Clubhouse: Come Inside, It’s Fun Inside

Posted on January 27, 2021

Clubhouse app logo

Today’s Morning Buzz is by Kirsten Wyatt (LinkedIn & Twitter). If you’re interested in a Clubhouse invite (and if you’re an iOS user), send her a text to 919-225-2961.

I recently joined the Clubhouse app and it’s been an interesting couple of weeks trying it out and learning more about it. Here are some of my initial takeaways and some ideas for how ELGL and local governments might use the tool. (And yes, as a parent, I’m unable to talk about Clubhouse without singing the Mickey’s Clubhouse theme song. Apologies in advance if you get that song stuck in your head too…)

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is a new drop-in audio chat application. Currently invite-only and only available to iOS customers, it’s essentially audio chat in a podcast-like format.

It’s like a podcast and talk radio had a baby, and that baby is Clubhouse.

How does it work?

When you open the app you can see “rooms” full of people talking about different specified subjects. Every room is open so you can hop in and out, exploring different conversations. In the different rooms, people are telling stories, asking questions, debating, learning, and having conversations on thousands of different topics.

A user has the ability to join these different rooms, or to follow different people and clubs to get a notification when they are online and have started a room conversation.

There’s a robust search feature so you can find other users and clubs talking about things that are interesting to you. (One ELGL member said she stumbled into a room that was for “Peloton & air fryer enthusiasts” – so you can find people to talk about almost anything.)

Here’s the new user guide with additional information about how to use the app.

How will ELGL use Clubhouse?

Currently, ELGL is convening weekly conversations about local government topics. These happen at 4:00 PT/7:00 ET on Tuesdays. You can follow me (@govlove) to get notified when these rooms are scheduled and are open and everyone is welcome to participate.

We’ve also submitted a request to create a “Local Government” club – a stand-alone room that users can follow and engage in with other people who are interested in towns, cities, counties, and districts.

Looking ahead, we can see using Clubhouse to continue conversations with our GovLove podcasts guests – similar to a Q&A after an episode airs.

We’re also planning to weave Clubhouse rooms into our #ELGLPopUps agendas so people can attend a virtual session, and then head to Clubhouse to chat and hang out and talk about it.

And, I can see us hosting some virtual happy hours for fellowship and camaraderie (especially since Supper Clubs are on hold right now due to the pandemic). Mostly, ELGL sees Clubhouse as yet another option for engagement and member connections and we’ll continue to explore ways we can use it.

How might local governments use Clubhouse?

This is an interesting question and one that has come up in all of ELGL’s Clubhouse conversations thus far. Some ideas that have been shared:

  • As a forum for elected officials to have conversations with community members
  • As a way for staff to do outreach and engagement, and ask questions of community members
  • For networking, so local government employees can have a conversation, bounce ideas off of each other, and get feedback on ideas
  • As yet another tool in an engagement toolbox that strives to meet people where they are on the apps they’re using. Given Clubhouse’s rising popularity, familiarity with it is important especially if your community members are already using it.

Questions? Ideas?

I’d love to hear your questions and ideas about Clubhouse and how local government might use it. Share with me on Twitter or even better – sign up to attend the next Tuesday Clubhouse conversation with ELGL and other local government leaders!

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