Elon Musk is the latest to join an invite-only social networking platform called Clubhouse. Initially launched in Spring 2020, this audio-based social platform allows users to communicate via podcast-like conversations. Its invite-only structure made it an exclusive channel for high-caliber users and ultimately attracted Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
Clubhouse is a voice-based social media app where users can listen, talk, and host their own “shows” in real time. Users can create live-streaming rooms or join other rooms, and users are notified when someone they follow joins or creates a room.
Early on February 2nd, the Tesla founder stated that he would be off Twitter for a while, but did not offer insight into his decision. Over the past few years, Musk has run into issues with the Security Exchange Commission and has come under scrutiny for tweeting content that could manipulate the stock market.
Shortly after his separation from Twitter, Musk made an appearance on the interactive audio streaming platform Clubhouse and quickly hit a cap at 5,000 concurrent listeners. During the first half hour of his show, he addressed comments about colonizing Mars and talked about some of his favorite memes before inviting Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev to speak.
Prior, Musk has been vocally skeptical of Robinhood’s decision to prohibit its users from purchasing Gamestop stock, turning to Twitter to voice his opinion. After his departure, Musk made it clear that Clubhouse was a better platform for expression opinions and opening up a dialogue around them.
According to the Verge, there was an “absolute novelty of the world’s richest man lightly interrogating the CEO of the week’s most controversial company in a live, free broadcast.”
Currently, Clubhouse has roughly two million users, a far cry from Twitter’s 321 million users and Facebook’s 2.7 billion. However, Clubhouse leverages social listening in a way that hasn’t been done before.
The podcast industry is booming; in 2019, there were 88 million podcast listeners and forecasts suggest it will surpass 160 million by 2023. Clubhouse leverages the podcast boom by incorporating a live streaming element into its social infrastructure. But this isn’t just an opportunity for elite social media users. It’s also a new way for brands and agencies to take advantage of a growing audience segment.
“Live streaming is a great opportunity for sponsored content,” said Brooke Miles, founder of social media marketing agency Delaware ShoutOut. “Great marketers and brand owners are constantly seeking new ways to reach their target market, and emerging social media platforms offer an avenue to do that.”
Sponsored content and advertising will be strong revenue generators for Clubhouse. During Musks’ Clubhouse appearance, several overflow rooms emerged, including one featuring a cash giveaway sponsored by Square.
Like other social networking platforms, Clubhouse presents a unique opportunity to present to a niche audience that’s interested in tech and current events, and much of Clubhouse’s current revenue comes directly from advertisers.
Currently, the app is focusing on expanding its international presence and attracting high-tier talent and celebs. As it stands, the platform remains a powerful platform to have candid conversations over important topics. However, there is some skepticism over whether the platform will be able to scale with its invite-only model.
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