Adios perfectly curated social media! Hello Clubhouse. Not everyone is as desperate as some people like to make out to be invited to this invite-only audio-only Clubhouse app. I do, however, think it is worth trying to snap up an invite if you get the chance. It can be a fun and easy way to connect with people who have your interests and get exposure to different perspectives. Something that can often be tricky for expats.
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is about connecting people via audio. It is only audio. There is no messaging or side chat boxes. No posting links or photos. The only photos are people’s profile photos. Once you are on the app you get to eavesdrop, or join in, conversations that are going on. You can also start one of your own!
The app can seem a little bewildering when someone is trying to explain it to you but it is actually quite straightforward to use.
- Download the Clubhouse app – there is no website
- Sang an invite – you will need to get one though word of mouth
- Create your profile – this requires a brief bio and a profile picture
- Join a few clubs – these are groups people create around specific areas of interest
- Find a newbies room – you should easily be able to find a room for people new to the Clubhouse app where someone will explain the basics
- Now you are good to go – pop in and out of a few rooms, try jumping up on stage and give talking a go and follow people who you have found interesting
The expat bubble
Sometimes we are lucky enough to have people in our local community with whom we have shared interests. Other times it’s impossible to find our tribe. The very nature of being an expat can mean we have moved to an area specifically because they can not find someone locally to do the job required. This means we are almost 100% unlikely to find a network of people in similar professions.
Often we have ended up where we are because we have followed our partner and it can be hard to find like-minded people who share our interests. Let’s be honest, at times it can be hard to even make a connection with anyone. Clubhouse is a way for those people to connect to the outside world. A way for them to find their tiny tribe.
Alternatively, the expat bubble can be quite a sheltered one. We can often spend most of our time interacting with people from similar backgrounds as us albeit from different nationalities. Trying to find diversity in conversation and meaningful interactions isn’t always easy. Too often we tend to stay in our bubble. Clubhouse can get you out of that expat bubble and expose you to a dynamic world community.
10 reasons Clubhouse is a great app for expats
1. Niche connections
You get to connect to similar-minded people without the showiness of IG. Other expats are the best resource ever and it is amazing the people you come across and who are willing to help you out and connect you to people who can guide you in where to find information.
It is one of the easiest communities to find people who have the same interests as you. Don’t get me wrong, I think there are lots of people on Clubhouse who are not sure where it will go so they are frantically building their following just in case it goes in a direction that might be beneficial to them. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think it is better to try and make real connections around shared (often niche) interests.
It is nice being in a small room with a few people having a discussion around a topic everyone is interested in rather than being in a big room trying to get noticed. I think most people are surprised at just how niche things can get on Clubhouse. If you are not happy where you are living it is such a good feeling finding people you can connect with. For lots of people finding their unique, niche tribe on Clubhouse is the easy bit, trying to meet up with them due to time differences is the hard bit.
2. It’s not monetized yet
It is a new app and not ready to be monetized so not everyone is trying to sell you stuff. This makes it easier to make genuine connections. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of self-promotion on Clubhouse! But it is nothing like some of the more established social media.
It feels liberating to be away from the world of influencers where you never really know if what someone is saying is their genuine option or if they are just trying to flog something. It will be interesting to see how Clubhouse does affect the influencer world, if at all. For now, I think we should all revile in the knowledge that most people you come across on the app are not trying to sell you anything.
3. Home connections
It is easy to connect to your home country without too much effort. Sometimes this is just the little reminder you need as to why you are not living there anymore. Other times the connection of being in a ‘room’ full of your countryfolk is all you need to alleviate that niggling homesickness and get your fill of ‘home’.
Even within those ‘home communities’ you will find a variety of clubs that will let you narrow your connections down even more. For those people who feel it is important to stay connected to ‘home’, Clubhouse is the place for you.
4. No dress code
You can do it in your pajamas! Time zones be damned, you can be on the app at any time of the day or night and anywhere you might be and no one can see you. All the preening and styling other more visual apps have cultivated goes out the window and you get to focus on the conversation.
It makes it harder to portray an alternate reality. It is harder to fake your reality when you are put on the spot and people are asking you specific questions around a topic. For a lot of people this is a real breath of fresh air and welcome change.
5. It is mobile
You don’t have to be at your desk or even at home. Without a good internet connection, it can sometimes make it difficult to talk but it usually doesn’t interfere too much with listening. If you want to go out for your daily walk or listen to a topic being discussed while you roam the supermarket it is totally doable.
In this way, it makes it a little like listening to a podcast. The difference is with a podcast you can listen to it any time. Clubhouse is in the moment and there is no recording so if you miss it you miss it.
6. Learning opportunities
You can get up close and personal with people who you would not normally get to be in a room with. It is amazing how generous people are with their time. There are so many members with a real willingness to answer your questions and point you to resources. You can stubble on lofty and thought provoking conversations with people (and professionals) you might not normally meet in real life.
There are also people willing to spend time helping you with less lofty pursuits. Trying to plan a trip to Greece? You will find someone on Clubhouse who knows all the ins and outs and is willing to take the time to talk to you and answer all your questions.
7. You can just listen
You can be a passive bystander. No one is there to force you to speak. Sometimes it is a little like an ongoing podcast. You can jump in and ask a question if you get the urge but you can also just sit back and listen too. Some of the conversations going on are really interesting so it’s great to just follow along and not feel any pressure to participate.
8. Speak your language
As Clubhouse grows the array of languages on it does too. This is exciting for non-English speakers and language learners. If you are a language learner or just wanting to talk to people in your mother tongue this is the place to do it. You can wander into a room for beginner French or you can find a full-blown discussion on Vertical Funding in Mandarin.
For language learners, you will find clubs and rooms that are very regular and allow you to practice a bit each day. If you want to have more in-depth conversations in a language other than English then Clubhouse is a great option. For some less widely spoken languages, it may take a while for them to come but don’t be afraid to be the one to lead the way!
9. It’s truly international
Depending on the time of day it is not unusual to be the only one from your location in the room. Because you can jump in and out of rooms and conversations you end up not just mixing with people from your current contacts, which is often how other social media works. Some rooms will have people in more countries than most people have been to.
This is one of the reasons it makes it easy to connect with people from ‘home’ or find rooms in languages aside from English. It also adds richness to conversations and exposes us to options we might not ordinarily seek out. This gives us the opportunity to be exposed to different perspectives and ideologies.
10. No FOMO
You can be the cool kid on the block! The one who gets in early and doesn’t need to look confused when Clubhouse comes up in conversation. You also get to connect directly with YAY FOR TODAY readers (our club is called Living the Expat LIfe). Who would want to give up that opportunity!?
It can take time to find your way around Clubhouse and work out how it works for you and how you fit in. For some, it will not be their thing but for others, it might be where they find their niche. It could also be the perfect place to connect to professional networks that help bridge some gaps in their expat life.
If you can snag an invite I recommend giving it a go. There are some privacy concerns but none that are too different from other social media apps. You might decide it is not for you but you might be surprised at how it allows you to get out of your bubble without leaving the house. In its current iteration, it is a great resource for some people and a wonderful way for people who feel a little isolated, for whatever reason, to connect.
Currently the app is only open to iPhone users but it seems like that will change soon.