In April of 2020, Clubhouse, an iPhone app created by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, was launched. Clubhouse is an invitation-only app where people may host meetings, join and listen to conversations.
In the CNBC article, “Silicon Valley is going crazy for Clubhouse, a social media app with 1,500 users that’s already worth $100 million,” Ari Levy and Salvador Rodriguez described the Clubhouse user experience.
“Upon launching the app, they see a few virtual rooms with the names of the people in them,” Levy and Rodriguez wrote. “Sometimes there are two participants, occasionally there are 100.”
Levy and Rodriguez suggested that a limited number of people are able to access certain chats within the application. The writers recounted a Clubhouse discussion on COVID-19 affecting the prison population.
“Speakers included MC Hammer, political commentator Van Jones, writer and activist Shaka Senghor and venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz,” Levy and Rodriguez wrote. “Only about 1,500 people, mostly with ties to prominent tech investors, had access to the chat.”
The application has educational benefits and also offers its users networking opportunities by meeting with others in their area of interest. However, the exclusivity of the application limits the number of people who have access to such benefits. As Levy and Rodriguez describe, only those with preexisting connections to higher-ups, for example, “tech investors,” are able to access certain chats.
In Business Insider, Ryan Ariano created a greater picture of the Clubhouse atmosphere in his article, “What is Clubhouse? Everything to know about the booming invite-only voice chatting app.”
“Clubhouse rooms have a TED Talk vibe, with one guest speaking and everyone else listening,” Ariano wrote. “Other users can join the conversation when deemed appropriate by a moderator, but depending on the chat, this can be rare.”
Jelani Pusey, a junior double-majoring in human development and graphic design, wrote in an email that he had mixed opinions on the application. Pusey mentioned that Clubhouse gave him the opportunity to connect with other Black professionals.
“I have both negative and positive opinions on Clubhouse,” Pusey wrote. “I utilized Clubhouse as sort of an informal LinkedIn where I was able to meet with other Black professionals in similar positions to the ones I aspire to be in.”
Pusey received mentorship from some individuals through Clubhouse. He expressed that he continued to converse with members outside of the application.
“I am currently in a group chat with people I met from Clubhouse where I speak to my peers about school, applications, etc. and it’s really cool,” Pusey wrote.
Pusey referred to potential flaws within the Clubhouse platform. He said that Clubhouse allows certain users to be falsely credited as experts and spread misinformation.
“Oftentimes hosts give credibility to people masquerading as experts to speak as such,” Pusey wrote. “This causes a lot of misinformation to be spread and interpreted as facts.”
Pusey listed negative aspects of the application. He explained that the application users have limited access to content and such content was given a short life span.
“I also don’t like the fact that Clubhouse is an invite-only application that’s only available to iOS users, with no video, subtitles or way to save content to extend its lifespan,” Pusey wrote.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, co-host of Squawk Box, spoke of his experience with Clubhouse in an interview with Clubhouse CEO Paul Davidson.
“Right now, it does feel frankly like a private club, and for those of you, for those folks in it, that actually feels kind of cool,” Sorkin said.
In the interview, Davidson expressed that he aims to make the application open to all. As of now, Clubhouse limits its invitations by providing each user with two invites to send others, and the app may be viewed as elitist. If the application opened to the public it may offer education in a new and more instant atmosphere — a TED talk in real time.