Are you in the Clubhouse?


Welcome to our first podcast of 2021 and the start of the second season of Everything is Brand!

This week, we talk about the new app in the house: Clubhouse! Are you in the club? What do we know about it? What’s the buzz? This new, private, invite-only social media platform is built on a couple of foundational elements: Exclusivity and fleeting content.

Is exclusivity a good thing? Is this audio-only concept rife for discrimination or bullying? Is saying what you want without any record a positive direction? Is this a space where a different kind of content can transcend?

What are your thoughts? Listen to this week’s episode of Everything Is Brand.

This episode was recorded on January 8th, 2021.

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Transcript

Brad Breininger:

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the first podcast for 2021 of Everything is Brand new. And today we want to talk a little bit about new social media channels, particularly one that’s up and coming and getting a lot of buzz, which is called Clubhouse. And the question is, are you in the club? So we see a lot of social media. There’s a lot going on in social media right now, guys. And I guess the question is this new Clubhouse social media app? What do we know about it? What don’t we know about it? What are we hearing about it? What’s the buzz?

Gabi Gomes:

So I first heard about Clubhouse in one of my mom groups on Facebook when somebody reached out and wanted an invitation to it. And I think everybody’s FOMO kind of kicked in. And I started to look into Clubhouse. So essentially, Clubhouse currently, right now is an invite only audio app, they have live chat rooms. So think about it almost like a podcast that you can participate in. And there are various topics. Well known people are obviously in it, you’ve got Drake, you’ve got Oprah is already in there. And currently, it’s by invite only, you only get one invite for it. So they have plans of obviously going public with it. But right now they’re trying to build a community slowly. And they also try to work on things in terms of features that can handle the larger number of people that are obviously going to be going into it but it opens up the question of this. Oh, and one other major thing that it does is content those away, so it’s not recorded, these conversations aren’t saved anywhere, etc. So you know, you’re there or and you participate, or you’ll lose it. Right. So this, there’s a couple of themes that are coming out of this particular app, and one is exclusivity. And the other one is this fleeting content, this be there in the moment or lose it. Right. So those are kind of two prevalent things. And obviously, the biggest one is the audio factor. Right?

Brad Breininger:

Yeah. The question to all of this is, is exclusivity a good thing? I mean, is it is that really giving structure to all the voices that should be participating? So that’s one question we can ask ourselves. And then the other question is, is this audio only fleeting content concept rife for discrimination, bullying, racism? I mean, is it an opportunity for people to just say whatever they want to say, without any consequences? Because there’s no record of it?

Gabi Gomes:

Well, that is one of the things that they’ve seen happen with it so far. The lack of moderation, right? There’s no pause button, there’s no rewind, there’s no, like on TV where you can press a button, blah, blah, there’s there’s no moderation. So they are working through issues like that. And we have seen, obviously, when people speak, sometimes they don’t have a filter on them. And things get said, right. So that’s causing issues as well. That will be something I mean, let’s not look further than Mr. You know, who is south of the border, who still happens to be president for another few few days? Right? Don’t we all wish we could pause him so many times. But that is an issue that is an issue for sure. I don’t know how it’s going to be addressed. I don’t see anybody, even news organizations having addressed that adequately?

Brad Breininger:

Yeah. It’s it’s an interesting concept, this idea that, that you’re taking a podcast and basically Snapchat and marrying them together, and putting it out there into a world that is already a little weary and gun shy of some bad issues that are going on. And this seems like a little bit of a breeding place to allow for even more of it. Did the rest of you agree with this? Or is this my take on something that could be causing a little bit of an issue?

Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC:

Yeah, and I believe they are in this exclusivity or private mode so far, because they must be testing those things right. Not just the servers and the capacity, but also the behavior of people. Because I’ve already seen, it’s all over Twitter that there are people complaining about racism, there are people complaining about a bunch of negative things. So they must be testing that too. It’s not just testing how the app works, but how people behave, which is part of what you said, right?

Brad Breininger:

Yeah, testing humanity.

Gabi Gomes:

Jer, you were going to say something?

