It’s not an app, it’s an experience. The adventure of Clubhouse.
“Hi babe, are you on Clubhouse? Would you like to be? I’ve got invites.”
Witnessing the audio app’s fantastic real-time discussions for a week, I felt everybody knew the newest platform craze and Covid-entranced me had stumbled into it too late. Still in beta, the app had turned buzzy in May 2020 because celebrities and high-profile venture capitalists were promoting it. How did I miss this, and what did I miss? I didn’t want anybody else to be Clubhouse depraved and sent passionate DM’s to my followers and friends. Got an iphone? Get in now before millions of Androids flood the real estate.
In a world where we can’t hug anymore, the Universe had been listening; it gave us Clubhouse, perfect for pandemic times. Voices touch us in chat rooms, replacing the hugs we miss. People eager to meet kindred spirits expand their connections and perspectives by tapping into completely new communities. Okay, it wasn’t the Universe on her own handing us a cool gift, she had help from Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison and ex-Google employee Rohan Seth, two passionate tech people who turned their app epiphany into the newest craze. Hands on, they’re welcoming and teaching Newbies every Wednesday night. They’ll probably be sainted for this.
“It’s not an app, it’s an experience,” said one of the many 6 and 7 figure business coaches, talks I usually avoid as their hussle intentions feel so yesterday. But some of them caught the heart centered vibe; business moguls step down to earth and become people. Philanthropy is big in rose colored rooms aiming for a better future. A CEO who had successfully invested in Snapchat and other social media, praised Clubhouse as a unique venture that blew his mind, ending in, “I let other people run my companies, I’m on CH 24/7.”
It is seriously addictive, for sure. Some rooms run for 24 hours, others every day at the same time. We’re jumping from one mind-blowing to the next entertaining chat. Obsession hits when we realize that there are no replays. We feel the need to be on it, at it, with it, all the time as information becomes ephemeral like soap bubbles. Therapists jump in with joy, balancing people’s FOMO. With them or on our fierce own, we learn the ways of the Ninja; in and out of chats, visible when we want to and gone when the alarm rings; there’s life outside Clubhouse.
I was in pajamas when visiting my first room. That I didn’t need makeup and an edgy elegant outfit to be presentable was such a sigh of relief after three years of empowering women with rad outfits against ageism on Instagram. I only had to pretty up my attitude; to contribute to discussions without showing off, another chance to go ego-free. On Clubhouse we take our daily masks off and enter these rooms symbolically naked; not separated into race, religion, age or gender. Not being recorded empowers fearless honesty and vulnerability. If you felt alone in a world of billions of people, you have them on speaker now no matter where you are.
The experience is life changing.
I am in week three, listened a lot, contributed to several rooms, opened my own discussions and got rewarded with additional invites. The ten newbies I invited are taking their party hats off after their first week and, like me, question everything they did pre-Clubhouse in an excited, creative way. I feel I’ve entered a new century, not just a new decade. The age of Aquarius type audio app answers a longing many of us felt for a long time, to let our souls speak. Self promotion? Yikes. Stop the pitch. Make an impression by being your self, your energy will win people over not your laurels, so says my scribble on page one of my Clubhouse note book.
We’re used to slapping important opinions onto Twitter, discussing personal drama on Facebook, business on Linkedin and posting pretty fashion pics on Instagram or Pinterest. We curated conditional truths on these platforms though and shaped our personas to the liking and the likes of our followers. It’s different now. Not that the desire to sell products or services disappeared, but for many it’s not their primary motivation anymore. On Clubhouse we follow people because who we follow creates your experience; we see their topics announced in our our hallways. The algorithm doesn’t care if we follow more people than we have followers; we let our curiosity, interests and desires be our guides.
We have the permission to be multi dimensional beings with many interests and varying topics. The PHD in math opens a room for foodies, and the chef talks Sci-Fi. I share my expertise of fashion empowerment, branding and longevity as a gift but step into new circles of passionate creatives and conscious entrepreneurs. The expansiveness of this world reassured my belief in my writer talents and reawakened my cultural rebel passion. I called my room, Let’s be Legendary, fearless thoughts and ageless living, with new topics and co-hosts three times a week.
Suggestions for newbies
Check the FAQ section in your settings for a lot of valuable info. Visit the Welcome Newbies room, which is open every Wednesday evening and run by Clubhouse creators.
Take a couple days to listen to speakers and watch your reactions. Make Clubhouse an awareness journey in which you can observe yourself and clarify your intentions before creating your own room.
