8/16/2021 Prev Next Email Share × Share On: By Rebeca Seitz If you haven’t yet tried Clubhouse, think of the app as a big building full of rooms. Occasionally, the sign above a door lights up, revealing a topic that those inside the room will discuss. The door opens. You’re invited in. Inside, you find a screen full of nothing but faces and names. The small group at the top acts as “moderators” (oftentimes panelists, really) and a larger group below them on the screen is the audience. Occasionally, someone in the audience raises a hand. The moderator gives the person the floor, and a question is asked. Sounds helpful, right? An easy to way to get the information you need but don’t quite trust a Google search to supply. Have a question about how to raise capital? Pop into a room! Wondering where to source manufacturing for your gadget? There’s a conversation on that! According to its CEO Paul Davidson (who makes regular appearances in rooms as well), there are now over 10 million weekly active users on Clubhouse. That’s a lot of people in a lot of rooms. Yours truly succumbed to curiosity and accepted an invitation into Clubhouse a few months ago. Having now chatted with and listened to venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, speakers, writers, actors, techies, millionaires, billionaires, celebrities, side hustlers, journalists, and more, a word of caution seems in order. Clubhouse is a smorgasbord of topics and people. That does not mean it is a cornucopia of authentic wisdom. (Which might be contributing to questions about waning popularity.) For instance, I entered a room for writers who wish to be published. Having worked in a Top Ten publishing house, handled campaigns for dozens more, and had the wonder of becoming a bestselling writer, I entered the room wondering if I’d see a familiar face or two. As I scrolled through the faces, though, the “expert advice” being given rang hollow. Hmm. Clicking on the moderators’ faces revealed their full bios. Turns out the moderator had self-published one book. Neither of the two co-moderators had ever worked inside a publishing house or been published. For an hour the three doled out “expert” advice and warmly welcomed people to try out their services, visit their websites, and follow them on social. In another room on another day, I entered with the hope of getting a specific question answered about investor pitch decks. This time, I began by reading the moderator bios as I waited to ask a question. Not only did I receive excellent advice, two of the moderators reached out afterward to ensure I had the information I needed and offer ongoing help if wanted. Both ended up giving valuable insight and connection. Since those, I’ve visited quite a few rooms and have come to see Clubhouse as hit or miss. I’m just as likely to find wise and experienced people giving out advice as people who have barely dipped a toe into the topic. Here are a few tips to consider if you turn to Clubhouse as a source of information: Read the full bios of all moderators/panelists. (Tap on the person’s face, then tap on the bio and it will fully expand.) Does the bio contain information that supports the person’s claim to expertise on this topic?Google the names of the moderators/panelists. Are they known in their space? Have they been quoted in articles, interviewed by others, and/or invited to speak? Have they extensively done that for which they claim expert status?Check out their websites and social media. Do the entries there provide a foundation for their identity as an expert in this field?Consider framing your question in this way: “Do any of you have any experience with [specific topic]? I’m trying to get information about how to handle [your situation with that specific topic].” Above all, bear in mind that charismatic con artists have worked crowds since the dawn of civilization. Moving interaction online increases the opportunity for connection with both authentic experts and those assuming the mantle in a bid for treasure. Remain faithful to your own due diligence, and the Clubhouse might become your new favorite – and useful – hangout.