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Next Avenue: Why people over 50 might want to join this social media platform

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This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org.

What is Clubhouse? It’s an audio-based social network, where participants create or join “rooms” to discuss a variety of topics. Launched a year ago, Clubhouse already has over 10 million active users, according to HubSpot.

Celebrities jumped on the Clubhouse bandwagon early, which may have helped its meteoric rise. Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Mark Cuban, Tiffany Haddish and many other well-known personalities have created rooms and participated in lively conversations. 

Today, everyday people of all ages are enjoying, and benefiting from participating in, Clubhouse. Read on to learn more.

How to join Clubhouse

As of this writing, you need three items to participate in Clubhouse rooms:

  1. An iPhone (the app is not yet available on Androids)
  2. A Wi-Fi connection
  3. A Clubhouse invite (you can try to get one by asking friends on Facebook,
    FB,
    -1.68%

    connections on LinkedIn, work colleagues or family members)

One of the most interesting features of Clubhouse is its exclusivity. You must be invited by someone else in order to join.

Invitations are sent to your cellphone. Once invited, you can choose to join, and you’ll be asked to fill out your profile, with information including your email address, username, password and photo.

Once you’ve joined, you’ll be given a limited number of invitations, so you can invite others to join you on Clubhouse.

Learn more: Everything you need to know about Clubhouse, the billion-dollar social media app that Elon Musk and other CEOs are using

How to get started using Clubhouse

To begin participating in Clubhouse, “all you need to do is be able to talk as your genuine self,” says Jeffrey Sass, 61, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the CMO and co-founder of .CLUB, a domain to brand your Clubhouse club or organization.

Sass started the “Over Fifty Club” on Clubhouse in early March 2021, inspired by the actress Justine Bateman after joining her one evening in a room for “Over 55 people on Clubhouse.”

“Clubhouse is the perfect platform for us more ‘mature’ folks to share stories and provide inspiration and mentorship to anyone interested in listening,” he says. “There’s no need to understand image filters, video, memes or silly dances. It is easy and intuitive, compared to other social networks.” 

When you open the Clubhouse app, you’ll see a list of conversations taking place in “rooms.” This list of conversations is your “hallway.”

“The best way to find people and clubs to follow is to see what’s going on in the hallway and drop in to rooms with names that interest you. Listen for a while and follow speakers and moderators that you enjoy listening to. When you are comfortable, raise your hand and ask a question or contribute to the conversation,” says Sass.

You can also tap the search icon (magnifying glass) and look for people, clubs, topics or interests. Popular topics include music, technology, mental health, dating and sports.

Rules of the Clubhouse room

People join Clubhouse rooms for many reasons, including to learn and to offer help.

“There are no right or wrong ways to use Clubhouse,” says Sass. “If you are interested in building a following, however, then the more you participate and contribute to conversations, the more likely people are to follow you.”

Conversations on Clubhouse are generally very orderly, says Sass. He shares these tips to get you up to speed quickly:

  • Mute yourself (tap on the microphone icon) if you raise your hand and are invited “on stage” to speak and always mute yourself when you are not speaking.
  • Be polite. Don’t chime in over other speakers or cut people off. Wait for the moderator to call on you. In most rooms, the moderator will call on people in the order they appear on the stage.
  • Introduce yourself briefly, with just a quick sentence or two. People can read your profile if they want to know more about you. Unless you know it is appropriate for the room you’re in, don’t overtly sell.
  • Further the conversation by contributing something of value or asking a question on topic.
  • Let the group know you are done speaking and then mute your mic, so it is clear that the next person can speak.

You can get more information on the features of Clubhouse, including how to create rooms and clubs, in this article, offering an in-depth tutorial on Clubhouse.

Benefits of Clubhouse to people over 50

“The biggest benefit I’ve received from Clubhouse has been the new friendships and connections I’ve developed,” says Terri Holley, 56, of Spencerville, Md.

She established the “Flip the Script After 50 Club” on Clubhouse in March 2021 as an extension of her online platform, Revolution Gray, which caters to women over 50. As of early April 2021, the club has 1,600 members and followers, and those numbers multiply daily, according to Holley.

Holley started the club because she “wanted to create a space for women 50-plus to talk about things that are important to us and shift how we think about life after 50. We have internalized so much of what our culture says about aging, and we have the collective power to shift that paradigm.”

Her club hosts five to seven rooms a week, with topics including starting a business later in life, raising adult kids, empty nesting, retirement, menopause, preventive health, caregiving and enjoying life as an older adult through travel, leisure and entertainment.

She also hosts many nostalgia-based rooms. Holley says: “We discuss what it was like growing up and the music and events that were the backdrop of those times. These are my favorite rooms—they are entertaining, well-attended, and super engaging.”

Sass enjoys the benefits of hosting a regular session of the Over Fifty Club every Monday evening at 8:30 p.m. ET called “Kiss My Sass: 3 Generations of the Sass Family Talk & Share.” He is joined by his 32-year-old son (an executive chef) and his 85-year-old father, still a practicing attorney. They shoot the breeze about business, family, inspiration and more.

The most fun part, Sass says, is the random questions they get from listeners all over the world who just drop in on the conversation to hear the perspectives of three distinct age groups.

“There is a certain spontaneity to Clubhouse — because it is audio only and in real time — that allows for many unexpected and often meaningful connections. Sometimes you are there just to listen and learn. Sometimes to share your knowledge or experience. Sometimes to network for new business connections or friends. Clubhouse delivers on all these fronts,” says Sass.

In addition to making new friends and connections, some people find Clubhouse helpful for business.

Chellie Campbell, 72, of Los Angeles, is an expert on financial stress reduction. Last year Campbell took a class on Facebook Live videos and the instructor raved about Clubhouse.

“As a speaker, coach, and networker, I loved the idea of getting into a room and jumping into a conversation,” she says.

Campbell was invited into Clubhouse by a woman in her Facebook Live video group from New Zealand. “It’s easy to meet people from all over the world,” she says.

As she started listening in Clubhouse rooms, Campbell began re-connecting with others. “A woman I knew from the past asked me to host a room with her. Then another friend in a different room asked me to be a guest expert in her room,” she says.

See: ‘Would you consider working for me?’ Clubhouse, the invite-only social network, is a hotbed for job interviews

Someone listening in on one of those rooms signed up for Campbell’s paid Facebook Live group, which discusses concepts from her book, “The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction.”

Perhaps the biggest benefit Clubhouse offers people over 50 is a way to be heard.

“One of the beautiful things about Clubhouse is how it has democratized conversations and given everyone a voice,” says Holley. “I have been fortunate to have met people from all walks of life — different backgrounds, ages, genders, ethnicities, cultures and experiences. It has helped me develop a deeper appreciation for our humanness and connectedness.”

“One of the most enjoyable things for me has been engaging in intergenerational conversations with Gen X, millennials, and Gen Zers,” she continues. “I believe that we can learn a lot from other generations and these interactions have sharpened my listening skills and created bridges of understanding. It has been a very enriching experience.”

Margie Zable Fisher is a freelance writer and the founder of The 50-Year-Old Mermaid, where she and other 50+ women share their learnings and experiences on living their best lives after 50. Her website is margiezfisher.com

This article is reprinted by permission from NextAvenue.org, © 2021 Twin Cities Public Television, Inc. All rights reserved.

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