How Clubhouse Started a Chat Room Revolution
You may, or may not, have heard of Clubhouse, an app that’s quietly taking the world by storm...5th May 2021 -
Since its launch in April 2020, Clubhouse has exploded in popularity. The concept behind the app is a basic one, adopting the style of a chat room that has existed since the dawn of the internet. However, there’s one big difference that sets Clubhouse apart- it’s voice only. So, Clubhouse users cannot share video, images or text.
According to Clubhouse’s app store description it’s ‘a space for casual, drop-in audio conversations- with friends and other interesting people around the world’.
Clubhouse users can hop from one room to another, exploring different topics of conversation. When a user enters a new room they’re classed as a member of the audience, listening in to the talk or conversation that’s unfolding, however, a user can raise their hand at any point, and this allows the speakers to call on them to contribute to the conversation or ask questions.
Users are also able to create a room of their own, in order to start a conversation around a particular topic, or share their own stories.
The creators of Clubhouse chose to make the app a voice only medium in order to reduce distractions, all users have to think about is listening to the conversation, and contributing via their voice if they wish. The creators also hope that the use of voice, rather than text, will create more meaningful dialogues and debates.
According to a recent town hall meeting hosted by the app’s CEO Paul Davidson, Clubhouse currently boasts around 10 million weekly users, an impressive number considering that figure was just 1,500 this time last year.
Perhaps a factor in the app’s popularity is its exclusivity, you can’t actually sign up to Clubhouse without an invite from a current user. You can download the app and reserve your handle, but without an invite from a user you’re then simply directed to a message letting you know that you’re on a waiting list to be added to the app.
The future of online chat rooms?
Last month Reddit unveiled their new chat room, Reddit Talk, a voice only platform that allows users to join chat rooms and listen in to conversations and talks, with the option to raise their hand and be called on to contribute.
Sound familiar? Reddit Talk certainly seems to be very similar to Clubhouse, and Reddit joins an array of other platforms that have recently announced the introduction of similar, audio based chat room spaces.
In March, Discord introduced Stage Channels, and last month Twitter launched Twitter Spaces, both of which are audio-based chat room spaces with strikingly similar features to Clubhouse. Slack has also announced that they are looking to incorporate non-text based forms of communication, and Spotify and Linkedin have both announced that they are working on launching their own audio-based chat platforms too!
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have led us all to look for new forms of entertainment, and new ways of interacting with others, and it certainly appears that Clubhouse has tapped into something special.
By the end of 2021, we may well find that most of our favourite online platforms have adopted similar chat spaces, to allow users to interact and share stories and ideas with other users across the globe.
One thing is for sure- the ever-changing, ever-adapting online space is a very exciting place to be in 2021!
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