We've done a total of 3 "audio meetups" on Clubhouse and I have some thoughts on how to run a Chinese meetup on Clubhouse. Note that Clubhouse is a continually evolving social media platform, so this post will likely age badly.
You should have some ground rules to make things go smoother:
- Don't invite people on stage if they haven't raised their hand. Some people just want to listen in for a while, and that's fine. Unless it's a friend, inviting them up on stage can give them unwelcome pressure.
- Don't automatically give moderator privileges to anyone who comes up on stage. There should be at least 2 moderators, but there doesn't need to be much more than that. Being a moderator implicitly comes with a bit of responsibility, so it's more relaxing to not be a moderator (I personally prefer not to be moderator, if I can help it). I think it might make sense to periodically rotate moderator responsibilities during the course of a meeting.
- Every meeting should start out as a closed room. I'm not sure there's much value in allowing random strangers into your room when your own conversation is still warming up. Once everyone has run out of things to say, it might make sense to open up the room. Although at that point, I suspect it makes more sense to close the room and explore the many other Chinese rooms on Clubhouse, perhaps even as a group.
- When discussing a topic, fluent speakers and near-fluent speakers should always go last. Because they speak more easily, they often have more to say and can easily take up a lot of the time. Less-advanced speakers might have less to say but they sometimes need more time to say it.
- If you need to leave for a short while or answer a phone call, it makes sense to go back into the audience so that people know you are temporarily unavailable. Otherwise it looks weird when people address you but you aren’t responding.
Some random thoughts:
- Clubhouse lets users create clubs within the app now, but I still can't create a club with my account. I suspect it's because I haven't opened that many chatrooms myself.
- I suspect the calendar feature of Clubhouse is still too broken to rely on. Sometimes not all invitees can see the event inside the app, and it’s not clear if you can even start a closed room from a calendar event.
- There are a lot of game rooms on Clubhouse, it might be nice to try playing some during a meetup. Although this is where the audio-only limitations of Clubhouse really start to feel like a nuisance.
- After the first round of introductions, it probably doesn't make sense for everyone to introduce themselves every time someone enters the room. It's probably OK for the moderator to do a very concise set of introductions instead.
- A cool feature would be if a moderator could see how long it's been since someone spoke last. When I'm in rooms with native speakers, I might have something I'd like to say but the flow of the conversation is so fast that I feel like I can't get a word in. So it can be nice when a moderator occasionally steps in to check on someone who hasn't said anything in a while.