What exactly is the new Clubhouse app that Elon Musk uses and has been blowing up our phones since last week?
Launched in early 2020, Clubhouse is an invitation-only social networking app that is part podcast, part discussion, part conference call, and part radio, founded by software developers Alpha Exploration Co. It caters mainly to younger professionals, who can only join the app through an exclusive invite-only invitation. Yes, you can’t just download the app off the app store – you have to be invited!
“It works so well because of this concept of exclusivity,” said a 28-year-old marketer and actor based in Bangkok. “That’s why I think it has been doing so well.”
How does it work?
In Clubhouse, everyone gets the chance to become a thought leader and engage in real-time conversations in their field of interest. Once you join, users will need to create a username and select a profile photo and bio to go along with their account – for example, something like mine – “Journalist, Photographer, Dog Walker and aspiring Tiktok Star based in Bangkok, Thailand.”
In the “Explore” page, you also get to select topics of interest – which can range from Tech, World Affairs, Arts, Business, and Identity. The more you follow users and conversations to talk about, the more the app is able to provide you with more rooms and conversation topics to join.
Once you enter a live conference room or conversation topic, such as “analyzing actor Park Seojoon’s role in each of his K-dramas” or “Good Mind Dialogue: Behind the meaning of each songs” users get to participate in real-time conversations by professionals and netizens, and can even get the chance to speak if they are invited by the creators of the chat room. There is also an option to peace out and “quietly leave” the rooms you are no longer interested in. Once the conversation is over, the room is closed.
It works like a virtual group of friends, and you can tune into Clubhouse at any time of the day. Clubhouse is a personalized and intimate live podcast, where listeners and speakers – or strangers – can create rooms and virtually talk about any topic under the sun. You can tune in to any conversations happening around the world – in English, Thai, Korean, Russian, or any other language.
At the time of writing the app was valued at more than 1 billion US dollars.
However, it has been blocked in mainland China since February 8, after it became increasingly popular with many users tuning in to talk about freedom of expression and democracy – topics usually banned from the Chinese mainstream.
Thought leaders jumping on the bandwagon
Through the invitation of peers and friends among the industry, many prominent celebrities and thought leaders throughout the world and Thailand are already flocking to app.
Pannika Wanich, a former spokeswoman for the now-disbanded Future Forward Party, for example, had just signed up for Clubhouse – the app notified me on late Tuesday afternoon. Among Pannika, we are also seeing Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, Pairt “Itim” Wachanranasindhu, Korn Chatikavanij, activist Bow Nuttha, Ukrit Ang, and Danny Serireongrith joining Clubhouse, with many of them having participated in rooms and conversations
On an international scale, stars from the likes of Elon Musk, Jared Leto, Gayle King, Meek Mill, Ben Horowitz, Mark Zuckerberg to Malcolm Gladwell have also hosted rooms and conversation topics. IF you’re lucky and just in time, you can join in on the “Clubhouse” too.