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Clubhouse: The Drop-In Audio Chat App

clubhouse in App Store

What is Clubhouse, and should I be using it?

Clubhouse Logo

Screenshot taken from the Clubhouse website

Picture LinkedIn and your favourite podcast app combined, only better.

Clubhouse, the iOS-, invite-only live podcast app has sparked the interest of thousands. Less than a year since its launch in March, 2020, there are six million people on exclusive app.

This new networking app offers different rooms that are open to discussing specific topics ranging from faith, entrepreneurship, astrology, sports, jobs to lifestyle topics like sex and makeup. But the app is still working on eliminating trolls and maintaining its aspirations to be the best world-wide networking platform that “centres on the importance of free speech and dialogue.”

The pandemic pushed millions to find a new social media app to satisfy their craving of coming together. According to Business Insider, Clubhouse CEO Paul Davison says “the app is designed to foster real communication during a time when other social media networks like Twitter and Facebook have become increasingly toxic.” The app is also a networking tool that goes beyond those text-based social media platforms. You have the chance to raise your hand, be called to the stage and show your icon image front and centre for your chance to make a good first impression.

But such fast-paced popularity brings the inevitable question of whether the app is able to handle and moderate all of its users. Joe Caruso, a franchise recruitment principal who used LinkedIn to recruit new franchise owners before discovering Clubhouse, says that while the app is criticized by its users for bullying and discrimination by trolls, that’s not the only problem with the app. Caruso says the ability to make yourself a moderator seems to be a power-trip for some users, who are recommending “third-party tools and strategies that will end in getting people jailed and banned on LinkedIn.”

This issue of a lack of regulation emerges frequently. Nieman Lab address issues of implications for fact-checking and content moderation, “enabling conspiracy theories to potentially run rife.” Journalists and users have also reported discrimination, even though these are against Clubhouse’s community guidelines.

Clubhouse is becoming popular in particular among the black entertainment community. Brandon Patterson, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, used the app to hold auditions for a virtual production of Dreamgirls, based on the 2006 movie of the same name. When it comes to the cultural conversation around apps like Clubhouse, Patterson told Buzz Feed News, “I’m looking forward to really seeing people dig deep into how these platforms that are run by white people [will] compensate predominantly Black people and people of colour who are going on these apps and making [them] bigger.”

Meanwhile, at the University of Guelph-Humber, I’m co-hosting with Monica Barbaro for weekly check-ins with media industry professionals. We are fourth-year Media Studies students specializing in Public Relations who use this app as a networking and learning opportunity. Each week, professionals that specialize in diverse fields around the world tune in to provide advice or participate in an inform informational interview.

“It’s the perfect way to network and receive tips from international industry professionals even throughout the pandemic,” says Barbaro. “I would love to continue using this app in a way to build more meaningful and lasting connections.”

If you have downloaded the Clubhouse app, you can follow @waytooshabbey to participate in weekly Public Relations Check-In rooms, hosted by two University of Guelph-Humber students Abbey Cole and Monica Barbaro.

Interested in this new and up and coming app? Here are some articles you might want to take a look at!

Enter the Clubhouse: Why users are moving to new, smaller social media platforms (CBC)

What is Clubhouse? The Invite-Only Chat App Explained (PCMagazine)

Jason Calacanis on Clubhouse.. bullying and trolling exposed (Indie Hackers) 

Post tags:

Abbey Cole is a motivated Public Relations student who is passionate about diversity and inclusion. Since 2018, she has been a strong community member at #UofGH as the Social Media Assistant. She hopes to become an international change maker and be featured MXN’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada before 2030. Abbey currently hosts weekly Club House live podcast rooms to discuss a variety of media relations topics. More information can be found on her LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/acole04/

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