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What is Clubhouse? Everything to know about the booming invite-only voice chatting app

What is Clubhouse? Everything to know about the booming invite-only voice chatting app
What is Clubhouse? Everything to know about the booming invite-only voice chatting app
Clubhouse is an exclusive iPhone app that allows people to host and join audio conversations with other users.
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  • Clubhouse is an iPhone app that allows people to host and join audio conversations with other users.
  • Clubhouse is currently invite-only, but CEO Paul Davison says the app will eventually open up for anyone to join.
  • Despite its exclusivity, the app already has millions of users, many of them major players in Silicon Valley and the entertainment industry.
  • Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Founded in 2020, Clubhouse has quickly built a reputation as the next great place for people to meet, talk, and share ideas.

In short, Clubhouse lets you create and join "rooms," where you can then chat with others in a big conference call. There are no pictures, videos, or really even text - just audio. Users can join and leave the call at any time, turning any room into a public meeting hall.

Here's everything to know about Clubhouse, the app that's quickly taking social media circles by storm.

What to know about the Clubhouse app

How to join

The first thing to know about Clubhouse is how to join. And unfortunately, the answer to that question is "You probably can't."

Clubhouse is invite-only, meaning that anyone who wants to join has to be brought in by someone who already has an account. You can still download the app and put your name on a waiting list, but there's no guarantee that you'll ever get an account that way.

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If you download the app without an invite, you'll see this screen. Clubhouse

Additonally, Clubhouse is currently only available for iPhone users.

Clubhouse's CEO Paul Davidson has said that the app will eventually open up to everyone, including Android users. But they're starting slow - anyone who manages to receive an invite is only be given two invites of their own, which they can then gift to others.

How Clubhouse works

Clubhouse creates a place where people can meet up to host, listen to, and in some cases, join conversations within the app's community.

When you open the app, you'll be presented with a list of rooms, as well as a list showing who's in each room. You can join the room by tapping on it, or start your room.

So far, most Clubhouse rooms have a TED Talk vibe, with one guest speaking and everyone else listening. Other users can join the conversation when deemed appropriate by a moderator, but depending on the chat, this can be rare.

There are always dozens of conversations happening at the same time, allowing users to jump between subjects and speakers based on their interest.

clubhouse app
The Clubhouse app functions kind of like an audio-only Zoom room. Sriram Krishnan; Ben Parr

Clubhouse rooms are hosted by experts, luminaries, celebrities, venture capitalists, journalists, and more. During his foray into Clubhouse, Insider contributor Adam Lashinsky described jumping from a conversation about the GameStop short sale, to marketing specialist Guy Kawasaki discussing the art of persuasion, to actress Ricki Lake promoting her documentary.

Tech moguls Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have both spoken on Clubhouse calls in the past few weeks, which has only intensified the buzz around it. Insider reporter Margaux MacColl even noted that Elon Musk's appearance sparked a "black market" for Clubhouse invites, as aspiring users grow desperate to join the exclusive community.

What comes next for Clubhouse

Clubhouse built its reputation with conversations hosted by big names like Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk. The app is already considered a staple among Silicon Valley and entertainment personalities. It's even earned a valuation of over $1 billion, despite being founded less than a year ago.

Clubhouse has plans to expand futher, and eventually take their place among other major social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. But to do this, they're also going to have to face some of the controversies surrounding the platform.

Some journalists on Clubhouse - especially women - have talked about being targets of bullying and harassment from others on the platform. Others have witnessed rooms descend into anti-semitism, racism, and COVID-19 denialism.

Clubhouse has already hired moderators, and CEO Davidson has said that "Any social network needs to make moderation a top priority." However, he's also stressed that he wants the platform to center free speech and dialogue.

clubhouse rohan seth paul davison
Clubhouse co-founders Rohan Seth and Paul Davison. Rohan Seth/Twitter; LeWeb/YouTube

While Clubhouse has already built a strong reputation, it's eyeing the future. There are plans to allow users to make money through the app from subscriptions, holding events, and receiving tips. And as more people are invited, buzz is sure to grow.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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