Jeremy Linskill:

No, I was gonna go more into the line of like, I don’t know that they’ve even gotten there yet. But I guess I mean, like Christian saying, if he’s hearing it over Twitter, then then I guess the cases are happening, but from the stuff that I’ve read around it, I mean, really, they’re just trying to manage the population and the growth, like, one of the stats that I saw was sort of at the beginning of September, it had 3500 people on it, and by the end or sorry of the beginning of December, and then by the end of December, they’re at 600,000. So it’s grown exponentially pretty fast. And I think they’re just trying to get a handle on that more than anything, I think it’s a deal. At the end of the day, I think it’s a science cast really, from what I read around the news and things like that, it’s, they found a new space, right, like Instagram photos, and all that kind of stuff. And then it’s now they found audio as sort of this option. And one of the benefits again, that I heard was, really, you don’t have to get up and get dressed and put on clothes or anything, you could be walking around the grocery store and be participating in this sort of conversations kind of thing. And, and really, it’s this idea of multitasking, that allows it allows people to do as well that you can be doing multiple things at the same time. And a they’re participating in it or just listening, right, you don’t have to participate, you may not even get an option to participate. Sometimes, you know, you raise your hand or whatever, inside the app, and somebody has to pick you to come up on stage. So I think there’s a lot of things at play here. And it’ll be interesting to see where it goes. I mean, I’m, I’m kind of skeptical of it a little bit in the fact of like, right now, it’s great, because it is a smaller population. But any ideas I guess people outside of that don’t have the skills to get exposed to somebody with a certain set of skills. But I just see that eventually down the road. It’s just gonna be a roomful of people with the same skills talking amongst themselves. So and I don’t know if it’s going to have the same impact. Yeah, I’m interest. my curiosity is piqued I’ve asked for an invite. We’ll see what happens. I’m skeptical of joining.

Gabi Gomes:

Who here has already signed up? Right? Who here has already signed up for?

Brad Breininger:

There’s invites for sale too. I mean, Christian, you raise this morning that people are offering invites for $150? Seems pretty cheap. Yeah, not too bad. But you know, one of the the big cultural questions that this raises is, and we’ve seen this with Twitter, with Facebook, with Instagram, where, you know, you have a lot of tech folks who are coming up with these ideas of humans to connect without thinking of the consequences of what that connection is going to cause. And this is where I think it dovetails with brand. And what we do, and brand is all about reputation. It’s all about promise. It’s all about who you are in the marketplace. And I think that these platforms, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or even this new one clubhouse, it really raises the question, is the platform and the medium? Is it the real message? Or is what happens on it after with less rules, or less policing, or less involvement from legislation and things like that? Is it opening up a forum for discussion? Or is it opening up a forum for hate speech and fighting amongst ourselves? And, you know, are we taking into account the tech, which is the tech is great, what about the outcome?

Jeremy Linskill:

But I think part of it, like if we are always so concerned about all of these dark areas, or whatever we want to call them, like nothing is ever going to change a little bit. And I think that part of it is like people just have to, people are experimenting, and seeing where things go. And not, I don’t know, I sit there and I think about all the rules of everything. Frankly, I don’t think anything’s gonna happen. Like, I’m gonna just talk myself out of doing something. I think part of it is just putting it out there. And then it’s, it’s an agent for change, like I think it’s, it’s causing us to move and adjust the humankind as well, and living for the better and becoming better people that are human.

Brad Breininger:

Let me ask this question, though. How do we deal with the issue, that representation might not be across the board on this? So we’re in a testing phase right now. And they have people like Oprah Winfrey, and celebrities and people with money and people with influence? But where are the voices of the people who don’t have that level of influence? Or the or the people who don’t have that kind of plug in? Are we testing something and trying to get a sense of something from a brand and communication perspective, without truly having a range of people involved?

