Hello, friends of Buffet. Have you heard of Clubhouse? It’s very likely yes, because at the beginning of Feb one of the most famous guys in tech/the world—Elon Musk—decided to host a “room” on the year-old social networking app. As with anything he touches, Clubhouse skyrocketed. The number of users doubled. Tongues wagged and brands piled in. So should you be using it for yours? Here’s our take:

What is it, exactly?
There are two things to know: it’s an audio-only social networking app and it’s invite-only. (As a user, you’ve got just two to pass on.) Once invited, you can sign up and pick a “room”. Rooms are live and interactive, much like talkback radio or a conference call, only there could be 3,000 people on the line. After the room is closed, that’s it! The conversation disappears forever. Kinda like Snapchat, but with sound.

Why should you be interested?
The most interesting thing, IMO, is how users from all corners are making it their own. In China, the app has opened up a space for free expression and broaching political taboos. It also feels worlds away from the Instagram/Twitter echo chamber, something addressed in a room I joined on sustainable agriculture—where a senior NASA scientist and a farmer from northern England hashed it out, without ever devolving into a ‘comment war.’ Sure, there’s a loooot of shite on there. But overall, it’s an extremely interesting and refreshing corner of the internet to be on right now, especially as a brand. Here’s why...

Why and how should my brand be using this?

Being an early adopter is always a good place to be in because (a) you're getting in before it becomes too crowded, and (b) you're finding new ways to communicate and connect your customer. Win, win. Also. On signing up, you’re prompted to select areas of interest, which helps the app serve you what you want to see. The result? A powerful tool for your brand to connect with customers in your niche. Imagine, for example, hosting a Clubhouse with your restaurateur friends, from Hong Kong to Paris on innovating through ongoing COVID-19 restrictions or the next trendy herb. The options are endless, and as we found, sometimes very weird.

Nik To, Co-Director
Room joined: Will AI robots kill us all?
The takeaway: Just thought I’d (virtually) step into a random room with a random topic. So, Fiona, a robotics engineer, was talking to the room about consulting psychologists whenever she and her team program the artificial intelligence in their robots. This allows the robots to act ‘natural’ and show more emotion so that they can interact more realistically with humans. Creepy.

Molly Urquhart, Content Editor
Room joined: I made my own 🙃
The takeaway: The UX was a little hard to get used to at first, but I eventually got into chatting with Buffet Content Editor, Gemma, for all of 30-seconds before jumping off. Baby steps. The idea of trying to talk to a large group of people with Something To Say is just about my worst nightmare, but I can see the value of having access directly to the brands or celebs I care to listen to. Live chatting with your customers is about as intimate and direct as it gets, really.

Rose Howard, Content Editor
Room joined: A few
The takeaway: My bookmarked culinary/cultural chat was pegged for 3:00AM, so onto the feed I go. First up, NYU girls roasting tech guys: a bar simulation, which was lol and kinda like eavesdropping on someone else’s 15-way phone call...with 4,000 others. Also scrolled were hardcore niches like having people read bedtime stories, chats with famous founders, creative upskill lessons, big ideas and even a psychedelic quiet room. I’ll be back.

The overall verdict? There are a few ideas cooking up in our corner, and you’ll likely catch us hosting our own rooms over the coming months. Watch this space. And drop us a line if you want more *thoughts* Clubhouse could work for your brand! We’re extremely here for it.

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