“Wait, should I be on Clubhouse?”
I’ve been answering that question a lot since I joined a couple of weeks ago, because I keep talking about it.
It’s not a straight answer, but I’ll get to it.
For one, it’s not the best thing that ever happened to my marriage. My husband hates when I’m on it. The first week, I had my airpods in my ears around the clock. When my husband tried to have a conversation, I pointed to my ears and said or mouthed, “I’m on Clubhouse.” He knew when I was on stage speaking, because, he said, my voice and laugh became otherworldly. “You were talking so loudI And braying! What was that braying?”
Also, not great for my ego. I was mean-girled off a stage for failing to answer a question in 30 seconds. I missed those instructions. Someone had brought me up on stage without me raising my hand, and so I thought they wanted me to say something about myself. I was wrong.
Mean mods aside, for the first week or so, I was feeling a constant tension of wanting to be called on (brought up to the stage), and then not knowing how to gracefully jump in and talk. I felt ashamed if I was quiet, and also if I accidentally talked over someone.
There’s a lot of “Oh! Sorry. Go ahead. No you. Oh, OK. What I was gonna say — oh, ok, go ahead.”
Feeling like I was failing at Clubhouse brought on a lingering malaise, which could easily spoil a day. (The antidote to this was to start my own rooms. Sense of self: reedemed!)
But feeling like I might miss an opportunity to get picked for the stage and say something brilliant caused a constant FOMO that made the app extra addictive. The barrage of notifications of rooms I should be in was constant and irresistible.
The geniuses who designed the app to be addictive did their job. You can pause notifications, but you have to choose between an hour, till morning, or for the week. 24 hours, 48 hours—not options.
In sum, the “cons” of Clubhouse:
- It’s insidiously FOMO-based, not just to get you to join it (it’s invite only), but also to keep you on it. All. Day.
- It’s only available (as of January, 2021) on iPhone or iPad.
- It’s not accessible for deaf or hard-of-hearing users. Haven’t found any answers on whether they’re working on a solution.
- There’s a weird culture to Clubhouse. It’s easy to make faux pas when you’re new.
- It’s ruinously addictive. My top priority is working on my book (Tough Titties, for release summer 2022 from Hachette, thank you for asking) but Clubhouse became my #1 to-do, all day, every day for a good week there.
- There’s a stink of desperation in some rooms, where everyone wants their chance at the mic. Even though it’s audio-only, you can smell it.
So why be on Clubhouse? What are the benefits of Clubhouse?
If it’s so evil, why am I on it? Well, it’s actually a really cool platform.
- I love that Clubhouse is all audio.
There’s a freedom you don’t have on Zoom. While I hosted a 3-hour room with my friend Cathy Heller, I ate grapes, paced a ton, developed a gigantic chin zit, and no one had to see any of it. As long as you’re muted, you can do anything. Clubhouse: it’s the app you can pee on.
- I love speaking on panels.
That’s essentially what Clubhouse is. A chance to speak without preparing or rehearsing a whole presentation. Ugh, slides. I love a panel. I love responding to questions. I love a real panel—the kind on stage—more than this kind, because there are visual cues. People in the audience can clap or laugh. You can see if someone else is gesturing that they’d like the mic. There’s more grace to it. But Clubhouse is basically an all-panel format.
- It’s a chance to build your “visibility.” Visibility is in quotes, because, of course, no one sees you. But they do see your profile pic, so the whole time I’m speaking, people see me as I am in my photo: with professional hair and makeup, and bathed in golden light. Visibility is a huge factor in a successful personal brand. It gives you a halo of authority and credibility, and it gets you found by new people, which builds your audience (and, if you’re smart, your list).
I look at it this way: If you have something great to say and offer, it’s a disservice to all the people out there who need you if you don’t do what you can to be found.
That said, I don’t think it’s anyone’s “responsibility” to be on Clubhouse. It’s just a good vehicle for making yourself known to new people.
