Back in the early days of the web, Web Utopians believed in the connectivity of humans for good. Somewhere along the way, with fake news, rigged elections, cyber bullying, and all that goes with the Internet as we know it, that idea got a little lost.
Fast forward to 2020 and 2021, people are confined to their homes, screen fatigue has set in, and there emerges a new wave of apps connecting people in random and enjoyable ways for no other reason than shared interests, connection and humanity.
As of the first quarter of 2021, Clubhouse is gaining popularity publicly. Our take is that the unregulated noisy chatrooms is not going to last, at least in its current form.
We took a look at some of these new contenders in a category we like to call “Really Social Media”.
The features of Clubhouse, Lunchclub, Dialup, and Discord vary but the goal is shared – helping people to make new connections.
Read on to find out more about our intelligent Really Social Media picks in this nascent category of Audio Social.
Clubhouse is a drop in audio chat, a social network based on voice. It’s rise has been nothing short of spectacular – it has reached over 10 million downloads in less than a year, and that’s with ios only.
Clubhouse allows people to chat and meet interesting people regardless of location. However, Clubhouse is not a professional networking platform like Lunchclub is. It is more about discovering people with shared interests such as music, film and sports.
It is similar in format to a podcast in terms of the conversational and casual tone. The only difference is that the conversations are not recorded.
At the moment Clubhouse is invite and ios only, so it’s not available to all.
Update on Monday 1 Feb – Elon Musk nearly broke Clubhouse!
Update again: Kanye & Elon
Musk’s appearance on Clubhouse saw him break all previous records for podcast numbers. Max concurrent in a room is 5000 and Elon Musk’s podcast filled 3 rooms. Read the full article here.
But people are saying that this is going to be the downfall of Clubhouse.
Clubhouse allows all users to have a voice, regardless of a follower count, engagement or views. Influencers did not control the narrative; people with substance did.
But as increasing numbers of celebrities enter the Clubhouse, it’s changing into a numbers game. And that’s while it’s still in beta.
Lunchclub connects individuals and has a slight skew towards business and networking. It can be used by job hunters to help them find their next job.
It can be used by entrepreneurs seeking out investors. In addition, it can be used by interesting people simply looking to connect with others.
Lunchclub gained traction in 2020 when Covid made real life interactions impossible. The beauty about Lunchclub is how simple it is to use.
The sign up process involves filling out details about who you are and the types of people you’re hoping to meet. The rest is down to Lunchclub’s artificial intelligence that matches you up with appropriate people and sets up meetings.
What sets Lunchclub apart from existing networking models is that it connects people face-to-face through Google Hangouts.
Dialup is another audio based networking app similar to Clubhouse. We first heard about Dialup in an Irish Times article by Patrick Freyne. Anything written by him is always a good read, check the article out here.
Dialup’s goal is to connect people across the globe through shared interests. You can select various ‘lines’ to join such as Business Owner, Books, Travel, Memory, Painters, or the mysterious sounding “Call In The Night”.
Dialup then uses these lines to find a compatible connection with others. At a preset time, your phone rings and you can either accept the call or decline.
When you accept, there is another person at the end of the line ready to talk.
During the lockdown, this would have been a great source of connectivity, especially for people living alone.
We had many interesting and enjoyable conversations, and always learned something.
Also, the focus is directly on the conversation itself. If you are someone who struggles to initiate face to face conversation or dislike visual based networking platforms, Dialup is worth giving a go. However, note that it doesn’t work so well on Huawei P30+ Pro.
Discord allows people to connect through audio and video chats. It began as a platform for gamers in 2015 and now has over 100 million users.
While initially loved by the gaming community, it has evolved for communication between members of clubs or groups. It’s not the place you go to network with new people you have no connection with; it’s where you go to hang out with online friends.
You can use Discord to create topic-based channels to eliminate chaotic and disorganized group discussions. However, channels are invite-only so you won’t have to worry about privacy issues or noisy chatrooms.
Discord provides a few different templates to begin organizing your chat channels. Also, there are templates ranging from college communities to book clubs to digital conventions.
Discord is meant for private groups that want to stay organized and in touch with one another.
Clubhouse, Lunchclub, Dialup, and Discord all share the same goal of connecting people. They represent a new direction for social media that is led by voice.
We applaud that goal as it is truly social media. We’ve enjoyed conversations with art dealers in Barcelona, new emigrants to Copenhagen, Indians living in Dubai, French University lecturers and lots more. Every conversation has had some little nugget of humanity or connection that made it worthwhile.
If you are looking for human interaction without leaving your home, why not give one of these audio social platforms a try? Let us know how you got on using these Really Social Media platforms! Maybe we’ll see you there.