The emotional wallop of Clubhouse: The most human app wins.

most human app

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on Clubhouse. Mostly “background music.” Haven’t been leading or even participating much because I’ve been busy and my concentration is needed elsewhere.

Up until this week, my experience has been up and down. Unfortunately, Clubhouse has become the new homeroom to a lot of annoying people teaching you how to make a million dollars with real estate or click funnels on this app.

One of my friends describes Clubhouse as “giving microphones to all the worst people on LinkedIn.” Clubhouse has become the new 24-hour infomercial platform!

There is so much content and it’s hard to discover the relevant gems sometimes. It’s like entering a labyrinth at times. Which direction to turn?

However …

Communion and connection

There is something extraordinary happening on Clubhouse that I have never experienced on social media before. I tuned into some rooms that have been filled with a torrent of raw emotion.

I’ve been in rooms packed with people longing for connection, communion, and healing in this global crisis. There were people crying out with anguish over death, fear, and desperation. And the response? Extraordinary support. Boundless empathy. Offers of help. Love.

This had a profound impact on me.

In one of our recent Marketing Companion podcast episodes, Brooke Sellas and I talked about the rise of wellness apps and bots. Little wonder … it’s almost impossible to get a therapy appointment right now. Brooke mentioned she called about an appointment and was pushed out five months.

That is … well, not very therapeutic is it?

So the timeliness of Clubhouse is rather extraordinary. It’s more than an app. It’s a cultural moment ideal for these stressful COVID times. The accumulated strain is flooding out in the authentic Clubhouse voices of the lonely and distressed.

The most human app?

I was in one room where hundreds of people — almost all of them under 30 — were waiting TWO HOURS or more to share in a quivering voice their pandemic stories of loss, confusion, isolation, and grief.

These stories were universally met with compassion, tolerance, and love.

Sometimes … that’s all we need. Acknowledgment that we’re not alone. Truly, that can make all the difference when you’re alone.

Clubhouse faces a lot of existential problems at the moment. People can say what they want. This has implications for content moderation and enabling conspiracy theories to thrive. Journalists and users have reported issues of harassment, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and racism.

Privacy and security concerns abound. The Stanford Internet Observatory revealed security flaws that meant user data was vulnerable and accessible to the Chinese government. The app may fall foul of data protection rules in Europe, known as GDPR.

And of course, most of the people in my circle are in a feeding frenzy, trying to build follower counts and figuring out the marketing and monetization angles of Clubhouse. That’s fine.

But through all of this, don’t overlook the fact that the primary value of this platform might be human connection and “hope.”

I’ve spent the last 12 years of my life trying to work toward inserting more humanity into this toxic social media world. Sure, there are pockets of beauty here and there, but through Clubhouse, perhaps we have finally, finally, finally found it.

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He is the author of several best-selling digital marketing books and is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world. Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

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