Clubhouse: What it is and how to avoid my mistakes

Warning: Longer post than I anticipated. Here are the sections:

  • Clubhouse Fast Facts
  • What I Love/Hate
  • Tips from Smart People
    • Getting Started
    • Creating a Room
  • Don’t Make My Mistakes

By now you may have heard the buzz around the newest social media phenomenon: Clubhouse. It’s totally different than all the other social media platforms you’ve seen.

The Clubhouse app calls itself “drop-in audio chat.” I think of it as a call-in radio channel that never ends. Here’s how others describe it:

Clubhouse Fast Facts

Google “What is Clubhouse?” and you’ll get tons of how-tos. I’m going to give you some fast facts to get you started.

  • Right now it’s invite-only and iPhone-only.
  • You can enter your choice of “rooms” to listen to people hosting discussions.
  • Rooms generally have three tiers of participants: people who are talking (on stage), people who are followed by the people who are talking and people who are not followed by the people who are talking.
  • The rooms available to you are dependent on the people you follow and the “clubs” you are in. These are some of the ones available to me right now:
    • What makes for a great Clubhouse speaker
    • Using Live Video for Bloggers
    • 💥 The Power Hour 💥 Get Bold. 💪🏼 Make Influential Connections 💰 💰
    • Women Empower X–WEX Virtual: Clubhouse Edition 👋
    • Reppin’ Yourself Right on LinkedIn
    • How To Improve Your Public Speaking Skills 🔥🔥🔥
  • It’s all audio. If you’re not on stage, you can’t talk or react. If you are on stage, you stay muted while someone else is talking. And when you hear something you like, you toggle your mute button on and off quickly for “applause.”
  • There are lots of little rules and unwritten etiquette norms that you won’t understand at first. If you’re invited by someone, they’re supposed to onboard you to give you the insight. I was onboarded AWESOMELY by my speaking colleague and fellow nerd Crystal Washington (see her tips below).

What I Love and What I Hate

  • LOVE: Black creators exploded the app early on, so it’s one of the most diverse social media platforms you’ll ever see. I love this! These are voices that I don’t get to hear in many of my regular circles.
  • HATE: I’m so used to being able to type comments and give feedback on social platforms. It’s frustrating to listen to experts and want to send them thumbs up or add a comment.
  • LOVE: People are sharing some amazing tips in this community — all for free. It’s also a great way to find more people and expand your network.
  • HATE: People are sharing some crappy, long-winded and self-promoting tips in this community. But you’re free to leave a room and move on.
  • LOVE: It’s audio only, so you can just listen and go about your day. And you don’t have to snap selfies, put on makeup for Zoom or even get out of your pjs.
  • HATE: Some of these rooms never end! It’s easy to find a room that goes for four hours or more. When Crystal onboarded me, she asked if I had 15 minutes. She started us out in a private room with the overview before she opened the room so I could see how it worked with other attendees. We had so many people popping in that my 15-minute onboarding lasted an hour and a half.

What My Smart Colleagues Say

A number of my speaking colleagues are rocking Clubhouse, and I asked two who have been incredibly successful (thousands of followers already) to share tips.

Rob Ferre’s Tips for Getting Started

Check out Rob Ferre’s Site
  1. Immediately complete your profile. Have a photo — a professional headshot will help you been seen better. 
  2. Connect your social media to your bio. Twitter and Instagram so you can start connecting off the platform. 
  3. Complete your bio. If you are stuck, just copy and paste from your LinkedIn or website. Just have something in your bio. 
  4. Don’t just start following everyone. Who you follow is how you curate your Clubhouse experience. But to find people to follow. Start following the people that your trusted friends follow. 
  5. When starting your first room be intentional. Schedule it with a compelling topic and have a co-host and add other panelists   So you don’t have to start the room alone. 
  6. You can add discussion rooms to your calendar so you can start scheduling intentional time on the app. 

Crystal Washington’s Tips for Creating a Room

Check out Crystal Washington’s Site
  1. Always have co-moderators who are just as if not more knowledgeable than you on the topic of discussion.
  2. Have a back channel (text, messenger) for moderators to communicate outside of the room.
  3. Put a stop time in the event name.
  4. Don’t be afraid to mute or cut off disruptive or rude participants.
  5. Reset the room (restate the purpose) often for people just joining.

Don’t Make My Mistakes

  • I shouldn’t have changed my name
    Clubhouse makes you use your real name, but you can change it ONCE. I changed mine to Your Nerdy BFF. Because of the way they cut off names, I’m now “Your Ne…” on the screen. D’oh!
  • I have to be better at invitations
    As I said before, when you invite someone, you’re supposed to show them the ropes. I invited three speaking colleagues who wanted invites. I haven’t made much (any) effort to help them. I suck.
  • I really have to be better at invitations
    You can invite people who are in your contact list. BIG NOTE: You have to have their cell number to do so! I didn’t have the cell numbers of my colleagues, so I searched around and found the numbers on their sites. Nope! I can’t go back and add their cells. I can’t take back the invites. I had to put them into my contacts under their first names only with the cell numbers (which I had to go ask for). So now they have the right invitations, but they haven’t joined and I haven’t helped them.
  • I need to be a better participant
    When you’re in the audience, some rooms let you raise your hand to request an invitation to the stage. Yesterday I did this in a room with a panel because 1.) being on the stage is a great way to get people to follow you and 2.) I wanted to add a tip.

    Turns out the moderator wasn’t looking for tips! She was specifically asking each guest on the stage, “How can our panel help you today?” While I was waiting for my turn, I was desperately searching my brain for something I could ask. Nothin. When she called on me, she politely listened to my tip then said thank you and quickly removed me from the stage. Oops.

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