Last week I was catching up with our Healthy Aging Expert, Deb Gutierrez. Toward the end of our conversation she casually asked if I was familiar with Clubhouse. WHAT?
Honestly, until that moment the mention of the word “clubhouse” evoked a strong childhood memory of a shabby, seriously not-up-to-code box-like structure my friends and I built using scrap wood planks we found strewn about our brand new suburban development.
Clearly I was not in the know. That didn’t surprise me. There’s a lot to know and “they” keep piling it on. Just when I allow myself a reprieve from the “what’s next?”, I discover something new…. cutting edge…. latest…. ground breaking…. disruptive. It’s overwhelming, at times.
I am not sure why I jumped at the opportunity to participate. I already give my precious time to the likes of SIX other social media outlets. Did I really need to add one more?
Why YES, yes I did.
Deb offered me an invitation. Yes, you read that correctly as well. Currently, the only way to be admitted to Clubhouse is via an invitation.
OK – What is Clubhouse?
“if you have an iPhone and an invite, you can virtually wander the halls”
Clubhouse is the brainchild of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison and ex-Google employee Rohan Set. A nostalgic nod to the early days of the World Wide Web ,the basic concept of Clubhouse is not new or cutting edge. Remember those AOL chat rooms in the nineties? Good grief, my memory of that is filled with frustration at the speed, or rather the lack thereof –– think DIAL-UP. But, I too participated, albeit for a brief time only, in a few cat aficionado rooms. Ugh, that was incredibly embarrassing to admit.
What Clubhouse has done to update the experience of chat rooms, however, is groundbreaking and, in today’s world of more and more isolation, incredibly needed. Today, if you have an iPhone and an invite, you can virtually wander the halls, checking out the roster of ongoing or scheduled conversations. Then you can enter any room that looks interesting and immediately you are thrown into the experience.
A Place To Be Heard:
“My favorite rooms are the smaller ones with my peer group.”
Unlike other social media apps, Clubhouse is all about real (I refuse to use the word “authentic” — it’s sooooo last year). While most other mediums rely heavily on imagery and overly considered and carefully crafted nuggets of the written word, in Clubhouse you get to be heard. And I do mean heard. Unlike those chat rooms of the 90s, you’re speaking directly to the participants in the room. That is if you’re brave enough to raise your hand and are gifted a seat on the stage.
The app can be a place to commiserate, share knowledge, make connections, and talk shop. It’s also a great space for voyeurism as you can pop in and out of random conversations without a trace. And there is plenty of star power, if that’s your thing. My favorite rooms are the smaller ones with my peer group. I can honestly say that within the first two weeks of participating, I am richer in knowledge, experience, and connections.
Unlike any other social media experience I’ve had, interacting in Clubhouse shortens the path to genuine connection. It’s crazy how quickly one can assess the calibre of the interaction that is occurring or about to occur. And while Clubhouse only provides the conduit for the chat, one can surf profiles, DM interesting parties on IG or Twitter, and take the relationship into the “real” world.
Join Us In Our Second Act Sisters Room:
“If you want to co-host with me let me know – it’s super fun”
I joined January 5th and am now wrapping up my second full week of moderating a room designed specifically for us: “Second Act Sisters: Share. Learn. Play.” Monday through Friday at 3PM EST you can meet up with other women in midlife, or beyond, to talk about the hot stuff grown-ass women care about. Each day I’m lucky enough to co-moderate with one of our sisters. (NOTE: If you want to co-host with me let me know – it’s super fun).
We offer a speaking prompt for the hour but allow the conversation to flow organically. And, we run a pretty tight schedule, doing our level best to be respectful of everyone’s time. While some rooms gloat about being open for 48 hours or more, my belief is that if we didn’t address it in the hour allotted, it can wait until next time.
The biggest surprise for me about Clubhouse?
While my childhood makeshift backyard clubhouse had a big NO GROWNUPS ALLOWED sign on the door, our virtual meeting room celebrates us, the Second Act Sisters.