The Clubhouse app has been all the buzz lately, but what is Clubhouse App, and should you be on it? (spoiler: yes!) Are you wondering how to use Clubhouse? Consider this your complete Clubhouse tutorial. See also: I think Clubhouse is the best social networking app we’ve ever had.
What is Clubhouse?
So first things first, what the heck is the Clubhouse app? In short, Clubhouse is a live audio app. But I like to say Clubhouse is like if you combined a live conference with a podcast, mixed it up, and threw it into an app. It’s brilliant!
You can go into rooms and listen to other users speak about a variety of topics. And when I say variety, I mean variety, as in anything and everything. But you can also take the stage and interact with the speakers, plus it’s a great way to connect with people from all over the world.
This is one of the reasons I think Clubhouse is the best social networking app in the world. Now when I say social network, I don’t mean in the traditional sense of a social network, like Facebook or Twitter, I mean actual networking, like you would do in person, at a conference or event with like-minded people from your industry.
So you’re in rooms, you're listening to great speakers, you’re taking part in a q & a, and then like all good things, the room must come to an end. And this brings me to one of the craziest things about Clubhouse: once the room is over, that’s it. It's done. There’s no recording. This is of course quite strategic on the part of Clubhouse to create major FOMO amongst users. Because, if you’re not in that room when those cool people are speaking, you missed it!
The last thing you need to know about Clubhouse, is that because it’s still in beta, it is currently invite only and only available for iPhone and iPad. But don’t fret, I’ll let you in on an invite secret a little later, and they’ll open to Android soon.
How do I use Clubhouse?
So now that you know what Clubhouse is, let’s dive into how to use it. This will be your complete Clubhouse tutorial. There are quite a few important things you should know when it comes to how to use the app, like important terminology, the layout, and how the algorithm actually works so that you get the most out of Clubhouse.
The main screen of the app is what’s known as the hallway. Everybody’s hallway will look a little bit different based on your interests and clubs and people that you follow. I’ll get into this a little bit more later, but this is really a snapshot of how the algorithm is working. You will also notice that the hallway is a place where you can start a room of your own.
A room on Clubhouse is just like you would find if you were at a conference and you physically stepped into a room to listen to a speaker. When you enter a room on Clubhouse, there will be a person or persons on the stage. That simply means, they’ll appear at the top of the room on your screen. Underneath the people on the stage will be a section of users that the speakers follow, then underneath those is everybody else.
Rooms are really the core of Clubhouse. And here’s why. Think of how much money you would pay to go to a conference and listen to the best people in your industry talk. This is literally Clubhouse, a live conference, at your fingertips, for free.
I’ve been a part of some mind-blowing killer rooms with fellow YouTubers where I’ve been able to ask them direct questions, and then they willingly answer those questions. Did I mention for free? Where else in the world will you get to pick the brains of the top minds in your industry? Clubhouse is where.
If you find yourself in a room you don’t like, you can click the leave quietly option at the bottom to crab walk your way out of the room. But let’s say you love what’s being discussed in the room and you want to tell your friend to get her tuchus into the room immediately. You can tap the plus symbol in the bottom and that will allow you to ping a follower into the room you’re in. So that person will get a notification that you want them to join the room. There’s also a hand icon in the bottom of a room, and this is the button you’d tap if you want to ask a question or chat with the people on stage. The moderator of the room will be notified that you want to come up to the stage and can bring you up if they so desire. I’ll share more on moderating later.
Some other handy things about rooms are that if you are brought up to the stage, your microphone will automatically be unmuted, so you’ll want to tap the microphone button in the bottom right to mute yourself.
Also, since it’s not a great user experience to talk over someone, Clubhousers - is that a term? - will tap their mic on and off in rapid succession to show the speaker they like what they are hearing. It’s like a visual applause cue.
User Profiles / Bio
Another awesome feature of rooms is that you can easily learn more about anybody in that room with just a tap.
You’ll be shown a snapshot of their bio. You can swipe up on their bio or click ‘view full profile’ to see how many followers they have, and how many people they are following.
As an aside - who you follow is very important - and I’ll touch on why it’s important a little later - but it can make or break your user experience on Clubhouse. For now, back to the bio.