Meander your hallways and peak into rooms. Good moderators make us feel seen, verbally hugged and, when we still have the party hat on, feel extra welcome. Calm your inner perfectionist with Vitamin B pills if you must, but jump in. Bravely hit the hand icon on the bottom of the screen and the moderator might invite you onto the stage. Make yourself known by adding value to the topic. To create an uplifting experience for everybody, don’t introduce yourself with your bio or personal drama if you’re not in a storytelling room. Be bright, brief, and gone.
Challenge No 1 — Patience
Lively discussions are fun, but respect is a beautiful virtue. When entering the stage mute your mic and curb your enthusiasm; wait for the invitation to speak. Tapping the mic in a fast sequence shows up as applause for whoever is speaking. You might occasionally also slap your sofa in frustration when lengthy monologues test your patience. There is a ban button for bullies repeatedly hawking the conversation.
Challenge No 2 — Nobody tosses you the ball
Don’t wait for others to see you. Go through the profiles of the speakers and attendees and follow whoever you care to meet again. Hit the bell at their name if you want alerts when the speaker is live. Connect to people via their linked Twitter or Instagram accounts.
Challenge No 3 — Time management
Notifications will fly in all day long; it’s part of your Ninja training to ignore them. Your mantra, “There is no FOMO.” Turning notification off isn’t wise, as your friends and connections can’t ping you when something amazing is going on. Before you master choosing your chats strategically, you will probably get sucked into the marvelous mansion of smart minds. Expect your free will to melt away. Forgive yourself. Chose a comfy couch, have enough snacks handy and a big jug of water. Sink in.
Challenge No 4 — We get crushed. Our self-worth sinks into the basement.
The high-powered knowledge of thousands of smart people can make us feel like a wallflower. Hold on to your self-worth, people. We might not always be super eleoquent or at PhD level, but a unique, ego-free contribution will be relevant for somebody.
Practical solution: We hammer down our worth in our bios
Tips for the bio
1. The first three lines are our most important real estate, that’s what people see when they click on our thumb print photo. If they like it they’ll check your entire bio and connect with you on Twitter or Instagram.
2. Emojis are searchable when we use the ones Clubhouse assigned to the interests in settings.
3. It’s more inspiring to use our first three lines for passion and purpose than for degrees and services. I changed my bio 22 times. The algorithm might hate me now, but I couldn’t help it. I wanted to be more than the fashion rebel on Instagram and asked intuition to guide me. It took some shaking off of old ideas to get it right. My reward for being radically real on Clubhouse is loving my creative fashion adventures on Instagram again; to have an outlet for all we are is life changing.
Challenge No 5 — Be open to change. This is an invitation to be real.
We might feel tempted to hang on to what we think we know. But the Clubhouse experience can reveal and empower so much more if we are open to listen. We make new connections with others and also our souls.
Challenge No 6 — Create your own room.
Don’t use the “create a room” on the bottom of your screen. Within your main calendar is a tiny calendar with a plus where you can schedule your room and invite co hosts that complement not compete with you. You can make them moderators later, clicking on their picture before attendees come in. They help you keep the discussion flowing, remind people to follow each other and take on other tasks that help you stay focused. Do a private room with friends first, test the options.
Welcome your guests like friends and from time to time re-set the room; repeat what the topic is and your rules, if you have any. Visit the “tips to being a great moderator” presentation.
After three hosted rooms, you can apply for your own club.
Challenge 7 — Politics, fight for equity and drooling over celebs
Most humans are far from being balanced Zen, we are ambitious and are only slowly learning that our contributions should be good for us, for the community and the world. Clubhouse is not without negative emotions, bitching and virtual biting. When in doubt jump back to what matters; this is supposed to be open minded creative discussions about how to make the world healthier.
My dream of creating a inclusive, vibrant community within our broken world in the wide open spaces of New Mexico, Montana or maybe Portugal found its virtual sisters; intentionally life improving rooms in the Clubhouse think and feel tank. My club will be like a Parisian salon for innovative minds creating a fantastic future. We got a amazing chance here, the more people join the new future clubs, the more we occupy space for the greater good and make sure that the outmoded patriarchal mindset can’t take over. Let’s evoke people power, let’s be legendary together.
Clubhouse isn’t an app, it’s an experience and we can elevate it into a society that heals our world.
I partnered with Medium to publish stories that matter.