- For once in my life, I wanted to be an early adopter. I’ll never stop regretting that I didn’t jump on Instagram back when people followed you just because you were there. Clubhouse is still in beta. It’s still “early.”
- Some people love it for the personal connection. I know people who’ve found it life-changing, re-energizing, transformative, all those things. They’ve found the right rooms and the right people. Me, I like it, but also hate it.
Is there a good, ultimate guide to Clubhouse? Do you have Clubhouse tips?
Not that I’ve seen so far, and yes, I do. I typed these up for members of Shrimp Club, my mastermind, and thought I’d share them here. The rest of this post grew around them.
Scared of screwing up on Clubhouse? A few FAQs.
- What are those party popper emojis on some people? (🎉)
That means they’re new to Clubhouse. I think it’s there so old-timers go easy on them. Oh look, Tony Robbins is new on Clubhouse. Give him some grace if he blows it!
Paris Hilton, on the other hand, is not new on Clubhouse. If she screws up, give her shit for it!
- How do I mute myself?
First, don’t worry: When you go into a room, you’re not mic’d. You don’t have to mute yourself till you’re brought up on stage, which you might be if you raise your hand. If you’re called on and brought up to the stage, you’ll see a green notification that says “You’ve been made a speaker.”
That’s when you mute yourself. Do it by tapping the mic icon at the bottom right of your screen. When you’re brought on stage and made a speaker, you’ll see it instantly. If it doesn’t have a red line through it, your mic is on. Tap it to turn it off. Above, Paris’ mic is off. Good job, Paris!
If you’re in the audience like I am here (below), you won’t see a mic. No one can hear you sneeze, chew, pee, or say, “Are you f*cking kidding me? What a load of crap!”
- Will people know when I leave? Do I have to excuse myself?
Really, only if you’re in a small room of just a few people will anyone notice when you leave. Even then, if you’re in the audience and not onstage, there’s no way to announce it when you leave anyway. You can simply tap “leave quietly” at the bottom and peace out. Or, you can quit out of the app.
- Is there any way to get on a Clubhouse stage by accident?
If you want to be on stage to speak, you click the hand. (If it’s faded, it means hand raising is turned off.) But if a friend who’s moderating spots you in the audience and wants to bring you up, they can’t do it without permission. You’ll see a green notification asking you if you’d like to come up. You can also click “maybe later,” which I wish were an option with everything.
- How do I message someone on Clubhouse?
Ah, you can’t. You can’t type anything! There’s no “chat box” or anything like there is on Zoom, either. Kind of the beauty of it. But to message someone, tap on their face to bring up their profile, and scroll down to their Instagram (or Twitter, but most Clubhouse people seem to use Instagram).
- How long does a Clubhouse room last?
That’s like, “How long is a piece of string?” Some go for an hour (usually when that’s predetermined by the host and put in the description) and some go for…well, 13 days. I’ve run rooms that lasted 3 hours, easily, and could have gone longer if one of us mods hadn’t said “I have to get back to my life now, let’s wrap the room.”
- Help! I missed a talk that looked so good. Where can I find the replay?
No replays. And recording is a no-no. You can get booted if you try to screen record. Clubhouse is like—well, not “like,” it is—a live event. More on that below.
More tips for getting started with Clubhouse:
- Think of it as a conference, where there’s a talk in each “room.” They’re not recorded. You hear it live, and there’s no way to hear it again.
- In my experience, it’s pretty hard to find the rooms you want. You can’t search a person for what rooms they have coming up or where they are, but if you swipe left on the “hallway” or tap the little intercom-looking thing on the bottom with the green dot, you’ll see who’s available of people who follow you back, and where they are at that moment.
- The people with green stars next to their names are moderators (mods) and they can let people up on the stage who raise their hands. They can also spot someone they know and bring them up. As far as etiquette goes, you don’t generally bring up whoever you want without permission from the original mod. Sometimes you’ll hear someone say “I see my hotshot friend in the audience, I’d like to bring them up.”
