We’re approaching the point where Clubhouse—that exclusive app that lets people sit around and chat for hours, but actually with people who could be fairly well-known in an industry—is starting to feel a lot less “cool.” The social service is booming, but giving everyone access to a microphone comes with its own set of problems.
Nevertheless, if you want to check Clubhouse out after securing an invite from someone already on the service, there are a few ways you can make it less annoying to use.
Before I get to the tips, a word about those invites. As of when this was written, you could still only get into Clubhouse by being invited. And as a Clubhouse user, let me tell you that the allure of something secret is more interesting than the reality.
Clubhouse is neat, but it feels like the fad of the day—a big gathering ground for a lot of wannabe influencers, people who want to teach you to become an influencer, or people who are already so well-known that this app is just an easy and “elite” way to have a YouTube or a Twitch stream without having to make one.
Once the floodgates open and everyone wants to build their brand on Clubhouse, I think that’s going to really dilute the searchability of the service—or it’ll just become like a Twitch, in which the top 20 people in any given category are the only ones that really seem to matter, and 90 percent of people who can’t get five people to listen to one of their hour-long chats will get bored.
So, yes. If you haven’t been invited yet, don’t sweat it. Please don’t buy an invite from someone else or, worse, get scammed into giving up your personal information or account security with the promise of a Clubhouse invite on the other side.
Our top tips for turning Clubhouse into a cool-kids club
When you finally download the app and join Clubhouse, you’ll be asked to connect your contacts to Clubhouse so you can automatically find and follow your real-life friends on Clubhouse. That’s fine. When you get to the “select your interests” section, know that you don’t have to pick anything right now. In fact, I encourage you to skip this process for the time being, lest you find your main Clubhouse feed full of junk chat rooms that you don’t care about.
You’re likely most interested in hearing your friends and other low-key celebrities you find on Clubhouse, not necessarily 800 different potential discussions about “networking.” And you can always adjust your interests later via the app’s primary Settings screen > Interests.
You’ll also be given a list of suggested Clubhouse users to follow. Here’s the part you’ll want to avoid like the plague. Don’t just follow random people because the app wants you to; follow people when they prove to you that they create interesting conversations and experiences you want to hear. Otherwise, your Clubhouse feed is going to get real junky, real quick.
After that, you’ll be asked to allow notifications from the app. Say yes for now, but know that you’ll be changing this setting soon, lest you get a ping when one of your friends starts chatting (which can get quite annoying).
Then you’ll be in the app! And the first thing you should do, before you hop into a room to listen to what people have to say, is to hit up Clubhouse’s settings (under your profile icon in the upper-right corner).
Even if you might not want to adjust your notification frequency at first, know that you have a five-tier option in case you’re feeling badgered by the app (or want a firehose of Clubhouse updates). I turned off “include trending rooms,” as that tended to be the majority of my Clubhouse spam.
If you need a Clubhouse break, you can always use the Pause Notifications feature to take a time out for anywhere from an hour to a week:
Finally, here’s where you’ll adjust your interests—as previously noted—and connect or disconnect your Twitter and Instagram accounts, depending on how much you want Clubhouse to be able to suggest new potential friends. Keep in mind that connecting either drops them into your public Clubhouse profile, and there’s no way to hide these social links as of when I wrote this.
Take special care to keep your interests light, or focused on a few subjects you truly care about, as Clubhouse will use these to populate your “Upcoming for you” feed—a list of scheduled Clubhouse chats accessible via the calendar-looking icon on Clubhouse’s main screen.