You have probably heard the word “Clubhouse” in the last couple of weeks, but what is it?
It is an invite-only audio chat app available at the moment only on iOS devices. So, if you would like to try Clubhouse right now, you do not need just an iPhone but also someone who invites you to join the app. Why? This is because the app is still in development, and in 2021 Clubhouse’s goal is to conclude the beta stage of the app to be able to open it up for the whole world. But it is also a very good marketing move – to create an elusion of exclusivity.
How does Clubhouse work? When you join the app, you can select topics of interest, and you can follow the people you like. Then you can enter different conversation rooms, where you can either discuss or just listen to people, like a podcast. It is an app just based on human voices. When the conversation is finished, the room closes like a phone call, and there is no streaming available afterward. Everything is just live.
The pros of this app are that people can interact differently compared to classical social media. Here, you speak or just listen, and people answer back in real-time. Like for audiobooks or podcasts, on Clubhouse, one can listen to discussions on certain topics and at the same time do something relaxing, like taking a walk.
But there are also cons regarding privacy and the room’s moderation.
Clubhouse requires the users to share not only their phone numbers but also those of their entire contact list to enable you to send invites to people. But this means that all your contacts are saved on a server in the USA, where the app creates “shadow profiles” of every one of them. So, also of those people who are not using the app. This could probably go against the EU General Data Protection and Regulation (GDPR).
Other people also had some concerns about the app’s lax approach to moderation, which discourages minorities and women from speaking up. This invite-only app has also been described as “a playground for the elite,” and there is the risk of becoming a hostage of the own worldview. Moreover, this is also a new “playground” for fake news.
It is clear that the app needs some changes, but it is also true that it is still in development. Let us see what will happen during the course of the year, as they would like to conclude the beta stage in 2021.
Since it has the potential to become one of the next big social media, it will be interesting to see how the whole world will react to this app as soon as it is available for everyone.