Note: This article was not written or endorsed by Christelyn Karazin, Nicole or any other writers on the blog.
We have been on a journey about negative experiences on Clubhouse, in two different blog posts. You might think that I am just being miserable, but I promise you that I am not the only person who has noticed the low vibrational content on this app. People are sharing their complaints all over Reddit: you can see examples here and here. I also see a lot of rooms on Clubhouse discussing the situation as well. I have two examples below, but I guarantee you that I have seen at least a dozen rooms with a similar topic. (Names are redacted to protect the innocent.)
That said, I hope that I haven’t completely scared people away from the platform. I do think that there is still a lot of promise within the application. I would now like to share how I work to game the Clubhouse Algorithm and create the best experience for myself on the app. I won’t lie to you, I did watch Kendall St. Charles’ Facebook live videos discussing the platform, and her tips were really helpful. I have her tips in mind, plus tips that I learned from speaking with other people and navigating the app for myself. I hope you enjoy the post.
In case you are unfamiliar with the Clubhouse app, let me give you a quick summary. Clubhouse is the audio-only app that is taking over the world. As an audial learner, I was so intrigued by a platform where I could connect with people by voice in real-time. I am so intellectually stimulated by the discussions and I look forward to learning new insights and developing my skills. Facebook and Twitter have quickly identified how this new app can threaten their social media oligarchy and have started to work on their own competing platforms respectively.
The fact of the matter is that the app is getting stratified. You can’t even find clubs to join. Half the rooms on my Clubhouse hallway are locked – private to club members/followers or mutual connections of the room’s host. If you start tuning into certain rooms, you start to see more of the same. For those of you who are new to the Clubhouse train, Now, let us take some time to explore how to best leverage the Clubhouse algorithm for yourself. Let the games begin!
Are you trying to expand your network? Do you want to practice or learn new skills? Are you trying to break into a new market? Perhaps you would be interested in making a love connection. Maybe you are just interested in drama. All of that is okay – just be honest with yourself, and move accordingly. Be aware that whoever invited you, whoever you connect with, will impact what appears on your hallway and in your algorithm… and vice versa.
If you want to avoid being pulled into the black vortex of the algorithm (e.g. diaspora wars, drama, big booty discussions, moaning contests and other rooms), you will need to avoid labelling yourself as black. It depends on how dedicated you want to be to this idea. I know some people who do not have a real profile picture, use different skin colours to raise their hands in rooms, diversify their connections and avoid predominantly black rooms and clubs on the app. It can be an aggressive way to separate yourself from the black community, and enter into new ecosystems, but is this not the journey that we are all walking? Just as a reminder, I am not telling you to never connect with or engage with black people on the app. I am just telling you to find LIKE-MINDED people.
I have noticed that a lot of people are coming over the platform and sharing way too much information about themselves: where they work, their business ideas, their trauma, etcetera. It is fine sometimes in rooms with trusted people, but I am noticing already that some people are capitalizing on the opportunity. People are using the “PTR” function and sharing compromising information about people, like embarrassing pictures, phone numbers, addresses, details about family members, etcetera. (For those who are unfamiliar with the Clubhouse platform, “PTR” is an acronym of “pull to refresh.” People will make changes to their profile pictures, to share information, and then people pull down on the app page to refresh their screens and see any updates.) Others are getting death threats and phone call pranks. l The same cancel culture tactics from Twitter are starting to come onto Clubhouse, so take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. I would recommend using a middle name or use initials to make yourself less identifiable. Use group pictures or other images that are not directly tied to you. Others are complaining about the quality of help and support that they received from a “Clubhouse expert” in which they confided. I worry about people pitching ideas that they have on the app. If you do not have the business plan, trademarks and other legal protections lined up, Clubhouse is the last place to share ideas that are ripe for the picking.
The first thing that you should do on Clubhouse is to follow Christelyn Karazin. I would share Kendall St. Charles’ handle, but she has recently announced that she will not be creating any more rooms on the platform. I do not know how helpful that would be. (Update: She is still sharing a bit more on the platform, so happy listening!) If you need to connect with her, get on her e-mail list. Aside from our commander-in-chief, I think that you need to find people based on your interests. Personally, I am into podcasts, communications/ marketing, and voice work, so follow people like Marco Bernard, Amy Porterfield and Rob Paulsen. I basically went through my podcasts and YouTube subscriptions and looked for anyone who would be of interest to me within the Clubhouse app. The next step was looking for big-name motivational speakers and influencers who might be active on the platform. My interests also lean heavily on the French language and culture, as well as Quebec culture, so I look into francophone spaces and connections on Clubhouse as well.
