If you're reading this then I'm assuming that you have either heard of clubhouse or are actually in on the action. If not, here's a great blog about what clubhouse actually is and why it's making so much noise. For this blog, I'm going to dive in on my own observations and journey throughout clubhouse. To start, I'm a wedding photographer based in State College, Pa, and I've been on clubhouse for a little over a month now and have a pretty good idea on what this new social media app is and how I can make the most out of it, or really how any creative can make the most out of it. Let's start with my overarching belief, If You Are Not On Clubhouse Then You Are Missing Out. Yeah, I said it. You are definitely missing out if you aren't at least listening to the rich conversations that are being held. Clubhouse is most definitely the place to be right now. Somewhere my wife is rolling her eyes at me because she knows that I hate following trends and am very contrarian in may ways, but not with clubhouse. Like with any social media platforms, you need to have a strategy to navigating clubhouse. So Here are my 5 tips on how creatives can navigate clubhouse to get the most out of it.
#1 Don't stay in your lane!
I know what you are thinking, but everyone says to stay in your lane. Yes, under normal circumstances this would be correct. As a wedding photographer, if I'm worrying about what every other wedding photographer in state college is doing, then I'm not focusing on my own business and my artistry. However, clubhouse is the exception. This is a case where minding other people's business is actually a good thing. Clubhouse is full of industry leaders and experts in their field. These are people that I would have otherwise have never had the chance to learn from, or even interact with unless I've seen them at a conference or taken any of their courses. For example, I've been in several rooms with Kesha Lambert, who is an international and award-winning wedding photographer, Sony Artisan Of Imagery, and PPA Board Member. In short, she is one bad-ass photographer who is just killing it in the game. And I sat in a room that she moderated yesterday, titled "Law Talk For Photographers". To say she was dropping suggest is an understatement.
And then this morning, I was in another room full of people that I've never heard of. The title of the room was "Today in Tech: Google with another anti-trust lawsuit". Being in this room, I quickly realized that I didn't belong, but I stayed and am sure glad that I did. I learned so much about Google and it's affiliate Alphabet. I learned about how and why China has the largest middle-class in the world. I learned about ethics in artificial intelligence and real life ramifications of how companies try and silence those who speak out. And I learned that linear algebra is a thing. There was some much information to consume and half of it I had no clue what the hell they were talking about, but it was rich and educational. As an explorer of knowledge and information, I love that I can just hop into a room and just gain knowledge for knowledge sake. Then I can dissect that knowledge and learn how to apply it to my own industry and/or life. And that was just one of the many rooms that I've just sat and listened. It's like being a literal fly on the wall of a boardroom meeting.
And this is why staying in your lane on clubhouse can be a crutch. Clubhouse is a space where experts from all walks of life are just talking, evermore, you can talk back. It's a place full of rich dialogue that can help grow your business and creativity. Clubhouse has allowed me to expand both my creative network within my industry, and engaging in other industries as well. So for this I say, DON'T STAY IN YOUR LANE!
#2 It's okay to just listen!
We all know that people like to flex on social media. Yes, flexing has it's own time and place. There are moments where you want to grow your following to draw more traffic to your website or online shop. And there are moments where you think people need to hear your voice. I get it, I understand. But clubhouse is not the place for that. It's not the place for you to show everyone that you are the most knowledgeable all the time. In fact, didn't your mama tell you that nobody likes a no it all? That's the same for clubhouse. No one wants to listen to the same people disseminating the same information over and over again. In fact, people get bored and just move to another room. So don't try to always be the expert. Engage in fruitful conversations. Even have healthy debates on topics. Or just sit and listen. Show that you are willing to learn from others as much as you'd like others to learn from you. I feel that humility is the best marketing plan for this social media app.
#3 Take the information with a grain of salt!
We all know that where there are experts then there are imposters. In my field of wedding photography, I can determine in just a few minutes whether the person talking actually knows what they are talking about or if they are just blowing hot air. That's because it's my industry and in some circles, I'm considered an expert in my industry. What about the other industries? I don't know who the tech giants are; I have no clue where the social media experts live; or even the who's who in the film and media industry. I simply don't exist in those worlds. Therefore, if I want to sit in those rooms, I'm listening with a hint of skepticism. I'm taking in everything with a grain of salt. Without vetting these people, it's unhealthy to believe what they are saying is credible. However, one thing that I do value is other people's validation. While you are in these rooms you will quickly see who is being validated for their knowledge and/or status in their field and who is not. If enough people are validating that person, then I'm more likely to think that there is some credibility in what they are sharing. Another form of validation is that Clubhouse allows users to link their instagram and twitter profiles. This makes it very easy to vet people while they are talking. I've literally sat in rooms where people were talking and someone interrupted with "but on twitter you said this". Eek!!! If there is one thing that is in common with all social media apps, it's that you can't hide on the internet.
#4 Follow the people who provide value!
Another way of ensuring that you are engaging in spaces where people are sharing valid and accurate information is to follow the people that you've already vetted. While in clubhouse, if I like what the moderators are saying then I'll follow them. If I like the topic of the room and it's providing a space of rich and informational dialogue, then I'll follow it. When there are others on the stage that are dropping gems, then I'll follow them as well. As I continue to follow people that provide me with value, I'm expanding my own network. Since I've been on clubhouse, I've followed tech entrepreneurs, artificial intelligence engineers, fashion moguls, brand strategist, world renown photographers, and the list goes on. But I don't just stop there. As others are providing me with value, I feel obligated to do the same. Clubhouse is place to exchange knowledge and ideas and I love it!
#5 Clubhouse can lead to burnout
I know you've heard the saying that you can have "too much of a good thing", or how about "all things in moderation". Either one can definitely be applied to clubhouse. Just like people can get addicted to instagram or Facebook, people can get addicted to clubhouse. Since clubhouse is a mobile app and I already know that we all have a poor relationship with our mobile devices, it's so easy to listen all the time. You can listen in the shower; on your commute to work; while you're in the office or at your desk; during your lunch break; while you're eating dinner; and on your way to sleep. Then the next time you look up, you've realized that you've been on clubhouse for 12 hours. Yes, I remember saying that clubhouse is where the party is, but just like New York City, clubhouse is the app that never sleeps. People on this app are located all around the world. They exist in multiple time zones. There is never a dull moment on clubhouse. So do yourself a favor, if you are new to clubhouse or have been in clubhouse for a few months now, manage your time on clubhouse. In fact, while I was writing this article, I took my own advice and set my own time limits for clubhouse. It would be a good idea for you to do the same.
What are your tips
As mentioned before, these are just some of my tips on how I've used clubhouse within the past month. What are some of your tips? What do you think about the app? Be sure to leave your thoughts win the comments below.