What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is an audio-only social media platform that seemed to generate some chatter and excitement over the past year. Perhaps it was the exclusivity of the app, the chance to converse with celebrities, the “new” factor or that people really do like the concept of social audio, or some or all of the above. Additionally, the Clubhouse app seemed to roll out at a good time for what its features were with the onset of COVID-19. The interactive app filled a void in human interaction because of social distancing requirements. Originally, the Clubhouse app was invite-only, but that has recently changed and now anyone can join. Spotify has also recently announced their acquisition of a similar app, the Locker Room, which the company plans to ultimately rebrand.
To participate in the Clubhouse platform, users create or enter digital rooms to “drop in” to live audio conversations. The app is currently open only to iPhone users but an Android version is on the way. The voice-only feature of this platform allows users to engage in audio-only conversations. Users simply have a profile picture and a voice. It is similar to an interactive podcast held in a Reddit-type chat room. Users have the opportunity to discuss topics in real time with people around the world in topic-based chat rooms. The app is currently free to use and it does not currently run ads.
What Do You Need to Know About Clubhouse?
The Clubhouse platform can be educational. There are lots of opportunities to seek out groups and conversations relevant to your business or role within your organization. Its interactive style and interface facilitates learning and collaboration and also affords new opportunities to make connections.
There are significant privacy concerns with the Clubhouse app, however. The audio in chatrooms is being recorded. The company says conversations are recorded, “solely for the purpose of supporting incident investigations,” and that those conversations are deleted if no incidents are reported. However, if there is an “incident,” it is unknown where the audio goes or who would have access to it. Additionally, the app previously required access to users’ contacts to be able to send invites. While that isn’t the case any longer, you still cannot delete information other people share or that is collected about you through your phone number. Additionally, Clubhouse’s policies state they can share that information with current or future affiliates without your permission. It’s assumed that the Clubhouse app is preparing to monetize this data through advertising, in a similar way to how other platforms we use do.
In our view, the jury is still out on the Clubhouse platform and we’re continuing to monitor it. However, other leaders in the social media space like Facebook and Twitter have seen Clubhouse’s success and are currently testing similar features.