Can I get into the Clubhouse? What the hype is all about

Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app from the U.S. that lets you listen to and participate in conversations. In the summer of 2020, the Clubhouse app came to the market in the USA and now it's making a name for itself in Germany, too. It has rapidly risen to second place among the most popular free apps on Apple and everyone is talking about it. But why does have Clubhouse such a strong hype?

It is a pure audio app without camera, likes or comments. You only see the selected photo of the participants. You can also only use the app with an invitation from a Clubhouse user. The profiles show who received the invite from whom, so invitations should not be distributed carefree. Clubhouse has so-called rooms where discussions and conversations can take place. There are also closed rooms where you can speak and network privately with your friends. 

A room has different user roles: The moderator leads the discussion and can make users the speaker if they "raise their hand" and want to say something. Conversely, he can also mute them again when the speaker has finished.

Speakers can actively participate and contribute to the conversation. Last but not least, there are the listeners. They listen to the discussion and can just as easily become the speaker at the push of a button if they want to say something about the current topic.

Criticism of Clubhouse

As with many new projects, Clubhouse does not come without criticism. Above all, the issue of data privacy is at the top of the list. To send friends invites, the app requires access to all of your contacts. It has often happened that shadow profiles were created via the data. Shadow profiles are user profiles of real people in a social network, but who have never logged in there and are not members. So, a kind of "fake profile" was created.

In addition, the individual conversations are recorded so that possible violations or inappropriate remarks can be tracked and counteracted by a new reporting function. It is said that the recordings are only stored temporarily, but the developers of Clubhouse are not really transparent about the use of personal data and the recorded conversations.

Why is the app worthwhile?

Many celebrities, presenters, activists and politicians already use the app to talk about certain topics. Therefore, Clubhouse is currently still to be seen as a kind of podcast, because until now many users only listen and profit from what is said.

In the future companies could also become active on Clubhouse by advertising products or offering services. Questions can be asked by listeners and the company answers them – like a sales pitch. Influencers could also talk about specific products or services, as it is already possible on Instagram, but without pictures or videos.

Especially in the time of Corona and contact restrictions, conversations and information exchanges are more important than ever. The audio-only concept is more spontaneous and open to users. Anyone who quickly and easily wants to acquire knowledge about e-commerce or climate change will find many places to do so in the app. The app also serves as a networking tool and has thus absolutely hit the nerve of the time. It offers people all over the world the opportunity to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships and meet interesting new people. And all this with a service that is based solely on talking to each other.