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Clubhouse Shifts Towards Social Discovery and Messaging

Clubhouse has this week announced big changes to its app. The company says that its new focus is on friendships, new and old, and it hopes to achieve that through its audio messaging ‘chats’.

Clubhouse was established in March 2020 and achieved a lot of success in the pandemic. It has millions of users and invites people to have live audio chats on the platform. The idea is that more context, more tone and more personality can be shared through audio based communication. The app is now, not removing the live chat feature, but shifting its focus to smaller and closed audio based messaging groups. 

Clubhouse wants to become like a house party. It said in a blog post that the new ‘friend of friend’ messaging chats will create ‘a nice dinner or house party vibe, where people have shared social context and feel accountable. There are no randoms, no spammers, and no people trying to gain followers at your expense.’

During the pandemic, it says it was easy for people to find relevant live content that appealed to them, but when life has gone a bit more back to normal, live chats have been less useful as people are less often all congregated on the app at the same time. Chats combat this by being something users can far more easily check in on throughout the day, rather than need to be their live.

The app argues that voice notes lead to a more social experience where people express more of their personality and say things they would never type out. One of the biggest changes to the app, is that one way follows will now turn into friend requests. Those who have worked to create a huge following on the platform might find this particularly frustrating and a hassle.

Now the focus is on smaller group chats, where voice notes can be shared throughout the day. Messages can be listened to on double time speed for those in a rush. And they are all transcribed for those in an environment at the time where they cannot listen. 

The app is making a shift that we are seeing all over. Smaller, more personal groups, where people’s voices (literally) in this case can be heard and valued are becoming more and more attractive, than the chaos of social networks, in which the whole world is your potential audience. This shift puts the social back into social apps.

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