At the beginning of 2021, people were sitting at home and dodging face-to-face interactions. The idea of being inside an actual bar was a couple of months (and vaccine doses) away, but there was a new Clubhouse on the rise.
The app allowed users to join literal chat rooms. People talked to each other and left messages, but it was audio-only. There was no camera, no pictures, and no need for pants. But there was one barrier: It was invite-only.
In a way, this made it feel like you needed a golden ticket to get into Clubhouse, but in July 2021, the app was open for anyone to join without an invitation. By that point, it felt like no one cared. The hype had died down, and the app seems to have disappeared from the public eye. Now that we’re two years removed from the initial buzz, we‘re left to wonder why no one is talking about — or talking on— Clubhouse.
The Rise of Clubhouse
Maybe it was luck, and the app launched at the right time, but Clubhouse’s popularity begins around March 2020 when the iOS app launched. By May 2020, it was assessed to be worth $100 million and was backed by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, but it only had about 5,000 users by this time.
That’s a lot of money, but not a lot of users. However, the people who were on the platform were big names like Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Hart. This would draw attention to the platform, but many people heard of the app when Elon Musk tweeted that he’d be going on Clubhouse in January 2021. This created a lot of buzz around the new social network, particularly during a time when people were locked indoors during the winter months of a pandemic.
All the people who wanted to get into the club were mostly out of luck. At that point, the platform was in a beta version, and people needed to get an invitation.
Like any cool club in real life, there was a level of exclusivity. People were searching for invites, and even though there were 2 million people using the service in January 2021 there were a lot of people looking to get in.
Leaving the Club
The social network was open to everyone in July 2021, no invite needed, but by this point many people had overstayed their welcome…