The Follow Feature As a Utility

If you haven’t heard, Clubhouse is the newest buzzy app around town. It’s like talk radio, yet anyone can listen in live. Also, anyone can start a room that anyone else can join, if they want. It’s common to see celebrities in the app, chatting with the likes of Marc Andreessen, every week. Any person can attempt to join the speaker section in a room, but it’s up to the speakers to let them in. Overall, it’s a fun app from a consumer perspective

What’s interesting about Clubhouse is how they use their following/follower graph. Historically, these features were used to “opt in” to showing someone’s activity on your feed. It is also a status symbol to have many followers. On the contrary, Clubhouse uses its follower/following features more as a utility, and less as a status symbol or feed generator.

They only allow you to notify people to join your room if they follow you and you follow them. This allows anyone to be in the app, yet there are social limits built in to prevent people you don’t want in your head space to notify or troll you. In essence, you only get notifications from people you follow. This really helps curb the spam problems that products like Twitter have. Following someone is almost a core feature of the app, even moreso than Twitter or Instagram. I think this opens up a new realm for consumer apps to manage spam and trolling problems + unlocks new layers of community on their platform.

What are ways products we use now could learn from Clubhouse and adapt their product to create more of a utility for the follower/following features? I’d love to hear your thoughts.