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Clubhouse is the Breakout Hit of 2021, But Does it Have a Dark Side?

After a year of not being able to talk to people in person, apps like Clubhouse seem refreshing. The Clubhouse audio chat app lets you connect with friends, family, and strangers to talk about anything you want.

When you join, you can set up a profile and join a chatroom. But before you join, you should know about the pros and cons of the Clubhouse audio-chat social network to decide if it’s for you.

Keep reading to learn more.

The Basics of Clubhouse

The Clubhouse audio chat app is one of the newest social media apps out there. It got its start in 2020 as a potential solution to not being able to interact with others during the pandemic.

When you join Clubhouse, you can browse the various rooms and join in on live conversations. It can feel like you’re at a party because you can move between conversations if you get bored from listening to one.

However, it only uses audio, so you can’t share pictures or videos with other users. That makes using Clubhouse feel like a phone call, but you can use it with more people.

You also don’t need to call people directly, so you can join conversations with strangers. It can be a fun way to interact with people, especially if you like talking and listening.

How It Became Popular

The Clubhouse audio-chat social network has gained a lot of popularity over the past year. Because people weren’t able to hang out with friends or family as they would, Clubhouse became an alternative.

Now, you can connect with friends, family, and strangers all over the world. You don’t have to rely on people using Facebook or Instagram, and you don’t have to give out your phone number to people.

However, the app also offers a sense of exclusivity because not just anyone can join. The app’s invite system means you have to know someone who uses the app. And that person has to choose to invite you.

You can get a similar rush as if you buy a luxury good because you have access to something that the general public doesn’t. Even as Clubhouse popularity grows, that sense of exclusivity probably won’t go away.

How It Works

Anyone can download the Clubhouse audio chat app, but you will need an invitation to create your account. You can use your invite text to sign up and create your account. If you don’t have an invite, you can still download the app and reserve a username for later.

Once you create your account, you can join the audio chatrooms and listen or contribute to a conversation. You can also host a conversation, and you can add other people to it.

Chatrooms can cover almost any topic that exists. You can talk about personal things with your friends, and you can use a closed room to keep it private.

But you can create an open room and talk about a more general subject. Perhaps you work in web design, so you create a room where you share your tips for setting up a website.

How to Join Clubhouse

If you know someone who uses Clubhouse, you can ask them for an invite. You can also share on another social network, like Facebook, that you want an invite.

Users can only invite a few people at the start, so you may need to search for a while to find someone to invite you.

Once you get an invite from an existing Clubhouse user, you can use the text to sign in. Then, you can select a username if you didn’t already reserve one.

You’ll need to download the Clubhouse app to your phone or tablet, and Google Chrome lets you download a browser app. That way, you can listen from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

Setting Up Your Profile

As with any social media or content creation platform, you can create your profile. Consider adding a few elements to your profile to help others get to know you and decide to follow you.

  • Photo
  • A short bio
  • Links to other social networks

If you want to use Clubhouse for business or your career, you should choose a professional photo. Then, come up with a short but interesting bio.

While Clubhouse doesn’t list a maximum length for your bio, someone previewing your profile can only see 125 characters. Use those first few lines of your bio to tell people who you are and what you do.

And if you want to connect with people outside of Clubhouse, you can share your links to other sites like Instagram and Twitter.

Joining a Conversation

After you set up your account and fill out your profile, you can start joining conversations. You can go to the app hallway, which is where you can look at the active chatrooms.

People can also schedule chatrooms, and you can follow those rooms as well as Clubhouse clubs. If you have any upcoming rooms, you will be able to view those in your hallway feed.

When you find an interesting chatroom, you can join it. Each chatroom can hold up to 5,000 people at a time, but there are some exceptions for super popular topics or celebrities.

How to Use Clubhouse

Because joining Clubhouse requires more work than other social networks, you should consider how you can use it. You can use Clubhouse for many different things, and you can take time to explore.

But you may not want to go through the trouble of getting an invite if you won’t use Clubhouse much. Before you join the Clubhouse audio chat app, consider a few options for how to use it.

Personal Chats

If you have friends or family members that use the app, you can chat with them. You can create closed rooms and invite your friends to the room to talk.

Then, you can catch up with people if you haven’t seen them in a while. You can also talk about personal issues, such as:

  • Financial troubles or questions
  • Drama at your workplace
  • Other personal problems or situations

One of the benefits of Clubhouse is that it doesn’t record your chats. If you want to talk things out but can’t get on the phone, Clubhouse might be the perfect solution.

