My love affair with Clubhouse — the new drop-in audio social media network, ended like many of my past relationships.
There was the initial excitement and flurry of activity.
I spent several hours a day on the app, in lieu of listening to podcasts.
I hosted rooms with bestselling authors such as Nir Eyal and Alex Osterwalder.
I was a guest speaker in rooms hosted by SXSW.
And of course, I serendipitously bounced in and out of rooms that seemed ‘interesting’ to me… rooms that I wouldn’t ever have searched for and paved the way to broaden my worldview.
But then, the spark began to fade.
Soon thereafter, I stopped calling.
So here are just some of the reasons why I stopped using Clubhouse.
Low ROI on Time
As somebody who wrote a book called Time Rich, I’m very sensitive to the payoff of time spent doing anything — that payoff could be a monetary, social, emotional, or learning payoff. Whether an activity aligns with with my values and my targeted end in mind — short or long term — also carries a lot of weight.
It became very clear to me very quickly that there were far better ways for me to meet my goals in work and in life without spending copious amounts of time scrolling through circle profile pics on Clubhouse.
Like other social media apps, Clubhouse is a slot machine of sorts — you don’t know what you’re gonna get. Each time you open the app you might see new and interesting conversations from accomplished folks, and so, you keep opening the app throughout the day.
The problem with this is twofold.
One, you might end up listening to a two-hour-long conversation in the middle of your workday, when you were supposed to, you know, work.
Two, you incessantly switch between your work and the app every few minutes, incur a cognitive switching penalty, and spend little to no time doing deep work as a result.
Poor Quality Conversations
Apart from the odd diamond in the rough — like when Naval Ravikant, Elon Musk, or Marc Andreesen make an appearance — the overwhelming majority of conversations on Clubhouse are junk.
I just opened Clubhouse to see what’s in my feed.
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As Zig Ziglar put it many moons ago, we are who we are because of what goes into our minds, and we can change who we are by changing what goes into our minds. Think twice before you let unqualified randoms on the internet, merely looking to acquire followers, color how you see the world.
Low Insight Density
Building upon the above point, even if a room is on an interesting topic, it will be overrun by people who are mostly unqualified to speak about it and shooting from the hip.
If I want to learn about marketing insights, the future of cryptocurrency, or how to build a successful relationship, I’m better off seeking out books, articles, and podcast episodes from proven experts in this space.
I will get a lot more value for my time this way, and won’t have to sit around waiting for an insight — I can just fast forward or scroll ahead to learn about a solution to the problem I’m dealing with.
Sure, you can meet many people on Clubhouse you wouldn’t have otherwise. But how many of these people would you have sought out to begin with?
If you want to target people and network, use LinkedIn — it is way more effective and efficient.
Other better options:
- Start a podcast and invite influencers on your show.
- Attend Meetups where you can see who is going to attend, and speak with that person directly.
- Join a Mastermind group.
Too Much Signaling
For the most part, Clubhouse is overrun by people looking to build social clout on the next shiny new social media platform while it’s still new, but as the aforementioned Naval Ravikant puts it, “play stupid games, win stupid prizes”. I know what I’d rather pursue than followers — time, money, mental clarity, and joy.
Half the time I see Russian, Korean, and Arab rooms at the top of my newsfeed. This would be nice if I knew how to read or understand any of these languages. Other times it’s speed dating for Latinos (I’m not Latino), or yet another NFT room.
The fact that conversations are transient and not recorded means that if something is interesting, you have no choice but to stay and listen to it if you want to capture those insights. But that puts me at the mercy of the Clubhouse Gods, and I’d rather not play to their rules.
Of course, I’m not completely dismissing the utility of an app like Clubhouse, but for me, it just doesn’t sit well with my values.
Ultimately, if somebody asked you for several hours a day of your time for an ongoing period of time, you’d probably ask them to pay you a few hundred, if not a few thousand dollars.
Yet when a new social media app comes into your life, you might find yourself doing exactly that without giving it a second thought, at the expense of everything else you had going on.
Ultimately, what this comes back to is being intentional.
Is Clubhouse serving you or not? Is it creating more value than it is consuming? That is for you to decide.