You will notice a little bell icon, whether or not you are following the person, and some little stars. This bell icon is really important because you will be notified when a person you follow takes the stage or schedules an event, and sometimes this can get overwhelming if someone takes the stage a lot. This is where you would set specific notifications per person you’re following. The little stars to the right are recommendations. So, if you like this person and the industry they are in, this gives you a quick glance of similar people to follow.
Below all of that, you’ll be able to read a little more about the person, as well as links to their twitter and instagram accounts.
And I interrupt this message with yet another important tip for you guys. Currently, there are no in-app dm’s - you have to connect outside the app via Twitter or Instagram. So it’s crucial you add your Twitter and Instagram accounts to your bio in order to be able to truly network with people. After all, that’s why we are on this app people!
At the very bottom of a user profile, you may see clubs that this person is a member of.
And that, quite literally, brings us into Clubs on clubhouse. There’s a lot to know here, but mainly, Clubs can create their own content and they have both members and followers. If you click on a club, you will see all the members of the club, with the first person listed being the founder of the club.
Now I could go on all day about Clubs. But what you need to know is that there are a ton of clubs about pretty well anything you could dream of. You can follow clubs you’re interested in, and you can become members of clubs, and you can even apply to start your own club.
You may remember earlier when I talked about the hallway, I briefly mentioned the Clubhouse algorithm. And you may remember I mentioned that who you follow is really important. Let’s get into that because once you understand it, this is really going to make your user experience the best it can be.
The number one most important thing for you to remember is that as a Clubhouser, you control your user experience on the app. You are the purveyor of your own destiny! Or something like that. But here’s why this is crucial to know right off the bat.
The entire Clubhouse algorithm is based on people you follow, topics you’re interested in, clubs you follow, and clubs you are a member of. All of this tells Clubhouse what you like and what you want to learn more about. So if you are just following people for the sake of following people, your hallway and the rooms you get pinged into, probably won’t be a reflection of the things you actually care about.
So you might keep getting notifications for rooms you’re not interested in, and worse yet you could wind up in a room about, I dunno, cooking frog legs, and wonder what has gone wrong in your life to lead you to this point where you’re now sitting in this room you have no control over.
Explore: Find People, Clubs, Interests
The bottom line: ensure you are tailoring your experience the way you like it. The easiest way to do this is by using the explore feature.
If you tap on the magnifying glass icon, you’ll be taken to the explore page. Currently, you can only search for people and clubs here - they are working on expanding that - but under the search bar are people either you may know or people the app thinks you might be interested in based on the all-important algorithm.
Underneath that is another search directory for people and clubs. So, if you’re interested in Sports, you’ll now be able to break it down per topic, and since for some reason they don’t have hockey, I’ll pick basketball as an example, and now you will see people that are interested in that topic as well as all the clubs you might want to follow that are related to that topic. This is going to be crucial in order to tell Clubhouse to curate your hallway towards your actual interests.
But you can tailor your interests even further, by tapping the settings gear icon in the top right of your profile, and here, the second section from the top, you will have everything you’ve told Clubhouse you’re interested in. If you tap that, you can continue to refine your interests as they change.
Starting a Room
Okay now, as promised, let’s talk about starting a room and scheduling events.
We remember from our hallway, you can tap to start a room and you have a few options here if you do so. You can add a topic to your room from here, which is where you add a description of your room. You can edit the description before you start a room, but not once the room has started.
Under that, you can start an open room which means it’s public and anyone on the app could find it and join the room. You could start a social room which means it’s a room only for the people within your social network, so those that are following you, and then there is a closed room, which is completely private between you and any user you add to the room.
Starting a closed room can be a great way to get a feel for moderating a room without the pressure of having it public.
Moderating a Room
But Tasia, what the heck is moderating a room?
Don’t worry, dear friend, here’s everything you need to know about moderating a room. Automatically if you start a room, you are the moderator of that room. The same thing applies to scheduling an event which I’ll talk about next.
I like to have co-mods, or someone or a couple people to moderate a room with. This is handy if you need to, say get back to life, because Clubhouse can be a time suck in the best way. But that way, they’re going to be able to continue on the room if you have to leave.
Make sure you are making someone you trust to be a moderator. The last thing you would want is for someone to hijack your room from you. Believe it or not, it’s happened. That’s because all moderators have the same full room control.