Jeremy Linskill:

I think the reality is, it’s like it’s the celebrities on art aren’t on there, nobody else is going to join, you never get to the point to the place where everybody wants to be a part of it without starting at the top right. And I agree with you, I mean, a celebrity to me is just another person, the end of the day, they’re not any more an expert in something or listening to them, but certain things. But I think the reality is is we are humans in general are a bunch of followers in a sense. They go where everybody else is, in order for people to join the fast, you got to have other people under you want to be around.

Gabi Gomes:

One of the things that I’ve seen with the invites happening, at least in my groups that I’m on is people who have invites or giving invites to those in the BIPOC and visible minority communities, etc. So there there is always good happening, going back to the bad of it. I mean, when the model, was it, the the Ford Model T car was invented, and blah, blah, blah. Did we have speed limits at that time? Did we have speed tickets? Probably not. And so as with everything with technology, sometimes it needs to go out there to find out what the rules are going to be about it. And yes, that takes time and damage. Do I wish that lawmakers were a little bit more faster when it came to platforms and technologies? Yes. But inevitably, that’s, that’s just the way the world works, put it out there. Find out the pitfalls and put laws around it. Now, I think one of the things that we haven’t talked about are really the pros of this thing. People and topics no longer is a just a community of CEOs talking about one particular topic, right? Anybody and everybody can walk into that room to learn and grow. And I think this is where it’s a breeding ground for thought leadership, if used correctly, if done right, this can really accelerate this can really get people from all walks of life, all different levels of knowledge, or expertise or industry together talking about one thing and learn from each other. So that really appeals to me, I think there’s an opportunity for brands, and one of the reasons I want to be on there is just to see how everybody’s using it, to figure out how brands can best leverage platforms like that, right. But no doubt, Oprah is probably on there talking about her topics that she’s and probably learning about other things from up and coming people as well. Right?

Marko Zonta:

That’s the interesting part about this model. Is it going to give influencers like Oprah and other people who have a huge following? Is it going to give them another voice? And brands will actually pay them to to speak about their services, their products? and things like that, promoting them that way? Or will the platform actually evolve and open this channel to corporate brands, when we’re corporate brands will be able to create rooms and all kinds of other things. So that’s going to be really interesting to see. Because obviously, every social platform, that’s where they struggle the most with, so we build it, we get people to join it. But then how do we make money, right? So so there is going to be that element that will come down the road. But how that actually evolves is going to be really, really interesting. Because it’s it’s going to be an opportunity for brands. But how will they actually take advantage of it? I think is the real question.

Gabi Gomes:

Here’s my futuristic view. It’ll probably be ads people, it’ll probably be

Jeremy Linskill:

Our room’s brought to you by…. That raises a really big question. And the question is, for all of you is, do we need another social media platform? I mean, it is this? Is this advantageous? Either for brands and for the conversation? Or is it a distraction from everything else that’s going on? Or, you know, the third part of that question is, is this an evolution? Are we simply evolving, and some of those other social media platforms will fall away? What do you guys think? Yeah, I think evolution is a good term for it. I mean, I think as we’re, you know, we’re going forward in the brand space, we’re seeing much more in terms of video and audio, and less about the type two word kind of thing because it is it’s more efficient to say something and and type it, write it down, kind of thing. So I think that this is an evolution. I mean, I that’s from all the stuff I read again, it’s they found the audio space, they found in everything that’s out there. There’s nothing in the audio space right now. And so that’s what they’re This is the evolution of the podcast, right? Ultimately, as well, where that’s recorded,

Gabi Gomes:

Twitter for that matter, like, you know, an audio Twitter conversations happen on Twitter, back and forth.

Brad Breininger:

You know, it’s interesting to see that, Gabby, because one of the one of the issues with Twitter and even Facebook in the past has been that there has been interpretations of what was being typed. And, and the good thing about video and audio is that it provides context, because whether it’s tonality or body language, or any of those kinds of things, you’re adding another factor to what people are saying. So it provides a lot deeper context than just the written word does that can be taken, you know, multiple different ways.

