Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Clubhouse, the social network you didn’t know you didn’t need

Wave goodbye to Clubhouse

Clubhouse is the new hot commodity in the “tech” world. It’s basically an audio online chat room but with controls. From what I’m reading in tech press and hearing on podcasts Clubhouse is trying to be the next “platform” for speech. Not free speech mind you but for speech. This is just another platform to gain users for advertisers to scrape data.

There is no unique tech to Clubhouse. Yes, it’s audio only but this is something you can already do with Zoom or other group online meeting platforms. Just turn off the cameras. In Zoom, the person creating the meeting can control everything about the meeting. You can even open the meeting up to the public. What is stopping anyone from using Zoom as a broadcasting platform where advertisers can sponsor an event? Nothing. In fact it’s already happening with online webinars and conferences set up using Zoom or other online platforms.

Newer social networks, while dealing with the threat of having their features copied, must also figure out their business models in an industry where most digital-ad spending goes to Facebook and Alphabet Inc. Snapchat parent Snap Inc. remains unprofitable despite notching its highest quarterly growth in nearly five years in its latest quarter.

Clubhouse is exploring options for performers to receive tips, and offering paid events and memberships that would give users access to extra content, the founders said during a recent conversation on the app.

Wall Street Journal

So why is Clubhouse getting all this free press? Exclusivity. It’s invite only right now. It has that elitist vibe because celebrities and “luminaries” are the highlighted users. If you’re lucky enough to get into their “clubhouse” then you’ve made it. You’re in. You’re part of the elites!

Clubhouse could be successful in building paid features because of its air of exclusivity—an invitation is required to join, but easy to procure—and the high-profile names coming to converse on the platform, including Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, actor Lindsay Lohan and Brad Parscale, one-time campaign manager for former President Donald Trump.

Wall Street Journal

If you’re at all independent minded why would you want to join another social “platform” only to get de-platformed once you start to express views and opinions that are outside the club.

Starting a podcast is better than doing anything on Clubhouse. There is a near zero barrier to entry for podcasting. It’s virtually infinitely scalable because you can start using your own storage and if it gets popular you can transfer to a dedicated podcast service. You can have live interaction by streaming your podcast and having a chatroom or live call in like radio. Joining a service like Clubhouse only serves to enrich those providing that platform. If you have a good product or are already famous why put another middle man in between you and your ad dollars?