January 26, 2021Published by: Emma Hurley

Welcome to the Clubhouse

It’s the new and exclusive, invite-only social media app that’s set to hit a million users in the next couple of weeks – and just this week got a $1bn valuation courtesy of a new series funding round. But what exactly is Clubhouse?

Launched in private beta in April 2020, Clubhouse is a live audio social network where users can enter ‘‘rooms” to listen to conversations around a wide range of topics, as well as become part of the discussion, too. It’s also possible to host your own room for open, social or closed chats. It’s become a hot topic with social media users and in tech media, and is beginning to grow its community as the social network prepares for a wider rollout in 2021.  

There is, however, a catch. Clubhouse is still in private beta and only available on iOS right now. So you need an iPhone, and you need an invite. Through limiting the amount of users allowed in, Clubhouse has succeeded in creating a cult status and viral appeal. 

How do you get an invite? 
All users get a number of invites to dish out when they first join, so you need to find someone who is on the platform to share with you an invite. If you can’t get an invite then you can download the app and reserve your username. If you are saved in the contacts of any users, they will get notified to accept you into the platform. 

What happens once you’re in? 
The setup for Clubhouse is quick and straightforward. Once you’ve signed up, you write your profile and the app asks if you’d like to include your image and bio from your Twitter and Instagram handles. You’ll also be asked to pick some interests and given recommendations of people to follow. Then you head to the homepage to start exploring. 

How Clubhouse works
Think of the app as being like a large event with lots of breakout spaces to speak to people. These breakout spaces are rooms where the live chats take place. 

When you open the app you’re in the hallway. This is the main feed and where you can discover rooms based on your interests, the clubs you join, and the people you follow. These are all live rooms that you are able to click on and join. If you’ve followed any clubs or scheduled rooms, these will be in grey at the top. 

Along the top of the hallway are the menu features. These allow you to search for new people or clubs, invite new users, view the calendar of upcoming rooms, view notifications, and access your profile. 

Finding new people and clubs
Click on the magnifying glass on the top left of the hallway to go to the explore tab where you can either use search, browse through recommendations, or click on interests to explore users and clubs on specific subjects. Clubs are used to create communities around subjects and rooms can be created just for club members as well as for non-members. 

Inviting people to Clubhouse
To invite a contact to Clubhouse you must have them saved in your contacts on your phone. When you click on the envelope on the main menu you will be able to access your contacts list and send them a text message with the details to join. They must, however, be an iOS user. 

Scheduled events
The calendar button on the main feed is where you will find upcoming rooms. If the event is live you can click on it to join the room. If you want to be notified when the room begins, you can click on the event to either add to your personal calendar, copy the link, share the link, or click on the bell sign to receive a push notification. 

Notifications
If you click the bell on the main feed, you’ll see a list of actions including new followers, scheduled events by people you follow, or when someone you follow is speaking in a room. 

Profile and settings
Clicking on your avatar takes you to your profile, where you can update your bio, change your picture, see your followers, who you are following, when you joined, and who nominated you. By clicking on the cog in the top right you can change your notification settings, see your selected interest, access updates, FAQs, contact details, community guidelines, T&Cs and the privacy policy. You can also disconnect and connect social channels. 

How to join a room
You can enter a room either by scrolling through your hallway or via the calendar button. When you join a room you’ll automatically join as a listener and you will be muted. The top of the room is called ‘the main stage’, which is where you'll find the room host in the top left. You will also see moderators who have a green asterisk next to their name and can control the main settings of the room, as well as the speakers. 

Below that you can see the audience, starting with followers of the speakers and then the rest of the audience in the room.

If you want to join the conversation you can raise your hand by tapping on the hand symbol on the bottom right. You can also click the + sign to invite friends to join, or click the peace sign to leave quietly. You will only be able to unmute and speak if invited to the stage by the hosts. 

Starting a room
To start a room yourself, head to the hallway where you’ll see the ‘start a room’ button at the bottom of the screen. When you click it, you’ll have three different options. 

  1. Open: start a room that anyone can join 
  2. Social: start a room with people you follow
  3. Closed: start a room for only people that you choose

Once your room option is highlighted, select ‘+ Add a Topic’ to describe your room. This cannot be changed once you have started the room. When you’re happy with it, hit the ‘start the room’ button and you’re off! 

The room will look exactly the same as the ones you join but as the host and moderator, you will have access to change the following: 

  • Switch the ‘raise hand’ option on or off through the hand on paper symbol
  • Invite people to the room through the + button 
  • Go on mute by tapping on the microphone

When an audience member raises a hand you’ll be able to allow them onto the stage where they will be able to join the conversation. You are also able to click on the speakers to view their profile, make them a moderator, or move them into the audience. 

Once you finish and leave the room, it’s all over. The room discussion will not be saved and the app prohibits you from using any screen recording software. That may change in the future, which would be useful as a podcast option, but for now, it’s not possible. 

Top 5 tips for growing your profile on Clubhouse 

1. Start with your profile. If you want to get involved in conversations it’s important to have a profile image and description of what you do. Speakers and moderators may look at your profile to make sure you are suited to the discussion, but they could also see you join a room and request that you join to chat. You can even add emojis that are searchable, so that anyone interested in books for example, can find the rooms for book lovers. 

2. Speak up. When listening in on Clubhouse chats, raise your hand and speak up. It will get you more followers and you will get extra invites to share with your friends. 

3. Join clubs. Search for clubs that match your interests and join the most suitable. You will be granted membership of some, at the decision of the club admins, and this will further build your profile on the network. This also ties in to Clubhouse wanting to build a real and authentic audience base by rewarding those users. 

4. Be a good host. It’s early days for Clubhouse, but Battenhall has already started hosting a daily room called 'Trending' with our CEO and founder Drew Benvie. It’s a great way to network with like-minded people and have public conversations that we otherwise can’t have at the moment. 

5. Set up your own room. To build a community on Clubhouse, you need to set up a club. This needs to be done by applying, which you can do here. You can only own one club, so make your application count!

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