There are so many amazing clubs on Clubhouse. I would recommend participating in the Pink Pill community on Clubhouse. Beyond that, it is really up to you. I join clubs about every topic: social media, marketing, writing, storytelling, emotional intelligence, mental health, diet and nutrition, weight loss, radio, learning French, learning Korean, podcasting, debt-free journeys, travel, geopolitics, goal setting, branding, and more. On my burner account, I enjoy debate rooms, political content, con hot-button issues, and more free speech content. There is some delightful overlap with these accounts, but the club experiences have been great. I would highly recommend joining clubs as soon as you can, as I am now finding that half of my hallway includes locked rooms, which would be unavailable to me as a non-member of the club. I would rather access as many clubs as I can in the front end, by looking through each speaker’s and moderator’s club participation. If the subject matter within the club or the rooms is not serving me, I can always leave the club later.
You have to get aggressive with the Clubhouse algorithm. The minute you step into a toxic room, Clubhouse is watching and taking note. I am personally convinced that Clubhouse is recording conversations on the app, but I could be wrong. How can you tackle unwanted rooms in your hallway? Press and hold onto the room, or swipe it to the left to hide it. Another option is to swipe your entire Clubhouse screen to the right. Under the “Available to Chat” option, you will see a list of everyone online, and what rooms they are in. Yes, we can see what you are doing on Clubhouse.
Unfollow anyone who is bringing that room to your Clubhouse hallway and disturbing your peace. Sometimes, this option is not enough. What I do in that case is look at the list of people in a Clubhouse room. Right under the title, you see a list of names in the space. I typically will block at least the first three or four people listed under a room title. Unfortunately, sometimes, I have to unfollow or block people I genuinely like, because they are agents of chaos in my algorithm. Not everyone can go where you are going. Sometimes, people need to just be left behind, no matter how much I like him or her.
If you have different interests that might not jive well with your professional network, or if you would like to explore alternative interests from your main account, please invest in a burner account. Sometimes, a second account might help you in case your account gets mass reported, or you are blocked from certain areas of the app. Burner accounts are a way to move more privately and even collect specific information. One option is to ask a friend. Alternatively, once you get invitations on your account, download a texting app, or use a second phone number, invite yourself to the application a few times, and enjoy your new Clubhouse account in peace.
The cognitive dissonance is real. Instead of being one of the hundreds of black people disrupting spaces, causing drama, and then complaining that “we built the app but this space is not protecting us,” why not take a look around you? Learn how to read the room, pun absolutely intended. Start to practice good Clubhouse etiquette. Listen to a room for a bit before jumping in to speak. Room moderators will typically “reset the room,” when they will share what the room is about, the significance of the title, the order of speakers, and how the conversation has evolved. Allow others to speak and wait your turn to share information. When others are speaking, do not interrupt. You can ask for a chance to respond. I have found that when I follow these basic rules of engagement, by the time I am ready to get on stage, people will invite me to be a moderator of the room, without me even asking for said treatment.
Where do you get started? If you have an iOS device, download the Clubhouse app and start an account. You will need an invitation from someone with access to the app to get started. I have extended an invitation to ladies within our exclusive Pink Pill Space. If you are in that group and need an invitation to Clubhouse, please follow the instructions I have outlined there. I would be happy to invite you to the platform. For the rest of you, get ready. The application is still in beta mode, and once the app is available for everyone, I do believe that all hell will break loose.
Oddly enough, I see this Clubhouse experience as a microcosm of the society in which we live. There will always be the upper echelons of society, movers and shakers who will create barriers of entry. Every path and action you take can impact the trajectory of the hallway of your life. So, use Clubhouse carefully. As Kendall likes to say, your Clubhouse hallway is a mirror: and what it is showing is you. This fact can be an ugly reminder, but it is important for us to learn how to navigate these spaces, take risks, make strategic connections, and come away from the experience with important takeaways.
Thank you so much for reading this article! If any of you are interested in me covering a topic or participating in my interview series, please leave a comment below or connect with me or Christelyn Karazin. You can also e-mail me with post ideas, feedback and BB&W interview requests at [email protected], or send a direct message to Beyond Black and White on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more posts like this one, please subscribe to our website.