Marko Zonta:

And I think another element that it adds is this element of casualness. And I think that over the last few years, we’ve seen that in social channels like written pictures, anything like that, how it’s I guess that entire conversation or exchange is becoming more and more casual in the sense that people are less worried about having a perfect picture or having a perfect everything. And I think that would the voice audio component. It’s even more casual. And I think that’s, I think, quite interesting how, you know, people are people and brands, and they’re a little bit less concerned about perfection and more about context and content.

Brad Breininger:

I think a lot of people won’t miss the unrealistic expectations that Instagram has created. So, you know, in a way, this feels like a little bit of a holiday from all that crap.

Gabi Gomes:

Yeah, the other thing we haven’t really talked about is the fact that this stuff doesn’t hang around, this stuff’s gone. It’s the Snapchat version, it disappears. And I think to Marko’s point on Instagram might have been the pitfall of over perfecting our photos and what not, because it’s going to be up there forever, right? And this goes away like Snapchat. So I think there’s an element there in terms of adult care, not I don’t care, but I’m less concerned, because it’s going to go away now. Being me. I never believe that anything is gone from the web. Basically, when it’s up there, I think it lives on some server forever and ever. So be careful what you put out there. That’s always my motto. But what about that, that? Have we become just a disposable society where we just you know, just throw it away? Is this where it’s going? Where nothing’s kind of gonna stick around and

Brad Breininger:

look at the plastics washing up on the ocean? I think that ship sailed A while ago.

Gabi Gomes:

Right? So what is it about that? And that really intrigues? I think, younger? I don’t know that there’s a specific demographic actually, that that appeals to the fleeting content. But what about that is, is intriguing, there’s a bit of that FOMO coming back, right? Oh, I gotta be in this room to talk about this, or else I’m gonna miss it.

Marko Zonta:

It’s interesting that you say that because on the other hand, it’s no different than going to a party or meeting up with friends or somebody and you are at a bar or wherever you are, you’re having a conversation. And after a couple hours of being with those people you need, you don’t have a recording, you don’t have you have your memories. And that’s that’s as far as it goes. Right.

Brad Breininger:

Some the stories from those situations last for years and years in friend groups, don’t they? So from a brand perspective, I mean, I think that there’s several things going on here. There’s the, you know, the fleeting content. And I want to talk about that in a little bit more detail. Because I think Gabi and Marko you brought up really good sides to that argument. The issue here is that we have been told time and time again over the last, let’s say, 10 to 20 years, that it’s all about content, we have to build content, we have to maximize content, we have to leverage content. And now we’re seeing these situations where content is becoming fleeting. Does this go against everything that we’ve been talking about for the last, you know, however many years about the importance of content? Is it about creating a content library? Or is it about creating a conversation?

Gabi Gomes:

Well, I have a feeling Google’s probably on that already. Because it goes against Google’s algorithm in terms of search, whatnot, but I’m sure Google’s got something up their sleeve to work with stuff that’s running away, quickly, are only there for a short amount of time, I would look out for Google to address that.

Brad Breininger:

So Google’s now the decider in these things?

Marko Zonta:

Quite frankly, I think that it’s more than Google. There’s other companies, Apple, Amazon, all of those companies, they are all very focused on voice, voice control, voice recognition, all of that stuff. That is where a lot of research and development is happening. So I think that that’s really just a perfect marriage of where some of those technologies are going, and what comes most natural to people. And that is a conversation, right? So I’m quite certain that those companies are investing very heavily into this new way of creating content and consuming content.

Christian Rosenthal | ZYNC:

If you think about it, that phrase “content is king” has been around since I want to say 1996. And there’s so much content being produced right now that I think we are evolving to that relationship, we are evolving to that engagement. So I want to say that that’s what’s going on right now. So it’s not just a matter of producing content. It’s a matter of how people consume it.