- See that “Leave quietly” button? There’s really no other way to leave. If you’re a mod, you might want to say goodbye when you leave if you have to duck out early. But otherwise, feel free to come and go, including if you’re up on stage. An Irish goodbye is always fine.
- Some rooms let everyone on stage as they raise their hands, some wait till they’re taking questions. You can turn off hand raising, but even if a room has it on, they might not be taking people up on stage.
- There’s a kind of “mod protocol.” You’ll hear experienced mods say, after a bit, “I’m going to reset the room. I’m so and so, we’re talking about x, and if you’re getting something out of this and like what these people are saying (their ‘value bombs’), please follow all the mods. That’s everyone with a green star. And please ping people into the room by hitting that plus sign at the bottom.”
- There’s an order in which they let people speak, usually. Left to right. They’ll say, “Pull to refresh” so everyone on stage pulls down their screen and it shows the proper order.
- If you’re going to do your own room or raise your hand to speak in rooms, take time to drop into a bunch of rooms first and listen to how it all goes down. There’s a culture (one I don’t love, really, but I guess it keeps it orderly) to it all.
- Def helps to have your “Who I am and what I do” down pat. I’m working on mine. Not quite satisfied with it. A lot of people have a rags to riches story like, “I was sleeping in my car and then had to sell my car for 25 dollars because I couldn’t afford a McDonald’s hamburger, but I spent the 25 dollars on a Facebook ad so I could start adding value to people’s lives, and that turned into the 9-figure business I have today. But I’m not here for business, I’m here to connect and serve.” I don’t have that. I am able to sum up who I am, what I do, and who it’s for pretty quickly, though. I basically recite the top of my bio.
- Speaking of bios, there’s plenty of room in a Clubhouse bio to say all the things you can’t fit in your Instagram bio. The first three lines are your most important real estate, so make sure they’re eye-catching.
- Clubhouse is searchable by keyword, so put a bunch of keywords in your bio. The things you want to be found for. For instance, in my bio, I have terms like email marketing, email newsletter, personal branding, etc. I also feature the courses I’m known for: The Copy Cure, Inbox Hero.
- If you want to schedule a room for later, don’t use the “start a room” button. Go up to the calendar icon at the top.
- Give your room a great title. That’s your headline! You want one that gets attention.
- When you schedule a room, add the people you want as cohosts. Once you’re all on stage, you can make them mods by tapping on their faces and following the prompt to make a mod.
- If you’re brought on stage, mute your mic right away. It’s not automatic. If you’re not muted, everyone will hear your partner say, “Oh god, are you ever off of Clubhouse?” Or something worse.
- When you’re on stage, you can “clap” by tapping your mic. When you see flashing mics, that’s what that is. Unfortunately, there’s no way to show appreciation for what someone’s saying when you’re in the audience, except by pinging people into the room.
- You can tell who’s speaking by the tan (gold?) ring around them. See the screenshot above that says “all rooms.” Audria is speaking. The ring is too subtle for my taste, but whatevs.
- If Clubhouse is crushing your spirit because all you’re doing is consuming and waiting for your turn to talk, start your own rooms.
- If Clubhouse is taking you away from all that’s good in your life and everything you’ve promised to do before you die, turn off notifications. Not just till morning: for the week. At least.
Who’s good to follow on Clubhouse?
Well, obvi I’m going to say, ME. I’m @laurabelgray. I’ve been doing some great rooms! Follow me so you can join them.
How do I get on Clubhouse? Is Clubhouse invite-only?
For now, yes. When you join, you get a limited number of invites to send to friends. I got five.
The more active you are (I guess running your own rooms, speaking, moderating), the more invites they add to your stash. Like winning a free “guy” when you get to a level of Pacman (for the old-timers).
When you invite someone, your name appears forever at the bottom of their profile. So don’t invite sketchy people you’ll regret being associated with. Background check!
Sometimes (though, it seems, not reliably), if someone in your contacts applies to join, you’ll get a notification asking if you want to let them in. You still get credit for inviting them, but you don’t use up an invite.
Any questions about Clubhouse? Tips to add?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.