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Clubhouse tries to make a comeback

Do you remember the Clubhouse? At the height of the pandemic lockdowns, the invite-only social audio app skyrocketed with 10x monthly growth, then disappeared from public discourse almost as quickly as a16z investors opened their wallets.

Now, Clubhouse is launching a Hail Mary to try to become relevant again. Today, the company announced “the new Clubhouse”, which introduces a new format called “chats”.

“To imagine a conversation, imagine if your group texts and Instagram Stories met at the park, talked for hours, became best friends and fell in love,” the Clubhouse blog post reads.

We don’t really know what that means, but we appreciate the oomph. To put it more directly, Clubhouse Chats puts you and your friends in an asynchronous group, where you can send voice messages that appear as entries in an Instagram story, rather than individual text. And unlike iMessage or WhatsApp, Clubhouse transcribes these voicemails.

Chats can be set as friends only or as friends of friends.

This won’t replace Live Audio Rooms, which will still exist on Clubhouse, but chats could potentially prompt users to check in more often to hear their friends, rather than whoever is hosting a live chat at the time.

This could be a crucial opportunity for Clubhouse to leverage their hype amid a long period of struggle. In April, the company cut more than half of its workforce and, less than a year earlier, it had carried out another round of layoffs. Luckily for Clubhouse, the company claims to have years of trail left, but consumers may not be willing to give them as many chances to win them back.


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