Much like a 90's one hit wonder, Clubhouse came, took everything by storm, got us all excited, and vanished into thin air.
Remember when you couldn’t turn a corner without hearing about Clubhouse? That was a bit over a year ago, which might seem like a lot in social media standards but in fact, it's more or less the shelf life of the flour you have in your kitchen cabinet.
So, why were we so excited about Clubhouse and how come we rarely speak about it anymore?
I’ll start with the obvious: we loved its exclusivity. The fact that an invitation was needed was enough to get our imagination flowing. What is there on the other side? What discussions am I missing out on? Who am I not connecting with?
FOMO in its purest form.
It also gave us the opportunity to have an open dialogue with new like-minded people about topics we're interested in. It seemed like any niche, any idea had a room in Clubhouse. Again, so exciting!
As with many things in life, timing was everything.
Clubhouse came at a time when we were in between lockdowns and didn’t have that many options to meet new people.
And sure, there were more online events than ever but those are:
you can barely keep track of the chat conversations
the sessions are usually held by one person presenting something
the occasional panels with 2 - 3 people talking
That keeps people at a distance.
You’re not able to get involved unless you write a message on some chat room that nobody reads because everybody’s busy doing one of 3 things:
Praising the discussion
Complaining about something
Many thought Clubhouse revolutionized social networks with their live conversations and the competition was quick to roll out their version of this feature. We saw Spaces by Twitter pop out of nowhere, Facebook made an audio chat feature of their own, and Spotify introduced the Greenroom.
Clubhouse fought back though
They lifted the invite-only restriction and rolled out an Android app (better late than never). Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to compete with Twitter’s reach. As business leaders, celebrities, and podcast creators found it easier to grow their following on Spaces, many abandoned Clubhouse.
So, did everybody rush to Spaces when it came out or were there other factors that made people lose interest in Clubhouse?
Indubitably Spaces had something to do with it. For the millions of Twitter users, it’s way easier to try out Spaces, rather than download a new platform, get familiar with it, get frustrated with its limitations (like we do with all apps) and end up accepting them.
So... to sum it up...
We’re mostly over Clubhouse because the excitement has worn off, it has annoying technical limitations but also because it’s all fun and games for high profile content creators but not sticky enough for the rest of us.
If you’re just browsing in between chores or meetings, Clubhouse isn’t engaging enough and it requires a lot of work (considering how many apps are competing for our attention and offer both entertaining, and interesting content without requiring any effort on our behalf).
So… was Clubhouse a shooting star or does it still have a future?
I'd say it'll be difficult to turn things around...
But that’s just me… thinking out loud.