It’s not easy for a social media platform to make its way to the top now.
The social media scene is saturated and there’s almost no more space or time to add another app to our daily routine of social media surfing on our phones.
Yet, that is exactly what Clubhouse managed to do in February 2021 when it shook up the world. There were 10.6 million installs that month with 2.9 million the following month according to Apptica.com.
It’s an app that centers around live audio chat rooms where anyone can host a room to discuss a certain topic with no recording or private chats allowed.
Fast forward five month, that number is now at 2 million and falling.
Why is that? What was the cause of its rise in the first place? Let’s take a look.
Paul Davison and Rohan Seth founded the app in fall 2019. Back then, it was called “Talkshow” and was designed for a podcast format only. It became “Clubhouse” when they rebranded and launched it again in the iOS operating system in March 2020.
There are several reasons why it rose so quickly and here are what we believe they are:
The app works on an invite basis only. Meaning you can’t actually use the app unless you received an invitation from someone on the app. This was appealing in many different ways. First, it means you choose with more scrutiny who you want to join you on the platform. People probably chose those who are similar to them. This meant your friends could invite you because they like your way of thinking or you know they like yours. A major factor to this element was that they only released it on iOS systems at first. Again this increased the element of exclusivity.People enjoy exclusivity. If someone says there’s a VIP club somewhere, everyone wants in.
At the time of its release, there weren’t any other platforms that provided what Clubhouse did. Just good old fashioned live conversation about topics you want to hear about. It provides the host with a lot of control on the room and that keeps the conversation from going haywire. It was simply the most convenient method of having live online conversations with a lot of people that didn’t require a camera and didn’t crash.
Its peak was during the lockdown portion of the pandemic. That means socialising and common interaction was down to nothing. People missed hearing lots of voices and having serious conversations. Clubhouse was the perfect medium to provide much needed social interaction for individuals locked in their homes and deprived of social engagement.
HIGH PROFILE ACCESS
Undoubtedly one of the strongest contributing factors to its powerful rise was the endorsement and involvement of high profile celebrities such as Oprah and key industry figures such as Elon Musk. These are but a few names to mention amongst a host of names. In every country where Clubhouse was available, its audience was treated to live interaction with the celebrities they follow and want to hear. This is unique in the world of social media and nothing had come even close to creating that kind of experience.
Undoubtedly, it’s still present on the social media scene, but nowhere near as apparent as it was when it started, that can happen to any brand or company. The question is why did it happen so quickly, let’s find out.
The most appealing aspect of Clubhouse was the instant connection with a lot of people in a live room. This was desperately needed during the pandemic, and so obviously when the lockdown measures were lifted, people went back to socialising normally, that’s better than any app.
Almost every major social media application launched its own version of Clubhouse’s technology.
Telegram’s Voice Chats, Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms, Reddit’s Talk, Twitter’s Spaces and even Spotify’s Greenroom are now strong competitors. People never stopped using those apps, so when they find the same technology on these prevalent apps they use in their normal routine, it’s easier to ignore Clubhouse since it only offers audio chats.
The problem with their invite-only system was, eventually everyone was going to get one. That decreased the appeal of exclusivity. Then Clubhouse launched the Android version of their software and that almost completely nullified its appeal as this cool app that some of us have access to and can hear celebrities talking live on.
In the end, Clubhouse is still here. It had a couple of ups and downs in terms of downloads or installs, but it’s surviving for now.
In any case, it will always act as a reminder of how desperately people missed interacting with one another during the pandemic. How we long for human connection and that we will run to anyone who offers it, but that we also want what we can’t have, more than what we can.Whoever comes next to try and be successful in this cut throat business, will undoubtedly look at Clubhouse’s example and be wary.