What Is Clubhouse? Is It Really The Secret Chat App for the Elite?

Move over video, because audio is making a comeback. The invitation-only audio app, Clubhouse, has grown exponentially, attracting many celebrities and wannabe’s who hold virtual chat rooms where users can listen and participate.

what is clubhouse

Let’s take a look at the Clubhouse app. It may not be as exclusive as you think.

What Is Clubhouse?

Paul Davison and Rohan Seth founded Clubhouse at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020. In fact, introducing the app when millions of American’s had limited physical access to others may have benefited the app’s explosive growth.

The app’s concept is audio-based, meaning you can drop into virtual chat rooms and listen to other speakers and participate by speaking. No fancy images or edited videos here because Clubhouse is all about the human voice.

A couple of months into the project, the app had 1,500 users. Today Clubhouse has over 10 million users, many of whom are entrepreneurs, professional athletes, celebrities, writers, and America’s business elite. Elon Musk is a regular user. So is Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The company is valued at close to $4 billion and steadily growing. 

Clubhouse differs from other social media platforms. First, you must be invited to join. While the invite-only method sounds elitist, becoming a user isn’t as difficult as you might expect. Interestingly, earlier this year, The New York Times reported you could purchase a Clubhouse pass for $89. However, the invite-only platform created a sense of exclusivity, which many believe contributes to the app’s explosive growth. 

Another difference that separates Clubhouse from other social media platforms is its audio-only feature. 

Unlike Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, you can’t simply throw around written text, pictures, or videos. With Clubhouse, you have to buck up and actually use your big boy or big girl words if you want to participate. For those shy souls, talking isn’t required as you can listen to moderators lead forums on a range of topics.

Clubhouse was initially available only as an iPhone app. However, the company recently rolled out an Android app in May of 2021, adding another one million users. 

How Does It Work?

Once you download the app and are invited to join, you’ll need to complete a profile page. Like other social media platforms, you can describe your interests, skills, job responsibilities, or anything else you want fellow users to know about you. And like all of the popular social media platforms, there’s no cost to join or participate.

Next, scroll through and pick topics of interest. You’ll also want to follow other users that have similar interests, or you want to learn from or listen to. 

Use the Explore page to identify topics of interest and clubs you want to join. To join a club, just tap the follow button. Anytime you want to exit the club, just hit the unfollow button.  

Everything is audio-based, like a webinar, podcast, talk show, or fireside chat that you can listen to, participate in or even lead. Moderators can establish virtual “rooms” that you can browse and drop in on practically every subject under the sun. Another advantage of the audio-only format is you can listen from any location and for as long as you like. 

Let’s say you have an interest in SEO marketing and found a virtual room titled “Strategy for leveraging ALL Social Audio Apps,” starting at 11:00 a.m. After the moderator kicks off the conversation, you can participate by clicking a button to raise your hand. The moderator can accept your request to speak or ignore it.  

Start Your Own Clubhouse Chat Room

Users of Clubhouse can also start their own chat rooms. Let’s say you want to discuss SEO link-building techniques or how artificial intelligence (AI) performs when transcribing court hearings. Other users can be designated as hosts, and rooms can be open, social, or closed. Open rooms are available to any Clubhouse user. Social rooms are only for those you’re directly connected with, and closed rooms are by invite only. Conversations can last for two hours or more, and hosts are advised to “reset” the room every half-hour to update new listeners on the topic and hosts.

what is clubhouse chat app

Unlike video chats through Zoom or Skype, there’s no camera or video access to the moderator or users. There’s plenty of heavy topics to discuss in Clubhouse, such as social justice, legal, and political issues. However, there are also chat rooms for users to informally shoot the breeze and get to know one another. 

Conversations on Clubhouse are recorded but only retained for a short period. Company reps maintain recordings are only used to investigate rule violations like bullying or inappropriate conduct. Recording conversations is strictly forbidden, and violators can be removed. 

At this very moment, I’m trying to decide whether to enter chat rooms on Bitcoin versus the dollar, how to stand out in today’s business environment, or how influencers escape creative ruts. Once you’re into a room, it’s like listening to a live podcast with multiple hosts.

Who Can Join Clubhouse?

Clubhouse began and remains an “invitation only” platform. After downloading the app and completing your profile, Clubhouse advises other users, especially those you know, that you are seeking admission. For many users, acceptance comes quickly. New users are extended invites, which they can use to recruit other users. 

In fact, while writing this article, I used two of my eight invites to individuals I thought would find the topics and rooms interesting. One accepted immediately. Another sent me a text asking what Clubhouse does, which shows a few souls haven’t heard about this somewhat exclusive app. There remains a waitlist for those that haven’t yet received an invite.

The app remains in early beta-test mode. There are guidelines, and rules users are asked to follow. Some of the app’s rules include:

  • You must use your real name or identity
  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • Bullying or harassment of any kind isn’t tolerated
  • Users cannot discriminate against any person or engage in hateful conduct
  • Recording or duplication of chat room content is prohibited
  • You cannot use Clubhouse for any illegal purpose

What Is The Purpose of Clubhouse?

Given the rejuvenation of audio, Clubhouse’s purpose is to allow users to listen to or create rooms so users can listen from anywhere. It’s difficult to predict if Clubhouse will continue to skyrocket. Chances are, when the app is officially open to everyone, millions of new users will come aboard. 

After all, learning and maintaining superior verbal communication skills is critical to success in almost every part of life. 

Clubhouse Competitors

It didn’t take long for other social media platforms to notice the overnight success of Clubhouse. Today, Twitter (Spaces), Spotify (Greenspace), Reddit (Reddit Talk), and Facebook are announcing plans for their own audio-only platforms. LinkedIn and Slack are expected to introduce their own versions soon.

Facebook’s version, Live Audio Rooms, is now up and available through iOS and Android apps. One glaring difference is Facebook’s audio-only app allows up to 50 people to speak simultaneously, taking an apparent swipe at Clubhouse. 

Another difference is Facebook is allowing users to listen to podcasts through mini-players or full-screen players with the ability to control playback. It’s safe to say more audio-only platforms will debut in the coming months.

The Importance of Audio Platforms

Exactly how audio-only platforms will shape the future of social media is unclear. What is clear is that Clubhouse redefined social communication by encouraging people to actually talk to others, something that has become less frequent over the previous two decades. 


At Transcription Outsourcing, we understand the importance of audio. We’ve transcribed audio files into a written format for the medical, legal, law enforcement, insurance, and other business sectors for over a decade. We also employ only the best and most experienced, U.S.-based transcriptionists and we stand behind each and every transcript created.