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CLUBHOUSE: Why this new invite-only voice app has the world talking

About a month ago, I was invited to join a new social media app called Clubhouse.

As my little copywriting world was abuzz with this shiny new toy, I set up an account. I wandered around for a few hours, then promptly forgot about it. Two weeks later, a little tired and a little bored, I logged back in.

And I was hooked.

So, what is it about this voice only app that lures you in, entangles you in its web of
hallways and rooms, and makes you never want to leave?

Here’s what I’ve learned about Clubhouse in the last few weeks.

WTF is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app. And that’s literally the only thing you can do.

Talk.

No type to chat. No file sharing. No gifs, reels, stories or images other than your
profile pic.

It’s also strictly invite-only. (See? The FOMO kicks in early with this one!). You can’t
download the app, you have to be invited via text. Once you’re signed up, you set up
your account, write a bio and you’re off.

When setting up your profile, you select interests. This feeds into the algorithm and it starts suggesting rooms you might enjoy.

Available exclusively for Apple users (Android users will get their turn in mid-March), it allows people from all over the world to join ‘rooms’ and talk.

Talk about what? Well, just about anything.

Business. Marketing. Copywriting. Social media. Life. Family. Love. UFOs. Politics.
If you can think it, there’s bound to be a room full of people talking about it.

You can make solid business connections

As a freelance writer and copywriter, I’m all about the networking, all about the
hustle.

Writing jobs don’t just fall into my lap, despite daily offerings of coffee and
cheese to the Writing Goddess. Writers have to hustle for jobs.

On Clubhouse, I’ve found myself in ‘rooms’ with people I’d never have access to in
real life. Marketing and social media experts happy to help me with my business.
Other writers who can connect me to other writers, who can connect me to…so on
and so forth.

Just the other night, I found myself ‘on stage’ (that’s Clubhouse-speak for being given a mic) talking to a bunch of journos.

A few connected with me off the platform. And I mean real ‘here’s my phone number, let’s talk’ connections. Not ‘email my junk folder’ connections.

Early adopters (and it’s all date stamped)

With the most recent stats showing only 6 million registered users worldwide (it’s still in beta, after all), there’s a feeling of being in on the ground gloor of something really special.

After an initial flurry of activity and internet buzz, could this app fade away like so
many others?

It could.

But, with the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg already logging in, and with the internet positively buzzing as people scramble for invites, I don;t think Clubhouse is going anywhere soon.

How to win friends and influence people

For the first two weeks I was on Clubhouse, I didn’t go near it. I thought it would be
just another social media app I’d have to engage with. Another one to add to my list
of ‘business must-haves’.

Ugh.

I started out with a profile pic of Ab Fab’s Patsy Stone, that’s how much of a lark I
thought it was!

However, once I realised I could make genuine business and personal connections, I changed to my real pic, fixed up my bio and started taking it seriously.

I started following rooms, following people and just engaging with humans that, in
this pandemic-riddled world are searching for connection.

Speaking of the pandemic

As the world struggles to manage coronavirus, travel restrictions, lockdowns and
quarantine are commonplace. This means a lot of people are grappling with
a lack of human connection.

To connect on Clubhouse, all you need is your mobile phone. You can connect with
people from anywhere, at any time. No gadgets or fancy pants tech needed. Just you, your phone and the world.

And there’s nothing quite like chatting with like-minded people about your favourite
things. Be that business, binge-worthy TV shows, music, art or just chatting for
chatting’s sake.

Vegemite on Toast

You’d think that an app created in the US, chockers full of Americans that’s only
just made its way to the land Down Under, would be about unappealing. Right?

Yeah, well kinda.

And that’s where Vegemite on Toast comes in.

For a start, can we low key crush on that name? Any Aussie, in any place, at any
time will understand exactly who this Clubhouse club is for just from the name alone.

The brainchild of Australian tech founder Amanda Johnstone, it’s a club for Aussies and ex-pats. A place where we can connect and just be our awesome Aussie selves.

And even eat some vegemite on toast if the mood strikes!

I was lucky enough to chat with Amanda last night and asked her why she started
Vegemite on Toast.

“A few months ago, Paul Davison, a Clubhouse co-founder, stated that at any one time, there are thousands of rooms running on Clubhouse,” she said.

“I knew, as an early user of the app, it was almost a duty of sorts to create a private club for Australians and ex-pats only.”

At this point, it’s worth remembering there’s heaps of Aussies stranded overseas.
Unable, for a variety of reasons, to come back home.

I’ve spoken with some of them on Clubhouse and the relief they feel just talking to other Aussies is palpable.

But Amanda was already one step ahead of me and continued.

“I already had another Club and witnessed how powerful community and open
source knowledge and kindness is. I then created Vegemite on Toast – to serve
Australians through inspiration, conversation, information and collaboration”

There are currently about 3000 members in Vegemite on Toast with on average 50
rooms running each day.

As much as we love connecting with the world, there’s no denying a place of our own is a bit fabulous.

And if you’re already on the Clubhouse app, I’ll be co-moderating my very first
Vegemite on Toast room next week. I’m excited/terrified. But come find me, follow
me and jump in to hear me talk all things copywriting.

I’ve found my people on Clubhouse

Remember how I logged back into Clubhouse one night, a little tired and a little
bored? And I must admit, very sceptical. Well between you and I, my personal life is
in chaos and to be honest, I was just looking to escape for a while.

Somehow I managed to stumble into a room with just four or five people in it. They
were engrossed in a deep conversation, so I sat and listened.

I recognised one person who invited me to talk. I was reluctant due to current personal life worries but, with a little encouragement, I started to speak. For the next however long, all my pain, stress and worry came flooding out.

And to my great surprise, they listened.

They asked gentle questions, they gave equally gentle words of wisdom and gathered me into reassuring virtual embraces.

It was the start of something rather beautiful.

This small group of people has, over the last week or so, ebbed and flowed as the
days drift into nights across the globe. We meet, talk, not talk, laugh, cry and just be.

That’s them in the pic above. A few are missing but we’re never all in our little SoulShine room at the same time.

If you find yourself in Clubhouse, you’re most welcome to come and join us.
For all the business goings-on and networking. For all the marketing tips and tech
talk. For all the learnings and mentoring.

It’s really just about people wanting to connect and feel connected.

And that’s what entices you in, spins you around and makes you never want to
leave.