Jeremy Linskill:

There’s sort of a couple things here. Like, I mean, I think, you know, from a data perspective, if we think of all of the data that’s being stored now, for everything that we’re doing, I mean, it’s just it’s insane, right? So this gets away from that a little bit. This gets us from into this mindset of like, it’s there, and then it’s gone. And we’re not storing this data farms often, you know, the Antarctic or whatever. So there’s that. And I think like, that’s a big part of it, but I also think that going back to conversation, it allows these things to weed out the people that aren’t really experts in things in some weird way. Because, you know, if you’re going out there and you’re researching stuff, and you’re writing it down, and you’re putting it up on your website, that doesn’t mean you’re an expert, it means that you’re really good at copying and pasting, right. Whereas being in a conversation in the, in the moment, talking about something, and being able to offer a valued opinion, that shows that you’re an expert. And I think that’s a big part of this, I think that it’s going to allow the people that actually know what they’re talking about, to kind of rise to the top in all.

Marko Zonta:

Yeah, I think that that’s a really interesting point. And I kind of want to bring it back to brands and potentially where brands could really use this to their advantage is brands, quite frankly, are experts in whatever, you know, they’re focused on whatever their product is, whatever their services. So this may actually be a great way to actually put their experts into this space where anybody can access them. And you know, whether it’s for learning purposes, training purposes, just sharing information, from that point of view, this could potentially open a whole new channel or way of getting some of that knowledge out to people who are interested. I mean, it’s a kind of a silly comparison. But if you don’t know how to fix something in your house, you go on YouTube, and you watch videos, right? Right, this would be another way of actually getting in front of those experts who are willing to share their knowledge. And I think that this could potentially be a great opportunity for a lot of those companies or experts that have that knowledge.

Gabi Gomes:

I do think they’re trying to steer the conversation to bigger conversations more in that thought leadership, space, or, you know, on bigger topics than the How to, I do think that that’s where, from everything that I’ve read, where they’re trying to steer conversations to, but with, everything evolves, and you never know where, where it’s gonna go,

Brad Breininger:

Yeah, that’s a really good point, Gabi, you know, if you if you look at Tiktok, for example, what’s happened with Tick Tock in the space of a year, I mean, it wasn’t even in the conversation a year ago, or, you know, a year and a half ago, and now it’s probably the most used and visited social media platform or one of them. And I think that this brings up several issues. Number one, is that the tech drives the foray of these platforms into the marketplace and into humanity. But it’s ultimately humanity, who decides how it’s going to be used. So we rely on the tech to kind of bring it forward. And then we have to decide does this fit with where we’re going? And does it add any value. And I think that, you know, over time, we’ve seen the advantages of the other platforms like Facebook, or Instagram. And we’ve also seen, the not so good side of what it can do, and, and really, the walls that, that some of these platforms have put up some of the bullying that these platforms have caused. But then on the other side of that, there’s all of these huge advantages where there are these conversations going on, that never happened before. There are people who can participate in these conversations that never had access before. So there are dark sides and light sides to everything. And from a brand perspective, what we’re most concerned about is communication. brand is all about communication. It’s all about making sure that there’s a conversation happening, how those conversations evolve, and where brands can participate is a big part of it. And one of the things I think that’s going to have to happen here, as these conversations become more and more focused, and more and more targeted, and less and less tracked, and less and less kept, brands are going to have to consider where do we fit in this, the old way of selling, the old way of advertising is going to have to evolve along with these. So it’s not just the conversations or the humanity part of it. It’s also the corporate and brand part of it. If they want to participate in these platforms, they have to find a way to do it, that fits with the platform and fits with the conversation. And it really reiterates this idea that that we put out into the marketplace, which is everything is brand and and it really is because those conversations are going to be important if you’re going to want your brand to remember to be remembered in a platform like clubhouse, where there’s no record, you might not have the loudest voice in the room, you’re gonna have to come up and be really creative about how you come to the conversation. And I think that that’s true of brands. And it’s also true of all of us as individuals. So if we get our invitation and we’re allowed to participate, these are the kinds of things that we’re going to have to be thinking of and, and it’s funny because 1020 years ago in the club meant something very different than I think it’s going to mean in the next year so his club has starts to make its foray into the social media platforms. So let’s get into club if we can. Guys let me know if you get your invitation and you know I have 150 bucks right here to buy one if you’re if you’re offering but remember everyone you know what Clubhouse is coming along but other things are coming along and in 2021 we are going to show you even more why everything is brand