Pattern Matching

Clubhouse Is the Anti-Twitter

The hot new social app has found success by replicating real-world social structures rather than exploding them

Will Oremus
Published in
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10 min readFeb 6, 2021


Photo Illustration: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Clubhouse, the exclusive group-voice-chat app that launched last year to fanfare from the venture capital set, erupted into the headlines this week when Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped in for conversations with other tech luminaries. “Elon Musk’s Clubhouse banter with Robinhood CEO triggers stampede for Clubhouse app,” Reuters reported. “Clubhouse’s Moment Arrives,” Platformer’s Casey Newton declared. Both cameos strained the app’s capacity; Zuckerberg’s apparently broke it, at least briefly.

There was also backlash: The Information editor-in-chief Jessica Lessin pointed out that these events’ organizers blocked many journalists from attending; the New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz suggested they were excluding female journalists in particular.

Meanwhile, Twitter has been testing a rival feature called Spaces, in hopes that it will soon have a moment of its own. The stage is set for a showdown between two social media companies whose target audiences substantially overlap. But their founding ideas are fundamentally different, in ways that could shape how their respective…