Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, has grown in popularity in recent 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 receive an invitation to join, and is only available to iPhone users. The app allows users to enter and exit different live conversations where each chat room has moderators, speakers and listeners.
Michelle Chan, a senior at Boston University, wanted to join the Clubhouse in early January, but struggled to find an invite until a friend offered one. Chan said the app appears to be aimed at millennials and older members of Gen Z.
“Personally, I really appreciate it,” she said. “It’s a really unique platform because it essentially breaks the barrier of this virtual setting where you can have honest conversations with people you’ve never met.”
Unlike many other social media apps, Chan uses Clubhouse for topics that interest him, 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’s great for networking and for career aspirations like getting to know industry leaders and just more experience and feedback on the career you’re interested in,” Chan said. “In terms of the entertainment aspect that TikTok provides, I don’t think it has that potential just because the platform really encourages in-depth conversations and communications with others, rather than just for entertainment.”
Erifili Gounari, creator of the Gen Z club on Clubhouse, has been on the app since November. She created the club in January and it already has over 6,000 subscribers.
“I decided to start a Gen Z club on Clubhouse on a whim because I realized that there weren’t any main Gen Z clubs, but a large part of our generation that used Clubhouse the used to network and chat, ”Gounari said.
The Gen Z Club hosts weekly chats to discuss business, trends, social media, education and more.
Gounari said audio is a powerful way for people to connect around the world, especially with the pandemic.
“I think our generation appreciates the up-front nature of it all because we’re so used to instant gratification and kind of grown up to expect that from social media and communities and everything and Clubhouse offers that,” said Gounari.
But some users of the app are skeptical of its growing popularity and say it won’t last.
Kyle Johnson, a junior at Northern Illinois University, said that while it’s a versatile app, it feels like nothing more than simple meetings or conference calls.
“The app is not very entertaining for me,” he said. “The only room or club I joined that I really entertained was a comedy room where a comedian would tell jokes.”
Johnson said the app’s audio feature is similar to Discord, an instant messaging platform originally used primarily by gamers. Discord has voice channels that users can join, but there are no defined topics and are only activated when users join the channel.
“I have the impression that the application is not yet diverse enough because you have to be invited,” he said. “It might grow more in the future, but it doesn’t look like it does. “