app!

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