Living with Technology: Who wants to join the club?
So, the wheels of the next great social media fad have turned away from TikTok and in recent times, landed squarely on Clubhouse. If you are among those who have heard of it, you know that this particular social media derivation comes with several twists. Clubhouse is currently an invitation-only app that allows you to voice chat
and/or listen in on live conversations.
On face value, tapping into our urges to chat and get in on the latest gossip might seem like that only thing Clubhouse going for it. However, the fact that it is backed by celebrities and various industry leaders means that, users are climbing over themselves to get in on the conversations. It was already valued at 100M with only 1500 users in mid-2020. The valuation was not based on numbers but on the potential and this potential started to skyrocket, when prominent tech entrepreneur and now the richest person in the world, Elon Musk endorsed the product by using it.
As thousands of users started to sign up to listen in on Elon’s conversation among others, Clubhouse registered as a unicorn startup like Uber, SpaceX or Airbnb. A unicorn startup is one of its kind, often creating the market that it dominates to reach a valuation of $1 billion. Clubhouse currently has over 2 million users and still maintaining its exclusivity which has created a black market for Clubhouse invitations where some have sold for upwards of $2000 USD. A lot of this demand came from Chinese users who are under strict state bans on most social media and found an outlet in Clubhouse to discuss censured topics.
The technology behind social media often imitates our human nature and tendencies. The social scenario this app creates is nothing different from the closed “Water Cooler” talk of the 90s when office cliques would gather to gossip. Another example is in the classic “Friends” episode where Rachel was frozen out from the undercurrents of office politics because she did not smoke. In both scenarios, the “live audio” conversations meant that the information was irretrievable and grew in value. The world has evolved from smoke rooms and water coolers, but the basic social dynamics are still in play.
Clubhouses’ combination of live audio only (no recording allowed) format, exclusivity and celebrity has proved to be potent thus far but there is yet more of this story to unfold in 2021.
Are you ready to join Clubhouse?
Nipuna is the owner of Fonseka Innovations, an industry leading tech business based in Brisbane. He is out helping businesses and entrepreneurs achieve their innovative ideas on a daily basis.