In a decade where content consumption is at an all-time high, it’s difficult to imagine how a new social platform could gain any traction. Enter Clubhouse – an audio-only social media platform that welcomes two-way engagement that is taking the event industry by storm. Why should event professionals care? As a profession tasked with being experts on the “next big thing”, knowing what’s next allows us to pivot, assess, create, and execute better, more engaging, and forward-thinking events for our customers. While hybrid looks to be next big step for the event industry, Clubhouse offers a brand-new way to network with peers and thought leaders.
What is Clubhouse? (Think social media and content consumption reimagined)
Clubhouse is a platform built on audio-only forums (think of an audio version of Reddit – lots of different communities to choose from, branching off into sub-communities and different threads of topics within). The platform launched in 2020 and is already said to be worth over $100M by the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Heavy hitters in the tech industry (Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg) have already joined free rooms on the platform. Anyone who was lucky enough to have already gotten an invite to the platform had the ability to join and listen to these experts who rarely speak freely to the media.
The social platform gained so much attention that tech giant Elon Musk agreed to join a Clubhouse room with rapper and fashion mogul Kanye West: “The most entertaining outcome is the most likely,” said Musk in a tweet on February 10th.
This new platform is a crowd-sourced model of content curation; a webinar that you don’t have to sign up for; a way to network with like-minded individuals in your field that is relaxed, inviting, and personable. The rooms are only recorded for legal purposes and then deleted after a short period of time, so ways to go back and listen to topics you might have missed are nearly nonexistent, making it that much more exclusive. If you aren’t on the platform, you’re already missing out.
Think of Clubhouse as a user-generated, two-way podcast and a way of humanizing social media. Gone is the text-based chat, and in its place we essentially have a group phone call with our peers and industry leaders.
Not to mention, it’s free, available only on Apple iOS devices, and is accessible by invite only, making it exclusive and all the more alluring to the consumer. In short, Clubhouse has driven FOMO to an all-new level in record time!
What is the Clubhouse User Experience Like?
Once an individual creates a virtual room, anyone can browse Clubhouse’s “hallway” and join the room. The host can pull listeners from the audience to join them “on stage”, and audience members can raise their hands to join on stage, open their mic, and contribute, or simply ask a question to the host and/or moderators before going back into the audience.
Clubhouse is a lot like being at a coffee shop but watching a live panel. You raise your hand and ask your question in your own voice. Another exemplary model of this was during the 2020 BizBash Event Style Awards powered by MeetingPlay on February 17th, attendees were able to type their questions in real-time as professionals took the virtual stage to discuss successful case studies. Other attendees voted on which questions they wanted to hear answers to most in the time frame given, and the moderator asked the questions for the participants. The similarities of the two are proof that 2-way conversations are needed in the event world and here to stay. People are ready to find content that is valuable and relevant to them – that’s where Clubhouse found their sweet spot.
Why is Clubhouse Important for Event Professionals?
If you could step into a private discussion with the thought leaders of the event industry, wouldn’t you want to do it? After the Future of the Event Industry: 2021 Outlook by EventMB, event professionals joined together on Clubhouse to discuss the day’s event to continue relevant discussions and start new ones. The #FEI21 after party was so successful, it moved into an after-after party hosted on a moderator’s channel. Another example of this was channel-based messaging platform Slack hosted an event discussion on Clubhouse after Convening Leaders 2021.
The ability to host a “room” after a webinar or other major event opens the floor to your attendees. In real-time you can ask the question “what do you think was a hit and what was a miss today?” to attain key insights and feedback. Right away you will have an idea of how to design your next event with pros and cons directly in your attendees’ voice.
This model of social media means rooms are only as good as the people in them – much like in-person events. Rooms that are not moderated and hosted properly can fall into a rabbit hole of inappropriate topics and unwanted opinions. This has been an issue on Clubhouse while more and more people are gaining access to the invite only platform.
What makes Clubhouse particularly exciting for some event professionals is that you don’t have to have the loudest voice in order to be heard, to make connections, find individuals who discuss topics you’re interested in, and learn more. When you follow an individual on the app, you’ll be notified every time they start a new room, as well as see a “schedule” in the app of all the upcoming rooms scheduled by who you’re following.
Like virtual events, Clubhouse is very appealing to those with social anxiety, and brings
the feeling of anonymity that makes joining conversations desirable. You can be as present and active in the discussion as you want. If you join a room and you do not enjoy the topic, you can “leave quietly” and no one’s the wiser. You can sit in the audience without filling in your email or phone number. You don’t have to worry about possibly getting emails you don’t care about after attending an informative webinar. In the search bar, you can look for “event tech”, “event planning”, “#eventtech”, or “Joe Schwinger” and find individuals and rooms that match your criteria. Perhaps best of all, you can participate in topics and conversations you are most interested in, anytime, with people from across the globe. Similar to virtual event platforms, Clubhouse is breaking down barriers to allow people to make meaningful connections.
What Are the Next Steps with Clubhouse for Event Professionals?
Event planners can design events on Clubhouse in order to give more attendees a voice. In fact, it’s already happening. Women Empower X hosted a virtual conference solely on Clubhouse in February. They posted the schedule on their website beforehand and scheduled the event to host different panels in their “room” every 2 hours. They invited different speakers, held a welcome keynote, and hosted Q&A’s using the “raise hand” feature. You can find out more about this event here.
Clubhouse is a new way to participate on social media. While we cannot be sure of its longevity once pandemic restrictions lift, professionals go back to the office, and in-person events begin again, what we see right now is an exciting turn towards giving a voice to social media and events – your own.
How Can Event Professionals Access Clubhouse?
To access Clubhouse, download the Clubhouse app from the Apple Store, fill out the preliminary questions, then join the waitlist. Unfortunately, this is one of the only ways to officially access the app.
If you’re lucky enough to receive an invite to the app, give it a try! Experience firsthand what everyone else is talking about.
We’re curious how you feel about Clubhouse and its model of peer-to-peer audio-only discussion. What topics and hashtags do you look for when you open the app? Let us know in the comments or engage with us on social: @meetingplay on Twitter, @meeting_play on IG, and find us on LinkedIn and Facebook, as well.