Chicago — Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, has risen in popularity within the last few months and some young people are using the app to further their career aspirations and networking.
The app, created last year, built its reputation on exclusivity where users must get an invite to join, and is only available for iPhone users. The app lets users jump in and out of different live conversations where each chat room has moderators, speakers and listeners.
Michelle Chan, a senior at Boston University, wanted to join Clubhouse in early January but struggled to find an invite until a friend offered one. Chan said the app seems to be catered to millennials and older members of Generation Z.
“I personally really enjoy it,” she said. “It’s a really unique platform because it essentially breaks down the barrier of that virtual setting where you can have honest conversations with people you've never met.”
Unlike a lot of other social media apps, Chan uses Clubhouse for topics she’s interested in such as career advice. Other apps like TikTok or Twitter are used for entertainment and Clubhouse serves a different purpose, she said.
“I think it is great for networking and great for career aspirations like getting to know industry leaders and just more experience and feedback about the career you’re interested in,” Chan said. “In terms of like the entertainment aspect that TikTok provides, I don't think it has that potential just because the platform really encourages deep conversations and communications with others, rather than just to be entertained.”
Erifili Gounari, creator of the Gen Z club on Clubhouse, has been on the app since November. She started the club in January and it already has over 6,000 followers.
“I decided to start a Gen Z club on Clubhouse just on a whim because I realized there weren’t any main Gen Z clubs but a big part of our generation that was using Clubhouse used it to network and chat,” Gounari said.
The Gen Z club hosts weekly chats to discuss business, trends, social media, education and more.
Gounari said that audio is a powerful medium as a means for people to connect around the world, especially with the pandemic.
“I think our generation enjoys the instant immediate nature of it all because we're very used to instant gratification and have sort of grown to expect that from social media and communities and everything and Clubhouse delivers that,” Gounari said.
But, some users of the app are skeptical of its rise in popularity and claim it won’t last.
Kyle Johnson, a junior at Northern Illinois University, said that while it’s a versatile app, it doesn’t seem like anything more than just meetings or conference calls.
“The app isn’t very entertaining for me,” he said. “The only room or club that I joined and really entertained was a comedy room where a comedian was telling jokes.”
Johnson said the app’s audio feature is similar to Discord, an instant messaging platform originally used mostly by gamers. Discord has voice channels that users can join but there are no set topics and are only activated when users join the channel.
“I feel like the app isn’t diverse enough yet because you have to be invited,” he said. “It could grow more in the future but it doesn’t seem like it will.”