What happened to Clubhouse, the application that redefined the concept of “hype” for the good and (above all) the bad

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“Social audio is a fad,” said Twitter Spaces as it stuck its blue logo into our pupils. What is social audio? Are you asking me that? A fashion is you. Who is no longer fashion, nor trend, nor “new communication paradigm that is going to change everything”, as these eyes came to read, is Clubhouse, the application that will appear named in the definition of ‘hype‘ in the encyclopedia, between ‘hydra’ and ‘hypo’.

Clubhouse, although it was created more than a year earlier, broke out in January 2021, when it was not on the social network of live voice broadcasts it amounted to little less than being a nerd. Suddenly it seemed that everything was cooking there, a feeling that multiplied when heavyweights like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg or Naval Ravikant chatted there in February.

A presence that attracted various professional sectors, being the marketer the most prominent. Any given night snooping around the Clubhouse served to find dozens and dozens of rooms talking about marketing, the Clubhouse itself, or a mixture of both. Hard to compete like that in the attention economy.

Within a few weeks of its viral success, Clubhouse began to wind down.

in spin

Initially, Clubhouse was not going to be exactly what it was after. Its founders, Paul Davison and Rohan Seth, when they developed it in 2019, did so under the name of TalkShow and with an idea more similar to traditional podcasts. Then it evolved into live audio rooms.

The hype by Clubhouse was explosive in January 2021… but it didn’t take long for him to get a puncture

A few months after being launched, in May 2020 and in a context of harsh confinement due to the pandemic, Clubhouse managed to raise a financing round of 10 million dollars. Crumbs compared to what he achieved for December of that same year: another 100 million dollars.

Right after that injection, Clubhouse rose to fame. Its closed system with invitations helped it take off. Let’s not forget that there are those They were selling invitations for hundreds of dollars on eBay.. The idea of ​​chatting live, often in an almost improvised way, with people similar to our interests and ideas, sparked enough interest to monopolize conversations about technology and social media.

Club House

The invite-only access system helped FOMO work in Clubhouse’s favor.

The leap from being an exclusive iOS application to being open to Android came in May 2021, when its popularity had already fallen. That launch made his laurels green again, but its effect did not take long to dilute. Nor did it succeed in the summer, when the company ended the invitation system and allowed anyone to sign up for it.

Clubhouse started the year with more than 10 million followers and a valuation of $4 billion, but its run-in saw it finish far from the top of the most downloaded app charts.

For nougats, Clubhouse was no longer on almost anyone’s lips. In less than a year it multiplied its valuation by forty, at the end of 2022 it is unknown how much it is valued.

Because as if that weren’t enough, with the loss of interest in the format, the one that remains has been capitalized on by Twitter, which is not the really massive social network that Instagram or TikTok are, but wins by a landslide in terms of influence: it’s the tweets of politicians and celebrities who appear on the news. His Spaces, although they have not been a great viral triumph, have monopolized followers of the format. Others tried to jump on the bandwagon, like Spotify with GreenRoom, without success.

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Twitter Spaces are there while we use the app and it’s easy to be exposed to them. In the Clubhouse you have to actively search for the rooms, determine which ones are interesting, and access them. Too much time and effort in the attention economy to be rewarded.

To make matters worse, the rooms often lost several initial minutes in “hello, can you hear?”, “come on, let’s see if Joaquín comes, he has written to me and it seems that he has connection problems”, and other uncomfortable conversations that shook the patience of someone who did not have so much conviction in the channel.

The platform got bigger and bigger, but it failed to maintain the interest of the users it had managed to attract, nor did it have a quick path to monetization.

Pivoting towards the private

In the time that has passed since the deflating of the hype From Clubhouse until today, something has changed in the mass of users who continue to use the application: what is usual in his faithful are no longer large audio rooms with a few transmitters and many listeners, but small and private rooms, that do not appear in public view, where controlled groups chat among themselves in a more intimate way.

This change in internal trend has motivated the company to create what they call housesa specific function for this type of use that was announced in August, currently in beta.

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This, as revealed by the company to xataka, means that there are users of the application who spend between 70 and 80 minutes a day inside the Clubhouse. The company has not wanted to reveal its current number of monthly active users, nor, as we requested in the event that it is not a public figure, a comparison with respect to that of the beginning of 2021.

They do point out instead thatThe workforce has gone from nine people to “almost 100”, and that they continue to hire in positions related to engineering, product and design. In July, Engadget revealed that the company had undertaken some layoffs as part of a restructuring of its workforce, without specifying the amount.

A search through the newspaper library allows us to get an idea of ​​the evolution of this figure:

March 2020: Nine employees.

February 2021: twelve employees.

October 2021:about 80 employees“.

July 2022: “More than 70 employees.”

November 2022: “Almost 100 employees.”

On LinkedIn there are 210 people who have indicated that they currently work there, although a quick look at some profiles suggests that the popularity of this name has led to many of them working or being involved in projects with the same name, but not with this company. . So we can only keep that “almost 100 employees.”

“Social audio is a fad,” said Twitter Spaces as it stuck its blue logo into our pupils. What is social…

“Social audio is a fad,” said Twitter Spaces as it stuck its blue logo into our pupils. What is social…

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