You won’t have to worry about someone taking a screenshot of a text and sending it to someone else. And some topics or questions are easier to discuss with audio than text.

Business Use

If you want to use social media to focus on your career, you can still use Clubhouse. You can create or join rooms where the topic is your job or industry.

For example, if you work in information technology, you can talk about technology trends. If you know someone who’s an expert on a topic you want to cover, you can ask them to join your room and talk with you.

You can also join chatrooms to just listen. That can be an excellent way to learn more about your industry, and you can follow the people you listen to.

When you decide to start a chatroom, you can use these connections to get some traction. And you can use your chats to build a network that you can use on and off of Clubhouse.

Listen to Others

Whether you want to learn more about your industry or have fun and learn about a hobby, you can listen. You don’t have to create a chatroom or be the one to talk when using Clubhouse.

No matter what you listen to, you can feel less alone, especially if you’re working from home. Sometimes, hearing people can make you feel better, and you can learn something in the process.

If you don’t like listening to the radio and are up to date on your favorite podcasts, Clubhouse can be a great option. You may be able to find some unique conversations you won’t find elsewhere.

Make Money

As you build your audience on Clubhouse, you can start to receive money from your fans. Users can send money to you straight through the app, and Clubhouse doesn’t charge a processing fee.

However, someone who sends money to a creator through the app will have a small fee. Your followers can go to your profile to send you money, and you can send money to other creators.

Having that virtual tip jar can be an excellent way to monetize, even on a relatively new platform. Then, you can use the money to fund more chats on Clubhouse.

The Downsides of the Clubhouse Audio Chat App

While you can use Clubhouse in many ways, and it can be fun, it isn’t perfect. Before you take the time to get an invite and set up your account, you should know the downsides of using the Clubhouse audio-chat social network.

The following downsides may not turn you away from using the app. However, you need to know these things so that you can decide if Clubhouse is worth the cons.

Sharing Requirements

When you create a Clubhouse account, you will need to use a phone number to sign up. Not only that, but you will have to give the app access to your entire contact list.

This combination means that you can find any of your contacts on Clubhouse and vice versa. On the one hand, that can make it easy to find and follow your friends and relatives who use the app.

However, that can be a bad thing if your contact list includes current or former business contacts. If you want to keep your social media use private, Clubhouse isn’t for you.

It won’t matter if you choose a more private user name. People in your contacts can find you using your phone number, even if you don’t use your legal name in your profile.

Privacy Issues

The fact that Clubhouse requires your phone number and contacts can lead to privacy issues off the app as well. If your contacts include people who make you feel unsafe, that can be a problem.

Unless you make sure to only create or join closed rooms on Clubhouse, anyone in your contacts can stalk you on the app. And if you release personal information in a chat, someone you don’t like could write that information down.

Then, they could track you on other social media platforms or in real life. Physical and online security are essential, especially for vulnerable populations such as women, racial minorities, and others at risk of harassment or violence.

Hard to Delete

Perhaps you create a Clubhouse but realize someone in your contacts may be tracking you. Deleting your Clubhouse account is a good first step, right? An interesting use case just arose around the issue of deleting your account that you may want to pay attention to.

Read: Deleting your Clubhouse account is a NIGHTMARE for Sex Workers

You can try to delete your account, but Clubhouse requires users to send an email with the request. On platforms like Facebook, you can delete or deactivate your account from your profile.

However, you will have to wait for Clubhouse to respond to your request. In some cases, they won’t respond, or at least not for weeks or months.

If they do respond to your request, the instructions they give may not work. Clubhouse may ask you to connect an email address and follow steps in the Clubhouse app, which is frustrating.

Accessibility Issues

While not so much an issue of safety, another downside to consider is a lack of accessibility within the app. Clubhouse is audio-only, and it doesn’t currently offer closed captioning.

Of course, that makes the app unusable for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. But it can also affect hearing people who can’t or don’t want to listen and would prefer to read.

If you want to connect with other professionals or potential clients, accessibility is something to consider. That way, you can make sure your marketing efforts are successful.

Is Clubhouse for You?

Clubhouse can be an excellent place to connect with loved ones and your professional contacts. However, the invite system and the inability to easily delete your account make it a risky platform for some.

Before you join the app, consider your safety and if you need to be on there. Then, you can keep yourself safe when using the internet and in real life.

Do you want more advice for working online? Contact me to learn more.

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