The Rise of Clubhouse – The Next Big Thing in Social Media

Last Updated on by Chris

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It's safe to say that Clubhouse has crossed the threshold from potential fad to certifiable phenomenon. The Clubhouse app has now been downloaded almost 5 million times. Keep in mind that at the end of 2020, the app had a little more than one million downloads, so we're talking about several million downloads since 2021 has begun – and that pace isn't slowing.

This app is forcing people to consider what interacting on social media will look like moving forward. Whether you appreciate Clubhouse or not, there's no denying that this new social media sensation is making waves. It would seem that the true sign of “making it” these days is the arrival of copy cats, and rest assured Facebook, Twitter, and others are already hot on the tails of Clubhouse.

It remains to be seen as to whether Clubhouse has a loyal enough fanbase to lock this down and protect itself from the other giants of social, but most users can agree that there's something different about the Clubhouse app that they can't get enough of.

Maybe it's the never before seen access to big name celebrities and people in your industry, or maybe it's just a taste of authenticity that people have been craving. The verdict is still a little bit out on Clubhouse, but there sure are a heck of a lot of interested jurors at the moment.

The Rise of Clubhouse

Mobile phone and earphones on color wooden background

The New York Times just released an article called “Clubhouse, a Tiny Audio Chat App, Breaks Through.” That says a lot in and of itself, but it's this paragraph from the article which is the real food for thought.

“Clubhouse has generated debate about whether audio is the next wave of social media, moving digital connections beyond text, photos and videos to old-fashioned voice. In thousands of chatrooms every day, Clubhouse’s users have conducted unfettered conversations on subjects as varied as astrophysics, geopolitics, queer representation in Bollywood and even cosmic poetry.”

The growth of the social platform has been meteoric to put it lightly. Take, for example, the fact that Elon Musk hopped on the platform just a week or so ago, and nearly broke the platform. Mark Zuckerberg followed suit shortly thereafter. You can expect big names to continue to head to Clubhouse, because of the impact they're seeing. 

it's a new kind of networking that many bloggers and content creators are taking full-advantage of, especially those who offer products or services.

We've seen podcasting experts who offer editing services, or have ebooks or courses on podcast growth, pretty much camp out on Clubhouse indefinitely. And our conversations with them suggest that conversion rates are like nothing they've seen before. It may have something to do with the trust we place in hearing someone else's voice.

Creators aren't the only one who have noticed Clubhouse's power. According to CNBC, Investors are pouring money into Agora (which apparently powers the live streaming audio features), as well as Clubhouse Media Group (which has absolutely nothing to do with the Clubhouse app, but has still benefited from over 100% growth).

The Chinese government has also noticed the app's potential power, and reports out recently suggested they'd banned it.

Clubhouse Concerns

Generally speaking, when you start to get more attention, you can be sure that not all of that attention will be good, and that's exactly the case with Clubhouse.

Perhaps the most prominent concern is accessibility. How, for example, can somebody who has issues with hearing use the platform? That's sparked the debate about whether Clubhouse should add closed captioning or take other measures to ensure the platform is inclusive.

The app developers have mentioned that they're aware of the accessibility concerns, but they also note that they are currently overwhelmed with the volume of people using the app, so they're very much just trying to keep up right now. In fact, just recently the app crashed entirely, so it would appear they're unable to zoom out at the moment to deal with accessibility since they're very much in survival mode with the app in its current state.

That, however, isn't an excuse, and the creator community, us included, should continue to keep tabs on how they deal with accessibility moving forwards.

The other concern is around harassment. An article in Grit Daily has suggested that women and people of colour have too often been targets of abuse on the platform. Furthermore, there are suggestions that the app hasn't gotten a handle on how to moderate or curb conversations which could be considered racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic.

Rest assured, we'll keep tabs on how all of this progresses here at This Week in Blogging.

What's Next for Clubhouse?

For folks who want to hop on Clubhouse, but don't know where to start, we featured a fantastic expert last week who ran through what you'll want to know and consider when joining Clubhouse. She also gives actionable tips for how to make the most of the platform for your brand.

As of right now, the most definite thing that we can say is that Clubhouse is not going anywhere. How it grows, and how the impending Facebook copy will affect that growth remains to be seen, but get used to seeing Clubhouse in your daily headlines.

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