Moderators are given little green asterisks next to their names. As a moderator, you can make anyone else in the room a moderator, you can bring anyone up to the stage to chat, and you can mute people as they come to the stage. Another key element of being a moderator is the ability to move a person back to the audience. So, if you want to clear a way for other people to come up to the stage, that’s super handy. Mods can also turn on or off the hand raising function in a room.
Scheduling an Event
If you don’t want to start a room on the fly, you have the option of scheduling an event. Now don’t get confused. A room and an event are essentially the same thing.
From your hallway, click on the calendar icon at the top. Here will be all upcoming events tailored to you via the algorithm. These are events that have started within the last hour or are coming up. If you don’t see anything of interest, you can use the toggle at the top to see all upcoming events. If you come across an event you are interested in, you can either join what’s in progress or tap on the event and set the bell notification, or share it outside the app.
But to actually schedule an event, you’ll need to click on the calendar with a plus symbol in the top right corner. Here, you’ll enter the event name, and this is where you could add your co-host or guests as well. You’ll pick a date and time that works for you, then if you are a member of a club and want the room to be under that club umbrella, you’d add that here too. And just as important as the title is the event description. You have 200 characters to describe what you’ll be chatting about in your room. Hot tip: emoji’s are super popular on Clubhouse. Once you click publish, your room will now be scheduled. And back in the events tab, you can toggle the view to ‘my events’ to quickly get back to your scheduled room.
Finding Active Clubs and Users
It’s also important to be able to quickly find who’s active on the app, or online if you will, at the same time as you. From your hallway you can either tap the grid with the green dot or swipe left to access all active clubs and users available to chat. You’ll not only be able to see who is online, but also what room that user is in. The power here is that you can click on any of these profiles and go right into the room that person is in.
Power-User Tips: Bio, Search, Following, Notifications
Here are some important power-user tips. These are things I’ve noticed during my time on the app that you may find extremely helpful.
The user bio on Clubhouse is extremely important for two reasons. First, it’s important that your first three lines of your bio are the catchiest, like a headline in a newspaper. As in, get to the meat and potatoes of what it is you do. This is crucial to do in the first 3 lines because, if you remember, anytime you’re in a room, you can tap on a user profile and see a quick snapshot of that user. That snapshot is 3 lines.
You want to hook, line, and sink ‘em into viewing your full profile and then hopefully following you and/or connecting off the app. Within the top three lines of the bio, I would argue the top line is most important. Because, if someone searches for you or your industry in the explore section of the app, only the first line of your bio is displayed.
And speaking of someone searching for you or your industry in the app, this is the second reason your bio is super important. You want to add relevant keywords to your bio. That way, if someone is searching, say tech YouTuber, any user that has that in their bio will come up in the search. You want to be found in the industry you’re working in, and putting keywords in your bio will help you do that. Plus, you’ll also be able to find like-minded people in your industry easily.
It’s important to only follow people and clubs you’re interested in because that’s how to signal the algorithm to curate your interests, regardless of whether or not someone follows you back. Clubhouse will ban you for attempting follow for follow behavior. Plus, it’s not going to give you the best results in the algorithm.
Another thing to keep in mind is to set your notifications appropriately. I showed you how to turn on notifications for individual users, but you can adjust your overall app notification settings too.
And I strongly recommend you do this or you will be overwhelmed by all the notifications. There could be thousands of rooms going on at any given time and ain’t nobody got time for that.
From your profile, click on the gear icon in the top right. The first section at the top is your notification section. This is where you can and should set your notification frequency to infrequent.
So earlier I mentioned that as of right now Clubhouse in invite-only. Well there are a couple of ways to invite or add people to the app.
So, at the top of your hallway, you will have a little envelope. If you click that envelope, you will see how many invitations you have and from here, you can send an invite out to anyone that is in your iPhone contact list.
But wait, there is another way to let someone in without giving up an invite! If someone who is in your contact list downloads the app and reserves their username, you will get a notification that they are waiting to join the app. The notification will ask you if you want to let them in without using up an invite.
Any person you invite or let into the app, you will be tied to their profile. So, on a users profile page, if you scroll down, you can see who nominated that user. So, if you let in someone who ends up taking off on the app, you may organically see more growth in Clubhouse because everyone will be able to see that you are the one who nominated that user.
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