As the pandemic approaches its first birthday, you may well find yourself replaying the loop of vintage quarantine's greatest hits (remember sourdough?). While Zoom fatigue has become your staple reason for turning down social engagements now, pandemic memory lane might have you remembering when Houseparty was a leading contender for Zoom's spot as the video app of choice. Now, in quarantine Season 2, Clubhouse, the audio- and invite-only app, seems to have taken the lead as the social media du jour. If you're chasing IRL-style interactions without Zoom, comparing Clubhouse to Houseparty can help you figure out which app you want to use to satisfy your need for human connection this weekend.
Designed to help you interact via video with small groups of friends, Houseparty will let you chat one-on-one with your pals and play online games together when you're not in the mood to have deep convos. Clubhouse, on the other hand, emphasizes real-time audio rather than video chats, focusing on discussions with large groups of folks in specific voice-based chat "rooms."
What Does Clubhouse Have That Houseparty Doesn't?
If you're looking to get your chat on with more than eight people at a time (Houseparty's limit), the audio-based chat room app Clubhouse has plenty of options for you — if, of course, you've managed to score an invite. While Clubhouse does provide for smaller group audio chats, you can also hop into rooms that are much larger in scale and hype. Clubhouse separates its rooms based on topics and moderators, letting you feel out what you want to listen to (and participate in) at any given time — as opposed to grappling with the ever-unpredictable "but what will we talk about?" anxiety of house parties both IRL and on an app.
Think of Clubhouse as hitting up a bunch of podcasts that you can also contribute to in real-time, as opposed to going to a more intimate engagement with a limited number of people that you likely already know (like on Houseparty). You won't have the video element when you're using Clubhouse, but if you're just trying to listen and maybe unmute yourself if the spirit moves you, then you can fill your night with Clubhouse rooms.
What Does Houseparty Have That Clubhouse Doesn't?
Houseparty is more about hosting game night at your place or showing up to a friend's apartment with board games, rather than the more large-group party talk vibes on Clubhouse. Sure, you don't have to play online games when you video chat your friends, but Houseparty has options like Fortnite, Heads Up!, and Quick Draw for when the discussion lulls or you just want to play instead of talk. The limit is currently eight people per video call.
With Houseparty, your friends don't have to depend on an elite invite to come aboard. You can opt to have the platform dive into your phone's address book and/or your Snapchat and Facebook contacts to find your friends, or invite your contacts who haven't yet signed up for Houseparty. And since you get to choose your friends in Houseparty, you won't have to navigate chat rooms with strangers if that's not your speed. You can do all that on your laptop and phone, no matter who makes your OS, whereas Clubhouse is limited to an iPhone.
How Does Clubhouse Compare To Houseparty?
Even though Clubhouse is audio-based and Houseparty is video-based, you can still do some similar things on both platforms. You can have closed rooms on Clubhouse, kind of like how you can lock your rooms on Houseparty, AKA private mode. On both apps, you can float back and forth between different rooms until you find one you want to stay in for a while — and you can bounce through as many as you darn well please.
Not trying to alert everyone and your mom (assuming she got a Clubhouse invite) that you're entering or leaving the app or a particular room? Both Clubhouse and Houseparty have options you can toggle to turn off those pesky notifications that you're opening the app (Houseparty) and leaving rooms (Clubhouse).
Both apps can lend some much-needed spontaneity to your pandemic social life — which one you choose to spend time on tonight depends on whether you're in the mood to play games with a small group of friends or talk about anything under the sun with a bigger group of people. Either way, you'll get to fill your social meter just a little bit more.