Several things make sense backward: life, the Arabic language, and the long-gone hype of Clubhouse. I looked back analyzed how Clubhouse went from being HOT to NOT.
Unclear User Journey
You enter one of the rooms without much information on what’s going on. It is right away not clear - is your microphone on? Can people hear you? What are they talking about even? Why someone just made you a speaker? Can you leave unnoticed or everyone will see? What happens if I raise my hand? Will there be a recording of the event later on?
Too many questions? Waaaay too many.
In times where intuitive UX and UI are a must, Clubhouse has clearly failed to provide a smooth customer journey and communicate its value clearly.
In our fast-paced world, we appreciate our time more than ever. We want to get straight to the essence of things without beating around the bush. But when it comes to a group of people talking via an app it can often get chaotic, and very unstructured. People like to talk but not so much to listen. Many Clubhouse rooms had little moderation and main topics were lost among random questions and comments. And unlike a podcast, you couldn’t listen to it on 1.5x speed or skip a part. Or save it for later. At first, people were staying up late at night to participate in heated discussions. However, after a while, it got too time-consuming and many turned off notifications and slowly forgot about the app.
The feeling of exclusivity does not last long
Imagine there is a VIP party happening in town and you have x amount of invitation to share among your friends and Tinder dates. There is a certain power in this feeling of exclusivity. However, once you arrive you notice that the music is too loud, the crowd is not as cool as you thought, your Tinder date starts hitting on other people, and everyone keeps interrupting you while you are trying to make a point. Meh? Meh!
Back in February/March when corona restrictions and bad weather kept us all apart, we were longing for a human connection. Having a Clubhouse on as a background noise made us feel like we are in a crowded room where like-minded people are discussing exciting topics and making new connections. Long story short - the restrictions got lifted and the sun started shining. People went back to real-life experiences, which one more time proves that the need for human connections cannot be easily satisfied by technologies
It looks like Clubhouse picked at the moment when we needed it the most. It used great marketing technics to attract its first users (the hype and mystery of a new app, Apple-only devices, and limited referrals), however, it did not manage to retain them. Was it a lack of clear value proposition, or its purpose got lost after corona restrictions got lifted? Maybe a mix of both.
But this case has clearly shown us that there is space for a new and more niche social network on the market. Maybe Clubhouse will manage to pivot to get its users back, or maybe a new hot app will appear soon.
We shall see.