* Bianca Del Balzo, Head of Operations and Social of Will Media, handball champion in the Italian national team
As a social nerd that I am, when I learned of the existence of Clubhouse my first thought was: get in immediately. A social media where only the voice counts seemed to me an extraordinary idea, a way to give space to worlds where content matters more than aesthetics and to people who, like me, have always had the phobia of speaking in front of a large public (I did it only once, in front of 500 middle school children, to tell how beautiful is the sport I play in the national team, handball. I played at home but I was on the edge of my skin).
It was therefore love at first sight between me and Clubhouse. And after five days immersed in a passion that lasted most of the day and night, I realized I had 5000 followers. Magic? No, Clubhouse is like that. It's a social where if you talk about things that people care about, followers grow: without photos, without the ability to share anything, without messaging. Because here it is the content, and only that, that makes up the lion's share.
And now, after the moment of great passion, here I am in the moment of reflection, that is, asking myself if and how long it will last.
On Clubhouse you enter by invitation or by asking for access and waiting for someone to grant it. You choose areas of interest and people to follow which correspond to conversation rooms. In these rooms, things happen, that is, we speak according to the principle of real life: who is there, who is not there has lost the opportunity and so much the worse for him. So if you suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), take it easy. Because Clubhouse could cause you anguish (to stay on a theme dear to the design world) like the one from FuoriSalone when you run crazy from one event to another so as not to lose any. Exciting but also exhausting.
The fact is that on Clubhouse there are a lot of interesting things. Since there is not yet a crowd but many people who share the same interest, it is the ideal stage for networking and sharing ideas, learning things, comparing with others. To such an extent that now I spend the first two hours of the morning with Clubhouse on, in the rooms where there is the press review or where other nerds like but talk about the latest tech gimmicks.
On Clubhouse we talk above all about Clubhouse: it is new and it fits. But the lion's share is also played by politics (parliamentarians, politicians and journalists clash every day in the Political Agora), social media, technology and communication. And soon I guess we will talk about everything. There is even the room without thematic (Coffee and Topic) where you enter and decide: sometimes it's fine, others not. There are rooms dedicated to job opportunities for young people, to tourism, to live comments on football matches, to the ironic commentaries of Big Brother Vip.
A particularly vibrant format is that of Q&A: I organized one together with Yari Brugnoni, the founder of Ninjalitics, Luca Mastella of Learnn and Bocconi teacher, Marco Onorato, co-founder of Marketing Espresso, and with the founder (Steven Lo Presi) and the SEO manager (Luigi Nigro) of Marketing Ignorante.
The public asked us questions about how to work on social networks and we answered, each according to his areas of expertise.
In short, Clubhouse is a networking paradise: the perfect place to meet people to talk to about the things that obsess or fascinate you. To learn and grow through dialogue. The place where to become an influencer you don't have to be a B-series celebrity born on junk television programs: you need to want to listen and tell something that is relevant to those who listen to us.
Is that my way of saying that this love for Clubhouse is forever? Not yet. Because two weeks after the first meeting and the blossoming of passion I can also see, next to the roses, the first thorns.
The first is inherent in the success of Clubhouse. For example, it has already happened to me to enter a room and want to say mine, but found myself in a ‘queue’, with 15 people booked to speak before me. Is not it beautiful. What will happen when the platform is also available for Android (now it is only for iOS) and therefore open to a much wider audience? Does the limit of 5000 people per Room make sense in a social network where the beauty is listening but also talking and discussing?
The second has to do with time. To use Clubhouse well you need a lot. It's not like Instagram, where you shake and immediately grasp the meaning of things. To understand what you are talking about in a room and to formulate a thought about the subject in being, you need to engage the brain. This is the beauty of this social network but also its limit: for example for those who work and do not have hours available to do a daily intellectual gymnastics.
It is not yet clear if and how the developers will respond to these challenges. Nor what could happen if – as has already happened with Snapchat and as it is trying to do with TikTok – Facebook will respond to the success of Clubhouse by copying the format to bring it down in the bud (it seems it is already about to happen: here the article of The New York Times).
The fact remains that the new social media of the voice is, finally, a meritocratic platform, a kind of revenge for those who have something to say but hate to show off. And therefore a terrain at least to be explored now, immediately and with the dedication it deserves.
Cover photo: a drawing/collage with multimedia animation of Area, the communication project of 41zero42 by DWA Design Studio in collaboration with Karmachina.