Launched in April 2020, this drop-in, invite-only audio chat app Clubhouse is now sweeping over Malaysians’ social media timelines and stories, thanks to Elon Musk joining in recently for the most part.
It ranks 6th on AppStore now, just right behind WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger and other big names, with over 2 million users already. The app is only available for iOS users.
Though the app is only in its beta version, it’s already received a valuation of US$1 billion (around RM4 billion), with more than 180 investors involved.
If you haven’t been invited to join Clubhouse or you use Android, here’s a walkthrough of the app from my experience and what users have said about it so far.
What The App Offers
There are a few barriers to entry for this app because if you want to join, you need to find someone who is both an iOS user and has invites left to give to you.
Each person only gets two invites when they join Clubhouse, so if you want to request an invite for yourself, you probably should ask a close friend who’s willing to give it away.
That being said, you can earn more invites from Clubhouse if you’re active on their platform like listening in rooms, hosting a room, speaking, etc.
Fortunately, our team’s tech lead had invites left on his account, which was how I got to access the app.
Now, the app’s UI is quite simple, you can find conversations that intrigue you and join rooms of interest.
After joining a room, you can add your friends in as well or raise your hands if you want to engage in the conversation. If a room has yet to start, you can also add the event to your Apple or Google calendar.
If you want to start a room, you can create a topic, choose your privacy setting, and add friends. As a host, you control who gets to speak in the room and raise their hand if listeners want to speak.
Though sightly lacking in numbers, I did run into a few Malaysian event rooms like the Bitcoin Satay Club, KL Old Town, and one that I attended for a short while, MCO 2.0 – Proven Ideas For Growing Business that had speakers like Wai Hong from StoreHub and Jes Min of Recommend Group.
For one room, the max number of participants is only up to 5,000.
Thoughts On It From 248k Users
So far, the app has a 4.9-star rating from 248k users, signalling quite a positive experience for many.
These positive reviews state how it feels like a safe space especially for introverts, how it’s like a radio but better, and seeing the value in having verbal conversations over texting.
While many may have felt that it was a safe space for them, there were a lot of reviews on privacy concerns as well, mainly about users feeling uncomfortable over how anyone with their number can find them on the app, and being unable to hide which rooms they’re joining.
Some suggestions that users have for this app is to have a notes section where they can take down notes in a talk, setting a timer to see how long a room has been active, including queues for those who raised their hand, adding a messaging feature, etc.
According to reviews, their customer service is also lacking as they’re slow to reply for problem-solving, and users who found Clubhouse invasive also pointed out the difficulties in deactivating and deleting one’s account.
As For My Thoughts?
Honestly, I’m quite neutral about the app. From what I’ve learnt using the app, I think their social networking concept is cool, but calling it unique would be quite a stretch.
If you’re someone who regularly hosts online networking events or panels, this would be more valuable to you.
For listeners like me, its value stems from the fact that you can follow people of interest in order to keep up with rooms they’re hosting, particularly if you’re passionate over and excited by whatever they have to share.
As I’m not the type to just engage in a verbal conversation with strangers even though we may be like-minded people, I’d prefer jumping into a Twitter or Reddit thread instead.
Something to note is that this app isn’t friendly towards those with hearing impairments who rely on closed captions for online talks. With all kinds of individuals excited to join in, it only feels right that the app can address these issues and promote inclusivity.
So, is this app worth a download? Yes, especially if you’re someone who’s keen on meeting like-minded Internet friends to have verbal conversations with. And of course, if you have someone to invite you first.