Why Clubhouse Doesn’t Quite Work
Clubhouse is fun, don’t get me wrong. I love the fact that there is zero pressure to “look good” or have to prep your background as we all do for Zoom.
But Clubhouse as audio only isn’t quite enough.
You Can’t Just Talk; You Have to Look
No matter how hard you try, you’re forced to look at the app during use. (If you have been able to avoid this, please tell me your secret because I’m at a loss).
Imagine you’re in a Clubhouse room with a lot of speakers on deck. Say someone makes a really good point and you say to yourself, “I need to keep track of that person”. You have to look and scroll and hope that that person is still talking so you can find that barely visible glowing orb that illuminates them (Seriously Clubhouse. That orb is far too subtle). Maybe they’re not talking anymore but you know they will soon because the conversation is turned their way. You’re forced to stop whatever else you’re doing to study the screen to wait for that familiar voice to re-appear.
At the very least they could at least have the speaker pop up to the top of the leader board don’t you think?!
Your attempt at multi tasking is shot for the session.
On the other hand, say you are asked to be a speaker (which I have been and done several times). You are still not free to just “be” in the conversation. You have to “show” that you agree with one person or another.
When you agree with a speaker (as a panelist and/or speaker) you can tap your avatar to mute and unmute over and over to show that you are present and in agreeance with what’s been spoken. If, for example, I’m researching topics or attendees within the conversation or even if I’m simply sitting back and relaxing into the words, I’m brought back to the app in order to “prove” that I’m paying attention and acknowledging everyone in the appropriate manner.
Clubhouse forces us to use our eyes.
We Are Cross Modal By Nature
The reason that Clubhouse isn’t quite there yet and why I wouldn’t call it an Audio Only App is because we don’t want it to be. As humans we are cross modal by nature. We have 5 senses, and instinctively we like to use as many of our senses at a time as possible whenever we can. It creates a more holistic and sincere experience.
What companies need to know as they explore Audio Only and Social Audio in general is that sound does not need to be the all ends all; sound is an enhancement. Consumers are asking for a more and more immersive experience. Anything that has the word “only” in the title is missing the boat.
Social Audio should be defined not as Audio Only but Audio as a primary means of connection.
Our days and moods vary significantly throughout our weeks and months. What might work on Monday doesn’t work the same on Tuesday. We should be allowed to choose our sensory dependency based on our emotional capacity in the moment at hand. The only way that we can do that is if we are given a choice.
Clubhouse won in early 2021 because of FOMO. I had it. So did a lot of Android users. However, once I got on, I just found it to be a lot of work. I drop in from time to time on rooms and I still speak in others when asked. It’s still fun when you find the right room and the conversation is exciting but for the most part I could do without it.
Maybe hands off Audio Only will never exist. Maybe it’s still a ways away. But what I do know is that I’m thrilled that Clubhouse came about to absorb the trial and errors. Because it’s predecessor, taken into account what worked and what didn’t, is going to be AMAZING!
So to those developers focusing on a new type of immersive experience I implore you. Don’t just focus on audio. Focus on audio, and visual, and touch, and taste, and feel. Maybe not all apply (right now) but they should at least be given consideration.
It may seem silly. However, the way technology is going, we shouldn’t rule out that one of these days we’ll be able to smell perfumes through our computers, touch bookshelves we’re searching for on Facebook Marketplace, and taste the tacos on that Hulu ad.
Technology is cray-cray. Rule out nothing. Consider everything. Act “crazy” to stay ahead of that fast moving curve.
Make Sound On Purpose
To learn more about me and my research in sound in marketing, go to www.SoundInMarketing.com. If you are a brand and you are looking to create a sound experience or need a consultation on sound strategy, go to www.DreamrProductions.com and let’s chat further.
Let’s make this world of sound more intriguing, more unique, and more and more on brand.