Hey all. We’re evolving Clubhouse to be more like a messaging app with a big new update today, available now on iOS and Android. It’s designed to be more social than other messaging apps, and a bit more Clubhouse-y.
Our goal was to make it 100x easier for you to be with friends throughout the day, bump into friends unexpectedly, and get to know new friends through your existing friend groups – even if you don’t have many friends on Clubhouse or a ton of time to spare. We’ve been heads down testing it for quite some time and we’re so excited to share it with you.
Today’s update is centered around a new format called “Chats.” A Chat is a voice-only group chat with your favorite people. It’s like a Clubhouse room, but it takes place asynchronously, so you can drop by and chime in on your own time.
To picture a Chat, imagine if your group texts and your Instagram Stories met at the park, talked for hours, became best friends and fell in love. 9 months later, they gave birth to a new way of keeping in touch – one that lets you hear your friends’ voices, meet their friends, and spend less time typing. If “social messaging” were a thing, that’s what it would be.
With Chats you can push to talk, listen at 2x, tap to skip, swipe to the next Chat, and slide into your friends’ VMs (unless that sounds weird) to chat privately. They’re designed to be fast, fun and personal.
BETTER THAN GROUP TEXTING
Since we first started Clubhouse, usage of voice notes has grown quickly all around the world. This makes sense because it’s faster — and it’s nice to hear friends’ voices! But it’s hard to use voice notes in a group, so we default to using text. Boring.
Clubhouse Chats are better than group texts in a couple ways:
- Chats are much faster than text, so your groups share more – more color and stories, more nuance, and more off-the-record stuff that they would never spend the time to type up. Chats are also transcribed automatically and translated into your language, so you can read them on the go, and even talk with friends-of-friends who speak different languages.
- Voice makes them more personal than text. With text, you get information. With Chats, you can hear your friends laugh, sense when they seem tired or sick, smile when they get animated, and look at their faces when they’re talking. You actually get to know people. And if you like, you can sing to them:
JUST YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE
When you open Clubhouse, you’ll now see friends — not just the rooms that happen to be live. If you used Clubhouse during Covid you probably did see friends when you opened the app, because we were all stuck in our living rooms all day. Post-Covid we went back to school and work, and it became harder to coordinate. While millions of people in our community still have that experience today, many people don’t, so they just see whatever rooms happened to be live at the time. This creates a bad experience for most casual users of live audio. Chats help with that, because the supply of relevant conversations goes way up.
This lets you hear your friends’ voices throughout the day, and get to know people the way you do in real life – through your existing friend groups. When you start a chat, you can set it to “friends only” or “friends-of-friends.” This creates a nice dinner or house party vibe, where people have shared social context and feel accountable. There are no randoms, no spammers, and no people trying to gain followers at your expense.
There are plenty of places to talk in private. We think being able to people-watch and bump into friends is more fun. That’s why bars and coffee shops and public parks all exist. And that’s why Clubhouse exists too.
WHAT ABOUT LIVE? AND AUDIO CREATORS?
- Live isn’t going away. You can still have live rooms, and they will continue to be a central part of Clubhouse, just like they always have been.
- Depth over reach. If you’re building a community on Clubhouse, Chats are a great new tool for you. You can create new conversations in seconds and experiment with new formats. You don’t need to prepare for rooms, get everyone to show up at the same time, or spend hours each week moderating. Your house becomes a place where your listeners can meet each other, give you feedback, and talk with you before and after each episode. If your goal is just to maximize reach, you can use Chats too, but you should probably be multi-platform – recording your content, publishing it to the podcast ecosystem, putting videos of your episodes on YouTube, and putting clips on TikTok. Pure reach is not where live audio shines.
- Friends over followers. We’ve always felt that the best part of Clubhouse is being with friends and meeting their friends. So why do we have a “follow” model? Good question. With this update, we’re moving to a “friend” model. One-way follows in the old Clubhouse will turn into friend requests in the new Clubhouse. We know this is a big change but we think it’s the right long-term move for Clubhouse. For the people who have invested time and energy in building a following here, you won’t lose what you’ve built. We’ve made it easy for you to create a House for all of your followers so you can continue to reach them, right from your profile. Houses will continue to thrive here, and Chats within Houses should make them 10x better.
We don’t take these changes lightly, but we feel conviction they will make Clubhouse stronger in the long run. We didn’t build Clubhouse because it was a smart thing to do. Social products rarely work. We did it because we love this product, and we believe in the mission of helping everyone have a life filled with great friendships.
It’s a big bet, and we hope we’re right…
For details on all the product changes in this release, check out clubhouse.com/whatsnew.