Clubhouse Conflict: Tempest in a Teacup, Or a Sign of More Serious Problems?

In an effort to combat my isolation and depression, which is being made worse by a third pandemic lockdown largely caused by my provincial government’s bumbling, bungling and inaction, I often turn to Clubhouse for company. I like to have it nearby, running on my cellphone, and I often listen to it throughout my workday.

I consider Clubhouse a much more accessible version of talk radio, one where I can easily join in, if I feel I have something to contribute to the conversation. Listening makes me less lonely, and less likely to ruminate about my situation. Since I started in mid-February, listening to Clubhouse has very quickly become a part of my daily routine.

But frankly, Clubhouse is not a very happy place lately. The stresses and strains of unprecedented growth have all too readily shown the weaknesses of the platform.

Today, the users are in a collective uproar, with room after room after room of complaints about recent updates to the platform, which (among other things) led to the loss of keyword searching in personal bios. People are upset because they have spent time and energy build profiles which are no longer searchable, and therefore, like-minded users can no longer find each other as easily.

Clubhouse is not a happy place today
(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

More and more, it feels as if the Clubhouse community is getting smaller and more insular, despite the recent rollout to Android users (many of whom are also complaining, lacking features such as the ability to add Twitter and Instagram links to their bios). The overall mood among the remaining and (seemingly) dwindling number of Clubhouse users is angry, divisive, quarrelsome, and frankly somewhat off-putting to newcomers. And it’s unclear what is the best way to fix these problems.

Lightning may have struck once, with Clubhouse’s initial buzz and sizzle, but I think that it is unlikely to strike in the same place a second time. Clubhouse is now facing stiff, strong competition from platforms with much larger social graphs off of which they can leverage, such as Twitter, Facebook, and even Discord. Clubhouse is now far from the only game in town, and their front-runner advantage dwindles by the day.

And it’s not just single users that are giving up and leaving Clubhouse. Whole communities have moved away from Clubhouse, seeking greener pastures. For example, some Black users have left Clubhouse for the crowdfunded, Black-owned Fanbase, feeling more at home there. I expect this trend to continue as competitor social audio platforms proliferate, and create submarkets within the marketplace.

And there still seems to be a great deal of upset about the awarding of the sixty finalists in Clubhouse’s recent Creator First program. Worse, many content creators feel that their hard work is not being acknowledged or rewarded with larger numbers of followers due to recent changes to the discoverability algorithms, so why bother?

In short, Clubhouse, my bulwark against isolation and depression, is springing leaks, It will be interesting to see how Clubhouse rises to the new challenges it faces. Is this just a tempest in a teacup, or a sign of more serious problems that will spell the end of Clubhouse? Was it all just a passing fad, fed by the pandemic?

I Have Approximately 300 Invitations for Android and iOS Users to Join Clubhouse

If you have been waiting for an invitation to join the hot new drop-in social audio app Clubhouse, here’s your opportunity to check it out for yourself! (Please accept my apologies for repeating this message, but I formed a new, third club with 100 invitations to add to the overall bounty of invitations, and I know a lot of people are eagerly awaiting an invite!)

Please remember that Clubhouse is NOW currently available for iOS and (as of this week) Android users. Android is rolling out to American users first, then to other English-speaking countries such as Canada, then worldwide, over the next 2-3 weeks. If you cannot join with your Android device, you can choose to be notified by Google Play when it becomes available in your country. Please be patient and keep trying!

I have 97 invitations to join Clubhouse and become a member of the Ask a Librarian club, just click the following link:

https://www.joinclubhouse.com/join/ask-a-reference-libr/Dbb2cKzH/xVb8a41l

And I have second batch of 87 invitations to join Clubhouse and become a member of the Winnipeg Manitoba Canada club, just click this link:

https://www.joinclubhouse.com/join/winnipeg-manitoba-canada/pbx306O5/M50oDODp

And, if you aren’t a librarian or a Winnipegger/Manitoban, you can just use the following link, with a third batch of one hundred invitations, which will allow you to join Clubhouse and my brand new Tell Me Your Best Joke club!

https://www.joinclubhouse.com/join/tell-me-your-best-joke/RDDwnrb1

See you in Clubhouse! Even though the initial honeymoon period is over, I still find lots of interesting conversations to listen to and participate in! When you do join, search for me (I am using my standard red-background icon), and follow me!

Clubhouse Launches Beta for Android Users

Clubhouse, the hot new drop-in social audio app, which until now has been iOS only, dropped the following announcement today via their official blog:

Today, we are thrilled to share that Clubhouse for Android will start rolling out in beta immediately. We will begin gradually, with the U.S. today, followed by other English-speaking countries and then the rest of the world. Our plan over the next few weeks is to collect feedback from the community, fix any issues we see and work to add a few final features like payments and club creation before rolling it out more broadly. If you are an Android user, you can download Clubhouse for Android and sign up now to be alerted once it’s available in your area, and read the FAQ here.

If you’re intrigued and want to check it out for yourself, I do have 200 invitations for two clubs that I have created, which will allow you to join Clubhouse and join that particular club. It sounds as though Canada will very shortly follow the United States in allowing Android users in!

Editorial: The Competition for Social Audio Is Getting Interesting

Twitter versus Clubhouse: who will win the battle for social audio?

I’ve written twice this week about Clubhouse (here and here), and I remain endlessly fascinated about social audio apps in general, and the two leading apps, Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse, in particular. It would appear that the competition between Twitter and Clubhouse is beginning to heat up, with Twitter working aggressively to add users and features while Clubhouse seems to be experiencing some growing pains. While Clubhouse has the early lead, Twitter is making slow but steady progress, particularly in support for Android users.

Late this afternoon, I listened to a Twitter Spaces room where the future of Twitter was discussed at length, and it is clear that the new push is towards attracting content creators and providing ways to effectively monetize the platform for them. Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour tweeted today about just how far Twitter Spaces has come in only four months:

Anyone of Twitter with more than 600 followers can now host their own Twitter Spaces room, which anybody on Twitter can listen to and join in, without any limit on how many people can be in the room (Clubhouse rooms are capped at 5,000 people). Also, Twtter Spaces supports both iOS and Android devices, although Clubhouse is expected to roll out Android support sometime in the next month.

Also, Clubhouse does not have a direct message ability, relying instead on people putting Instagram and Twitter links in their bios so that people can contact each other. Of course, Twitter already has direct messaging built into the platform (although celebrities and other people can choose to turn that feature off).

All this means is that social audio is still anybody’s game to win. While Twitter Spaces is lagging behind Clubhouse in terms of overall features, Twitter has something that Clubhouse does not: a much larger potential audience (192 million users). In other words, once Kayvon and his team work out some of the bugs and add more features, they could potentially have a hit on their hands. And Facebook, with 2.8 billion user accounts and deep pockets full of profits from advertising, has the potential to come in and steamroller over both Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces.

(By the way, the Twitter Spaces room I was in crashed abruptly…it would appear that there are still quite a few bugs to iron out!)

Stay tuned; things are about to get really interesting!