Clubhouse first impressions

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Clubhouse is a new social network that seems to be gaining traction. I just got an invite a couple of days ago from Francine Hardaway. I had been aware of it before, but wasn’t very interested, but I should have been.

These are just some first-day newbie impressions.

I’m @davew on Clubhouse.

First, what it is.

  • It’s audio only. No text, no images, no video.
  • There are users. You can follow them, they can follow you. As far as I can tell it’s very close to Twitter’s model.
  • Any user can start a room. Other people can join the room. There’s a stage. At least one person is on stage, the person who started the room by default is that person. Other people can be added by the founder, by dragging their icon onto the stage.
  • People on stage can speak without permission. People in the audience can raise their hand, and must be granted permission to speak. I imagine that if someone becomes abusive, or veers off-topic, they can be silenced by the moderator.
  • When you’re a newbie you have a special icon so people can see that you’re new. It’s a little emoji party hat. I’ve been told people are nice to newbies, that’s part of the developing culture.
  • The rooms have a Leave Quietly button at the bottom. I like that. It suggests you don’t have to give a big speech before you leave.

What it’s good at.

  • It may evolve into a celebrity performance platform as Instagram has.
  • It’s a kind of podcast. I like it. I hope they support open feed formats, but I suspect this is a silo, not a publishing platform. Something to beware of.
  • I was also bummed to realize I couldn’t incorporate this into my apps. Again, VC-backed means this probably won’t change.
  • I tuned into a chat about cancel culture at first. Does it exist or doesn’t it. Heh. As a meta-thing, it clearly does exist. You’re talking about it right now. I didn’t say this of course, though I was tempted to. I was pretty sure if I did I would get grief.
  • I saw a comment by longtime friend Michael Gartenberg. He has a good speaking voice. I love radio btw. It’s my second favorite medium. I wanted to chime in, to expand on what he said, but I also saw he wasn’t the founder of the channel, so I opted not to. He was talking about how these platforms might involve if rich individuals started them as pet projects. Thinking of Benioff and Time, or Omidyar and the Intercept, Bezos and the Washington Post. Also the cautionary tale of Thiel and Gawker. He basically bought Gawker with a lawsuit, then destroyed it. I wanted to add it could be even worse, there are a fair number of super-rich individuals who could buy Twitter. Its stock is cheap. How that would rock our world.
  • I had a one-to-one chat with Gartenberg, and it quickly started to feel private, even though it was public. It was liking riding in a chair lift with a friend while skiing.
  • I could see it being used for running commentary on a sports event. Hosting a roundtable discussion about a popular TV show, as they do on Salon and Slate. Anywhere a podcast might include more than one person. Election returns on November 3.
  • Also why not use it in place of Zoom. I don’t need to see your face while you talk. 🙂
  • I noted that Tiffany Haddish is already there. I followed her. There’s a schedule of upcoming events. Think of it as a radio station or a venue like an arena or stadium. I’m sure that’s what their business plan calls for. And also probably proprietary rights for all of it, i.e. no competition allowed unless you have good lawyers.
  • Back in the 90s my friend Sylvia had a series of Cybersalons, open discussions for random Silicon Valley people. It was funny how every discussion very quickly became How Do Artists Get Paid? It was the only issue that ever got discussed. At BloggerCon, a few years later, the question was How Do Bloggers Make Money? I’m guessing something similar will happen here. But what will the subject be. It’ll have something to do with people getting paid, probably.


  • I started a thread where you can correct any mistakes I’ve made, or important insights you’d like to share.

Screen shots

  • Event calendar.
  • A room I can join.
  • Inside a big room.

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