When I first heard about Clubhouse, my initial response was mixed. Should I join Clubhouse? On the one hand, I thought it sounds interesting, and what a great way to listen to and even chat with celebrities. Then my inner cynic took hold, and I started to look at it more analytically, and wondered is Clubhouse the right platform for me?
I can see how beneficial it could be for some business owners (especially speakers), or those wanting to launch who need to get their name out there and build their reputation and leads. I guess on some levels you shouldn’t judge what you haven’t experienced, but here are my reasons for not joining Clubhouse to date.
Is Clubhouse exclusive and elitist?
…and not in a good way! It’s an ongoing learning curve, but wherever possible I try to be inclusive and look out for others. By the very nature of Clubhouse being an audio platform, it is not accessible and is excluding the deaf community. That’s a huge part of society that isn’t being catered for. I’m not deaf, or hard of hearing, but I have friends and family members who are. I agree with Liam O’Dell in his article here. Hopefully, in time the powers that be at Clubhouse will introduce some form of auto-captions (which admittedly are not without fault, but captions are at least progressive and more inclusive).
Another area where elitism comes into play is that Clubhouse is only available on Apple devices at the moment. I’m an Android gal, I have been from day 1. My Son on the other hand has always been an Apple user. I inherited his old iPhone at Christmas when I had a rather unfortunate and damp mishap with my trusty Samsung. I could not get along with the iPhone at all. Maybe it’s my age, or just out of habit? Perhaps my Covid stress levels just couldn’t cope with having to reconfigure and set up all the apps. I chose to buy a new Samsung over continuing with the iPhone, which I have kept purely as a work phone.
It’s another Social Media rabbit hole
As I have mentioned in my previous post, I am on a mission in 2021 to improve my productivity. At the same time though, I want to be more present for my Son in his final year at school. It would be counter-productive for me to engage with another Social Media platform, and disappear down more rabbit holes. If I were to succumb to joining Clubhouse, it would have to be at a fixed time of the day/week, which would surely be counter-intuitive to the ethos of dropping in and out of conversations.
Is Clubhouse cultivating fear of missing out (FOMO) culture?
I think some will join as they don’t want to feel left out of the loop, or that they like being the cool kid with access to something new. Some may even go out and buy an iPhone just so they don’t feel left out/can be in THE club. Apart from the inevitable odd time in PE, when I was often in the dregs at the end to be chosen to be on the teams, I’ve always beat my own drum and haven’t really felt left out of things.
For some though, especially in the current climate where mental health and resilience are not as strong as normal, something like this could be a trigger for them feeling like they are missing out/being excluded from connections. Even if they managed to get on Clubhouse, if they get into a room, and are ignored by the speaker when they put their hand up or belittled by others on there, it could have a devastating effect on someone’s self-esteem.
Yes, I understand you can set up a friend/closed circle groups, but why not do that on a platform everyone can access like Zoom (which does now have auto-captions, and can be on/off video)?
Is Clubhouse the right platform for introverts?
Platforms such as Clubhouse are generally every introvert’s worst nightmare. That’s not to say they/we (as I include myself in this) are keyboard warriors. The mere thought of speaking in front of people can increase anxieties and insecurities. As a result of my chemo a few years ago, I frequently blank out and struggle to think of what to say when put on the spot. I often trip up over my words, so am unlikely to ever want to speak in a room… especially where I can’t see or read people’s faces.
There is little in the way of regulation
At the time of writing, I have seen/heard many reports that clubhouse lacks moderation/intervention. Some rooms have reportedly become a verbal free for all. Bullies will be bullies whatever platform they are on. Giving some a voice will most definitely bring out the worst in them. Hopefully, this will improve over time. Is a platform such as this is asking for trouble without high standards and regulation in place?
Will Clubhouse still be around in a couple of years?
Given that Twitter is rolling out their Spaces, and Facebook have something in the offing, are users likely to stay on Clubhouse? Or will they use a platform where they already have a large following? Is it really worth investing (losing) your time yet?
What do you think?
Maybe some of my musings above resonate with you? Maybe you think I am way off the mark? It’s OK if you do. I have many business friends and connections who are using and enjoying Clubhouse. All have been very generous in sharing their invites. I wish them all well, but for now, I’m going to stick with what I know.
Is Clubhouse the right platform for me?
How are you finding it? Do you ration your time on there or disappear down rabbit holes? Has it noticeably impacted your productivity?
What would be the one thing you could say to me that would change my mind? Should I be embracing it as a VA? Am I missing out on future work by not being on Clubhouse?
Feel free to share your thoughts and room links in the comments below.