Wait — What’s The Difference Between Clubhouse & Discord?

How the two live chatting apps compare.

The Clubhouse Drop-in audio chat app is ready to be downloaded on a phone, with headphones sitting n...
NurPhoto/NurPhoto/Getty Images

When you want to share your creative hilarity with the world, TikTok is the way to go, and Instagram can still keep you up-to-date with what your friends near and far are up to. Sometimes, though, you're looking for more immediate communication on social media. Enter Clubhouse, which uses audio-based chat rooms to simulate the feel of in-person discussions and parties. But Clubhouse isn't the only app that immerses you in intensive, real-time group convos. Discord, an instant messaging platform originally used mostly by gamers, is also focused on facilitating community and real-time communication. So how does Clubhouse compare to Discord, anyway?

What Can Clubhouse Do That Discord Doesn't?

Clubhouse is the latest social media must-have with a uniquely audio-based format. After you get your elite Clubhouse invite, you'll be able to enter different "rooms" and listen to — or chime into — group conversations on topics from wellness to world affairs. Your fave celebrities might be hosting a room, or you might just be drawn by the profiles of moderators you've never heard of before. Clubhouse does not record the room discussions, and therefore they're just as ephemeral as that cocktail party gossip from the Before Times.

Discord, meanwhile, has real-time options to use voice channels with the people you and the server host have selected to be part of the standing convo. But they've got no set topics and only really activate when you and your friends decide to pop into them.

You figure out what conversations you want to dive into in Clubhouse based on the topics and people you're following and the title, description, and moderator names and profiles listed "outside" each room. You can check out what discussions are happening right now and what's scheduled to go on later tonight, and plan your social eve accordingly.

On Discord, it's not about setting something up in advance or having an event on Discord (unless you want to plan that) — it's more about preserving that spontaneity you get when you're in the same room with friends IRL and just start chatting.

What Can Discord Do That Clubhouse Doesn't?

You do need an invite to different Discord channels, but unlike Clubhouse, it's really not that exclusive. Anyone can download Discord and create an account — to connect with your friends and other gamers in specific servers, you just need an invite link to someone's server. With Clubhouse, each member can only invite a few other people, but you can invite as many people as you'd like to join your Discord servers.

When you're looking for rooms to enter in Clubhouse, they're temporary — like parties or panels at Comic Con, they exist at a specific time and then they're over. But in Discord, the point is to have 24/7 access to the same discussion spaces. Servers can split into as many channels as you and the server hosts please, and you denote your #discussionchanneltopic with simple #whatarewetalkingabouttoday hashtags. If you're in an active server (or five), keep your notifications on at your own risk, because they're likely to pile up fast. (Actually, same goes for Clubhouse. )

What Do Clubhouse & Discord Have In Common?

The original focus of Clubhouse has been live chat rooms with a specialized social crowd that includes Drake and Oprah, while the original focus of Discord was a bit simpler: chatting while gaming. But that doesn't mean Discord doesn't have Clubhouse-like functionalities.

Discord is also about connecting large groups of people (even and sometimes especially folks who don't know each other) through spontaneous, real-time communication — and it's not all about texting. Discord users can interact via video and, like Clubhouse, voice messaging. You can toggle a text-to-speech option in Discord, which will read your channel's texts out loud.

If you want to have an audio chat in Discord, you can do that, too — each Discord server has a voice channel. You can hop in there and start real-time talking, screen sharing, or videoing with whoever else pops into the voice channel with you (no calling in required). According to Tech Crunch, Discord saw a 50% spike in daily audio-function users when quarantine started.

It's up to you to figure out which app you want to use tonight, depending on whether you're looking to type, vid, and talk or to dive into more ephemeral audio spaces. Of course, there's no reason you can't do both.