Have you joined Clubhouse yet?
Don’t worry if you haven’t. For most of its life, Clubhouse has been a secretive, invite-only app used mainly by tech industry insiders, celebrities and influencers.
But the app isn’t such a secret anymore. Since the beginning of the year, Clubhouse has flung open the doors with lots more invites and said last week there are now two million users using the app. Moving forward, the founders have stated they want to make Clubhouse available to anyone and announced they’ve raised more money to help them achieve their goal.
So what is Clubhouse? In short, it’s is a drop-in conversation social network where users join rooms to discuss everything from space travel to politics to plant-based food.
If a social network app without video sounds a bit different in 2021, that’s because it is. But, as someone who’s been listening to podcasts since before the 2010s, I’ve found it completely refreshing and more than a little addicting, in part because I’ve grown used to having such a large part of my information diet come via audio. Only, unlike podcasts, Clubhouse is realtime and allows you can be a part of the conversation.
This weekend I decided to wade in. On Saturday I joined a room where a group was discussing feeding the global population with new approaches like plant-based proteins and regenerative agriculture. I “raised my hand” within the app (how you ask to talk on Clubhouse) and asked a question about government involvement in future food policy and learned a bunch from the ensuing conversation.
There are also the conversations where you just want to listen. I recently dropped into a dinner party room where Ben Horowitz and Katie Haun of Andreesen Horowitz and other tech industry folks talked bitcoin and virtual currencies with hip hop legends Fab 5 Freddy and MC Hammer.
It was great.
You’re probably asking yourself what this has to do with food tech? Not much, other than there are lots of deep conversations already happening about the future of food (I attended once about space food), alt protein and more. There’s also a flood of food tech leaders filing into Clubhouse, so much so Arman Anatürk’s already made a Google list.
If you’re skeptical about joining yet another social network, I can’t blame you. Over the past decade, for every TikTok or Whatsapp, there’s been dozens of Vines, Ellos, Google+’s that have shot out of the gate only to fizzle out or fade away. There’s also a chance Clubhouse will get copycatted by Zuckerberg, Dorsey or one of the big social media robber barons (Twitter’s already working on something similar called Spaces).
Despite all that, if you can get an invite, you should give Clubhouse a try. That’s because it feels like it’s something different, coming at a time when many of us are primed to learn more via deeper conversations, but probably not by getting on another zoom screen.
You can read this great guide by Michael Stelzner’s Social Media Examiner as a good starter how-to if you want to learn more.
If you do join, make sure to add me (michaelwolf) as a connection and join The Spoon’s new club, Food Tech Live. And if you do join one of our conversations, don’t be afraid to raise your hand. I’ll be sure to call on you.