Clubhouse begins beta testing private communities called ‘Houses’ to foster curated interactions – TechCrunch

Clubhouse, the social audio app that has grown in popularity during the pandemic, is looking to shake up its platform by launching private communities called “Houses.” The company’s new offering allows any person or group to create their own curated “house” within Clubhouse. Users can sign up to create houses starting today, but Clubhouse says it will slowly approve new houses to learn from feedback and tweak the product accordingly.

“Think of homes as private hallways just for your favorite people,” reads the company’s homes sign-up page. “They can stop by anytime, hop from room to room, hang out with friends and meet their friends. Houses usually have regular meetings, and everyone gets to make a few friends, so the house grows with people you trust. Or you can leave it closed if you want – it’s fun either way.”

A Clubhouse spokesperson told TechCrunch in an email that the company sees the new houses’ offering as more intimate than clubs because they’re built through invitations and anyone in a house can open or plan a space within the house while clubs are more public and open to anyone wishing to make a request to join. The company sees Houses as dinner parties with your friends and Clubs as the events and shows you attend in your city.

Clubhouse CEO Paul Davison announced the move a series of tweets, noting that each house will have its own “personality, culture, and content moderation rules.” Davison said that by dividing Clubhouse into “many clubhouses,” the platform will be able to address some issues. For example, he noted that Clubhouse appeals to more than one community and not everyone wants to talk about the same things, meaning finding the right spaces can be difficult. He continued that communities must be able to split into new ones.

“Communities need to be able to undergo mitosis as they grow – so that it can divide into new ones and scale intimacy,” Davison said in a tweet. “This is how /r/music makes /r/hiphopheads. That’s why classrooms max out at a certain size, and why people form smaller circles as a house party grows. The world is getting further away and it needs to be easier to get together with people you like.”

Davison says he believes there will be “a lot of work to do” with this reorganization, but that Clubhouse has “years of capital in the bank” to fund its vision and the company has a long-term commitment to the product.

The login page for creating a house will prompt you to enter your name and your clubhouse username. You will then be asked how you would name your house, how you would describe it to others and who you would like to invite as “founding members” of your house.

Live audio has grown in popularity amid the pandemic as people around the world have been confined to their homes, and the Clubhouse craze even led to Twitter and Meta launching their own social audio clones. But after restrictions were lifted around the world and in-person events resumed, Clubhouse has been looking for ways to retain users. For example, the company recently introduced in-app gaming and added a text chat feature to its language rooms, similar to what people might see on YouTube or Twitch.

Today’s announcement is clearly an attempt to achieve the same goal of retaining users and potentially attracting new users. By splitting Clubhouse into private communities, the company likely wants to compete with Discord. The launch of houses could lure people back to the platform with the promise of giving users access to smaller and curated interactions. Clubhouse begins beta testing private communities called ‘Houses’ to foster curated interactions – TechCrunch

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