D.he app is number 1 in the download charts in the social networks category: Clubhouse, more precisely known as “drop in audio chat”, is probably the network that is creating the greatest hype these days. For many reasons. In order to be there, you have to be invited by an already active user. So far, Clubhouse has not been explicitly designed for the masses – but for people from the media bubble who are often in a kind of “expert talk” on topics such as podcast marketing or Exchange entrepreneurship. And it is precisely this exclusive approach that is criticized, as well as the fact that the app is only available for iPhone users. Data protection activists also find various problems, content is difficult to control and moderate, and users who have been blocked by Facebook or Twitter, for example, establish new communities on Clubhouse.
And yet the network is growing, which, to put it simply, offers a kind of radio program with a hands-on option; celebrities like Thomas Gottschalk and Sophia Thomalla have also been active there in the past few days. We asked six social media professionals who use digital networks and clubhouse for work whether they would recommend the app.
“I find it exciting that everyone can take part in the talk”
Aurel Mertz, comedian and moderator: “I’ve been using the app for two days and have changed my mind at least ten times. I think the app is great as a communication tool and I find the fact that theoretically everyone who listens can also take part in the talk exciting. Unfortunately, reality clashes, the barriers to even getting access to the app are still very high. At the moment it also looks as if mainly members of a media, politics and business bubble on Twitter are online. I noticed positively how many groups consisting of minorities have already found each other and exchanged ideas and promised support.
I would definitely recommend breaking out of your own bubble every now and then and listening to other topics and I can imagine that the app could actually make us a little smarter. I myself have actually done public talks, for example with the podcasters Ines Anioli and Ariana Barborie, but let’s not kid ourselves, so far it has not gone into depth and we have only played through end-time scenarios.
My assessment is that Clubhouse will either become an unmoderated dump for inflammatory content or a place where we can really get a little closer right now. In the end, this will probably be decided by the developer’s strategy and our interest in holding them accountable. “
“Too much talk”
Jessica Weiss, fashion influencer and founder of the online magazine “Journelles”: “My first thought was: I can’t even listen to podcasts, how am I supposed to have time for small talk that I don’t miss a bit? I can understand the need and the hype in the lockdown and with younger target groups, but my first impression during the test was: too much talk, ‘sausage’ parties (Conversations with mostly men, ed.) and lots of distraction that takes time. Unfortunately I don’t have it and I think that the uncensored endless talk will not be given any attention by summer at the latest. “
“I signed up without an invitation”
Ann-Katrin Schmitz, expert for influencer marketing and podcaster (“Baby Got Business”): “Podcasts and audio content already experienced a rapid boom last year. Clubhouse now fills the gap between the previous hierarchy of the pure listener and narrator. I was still missing this opportunity for direct exchange! This of course also harbors dangers; very few clubhouse talks are currently professionally moderated.
What excites me the most: the perceived intimacy that the closed space conveys and the simplicity of the concept in general. The ‘artificial scarcity’ also plays a role in the hype; I have already seen that highly frequented rooms had reached their maximum number of participants and that people had to ‘stay outside’.
The most interesting, but also the craziest experience was the talk with the picture journalist Paul Ronzheimer and the FDP education expert Thomas Sattelberger, which was supposed to be about the changed media usage of the younger generation. But the discussion quickly escalated and slipped into a very political battle of opinion. This also shows: Anyone who excels here by making questionable statements will quickly be publicly disqualified.
Many do not like the registration process via the ‘invitation only’ principle, the handling of data and recordings and the lack of inclusiveness and the difficult control of Hate speech and Fake news. However, basically anyone can register, due to the flood of registrations, of course, it takes longer to activate. Clubhouse is not an app for elites, that’s just nonsense. I registered myself without an invitation. “
“Something between talk show and phone calls”
Leonie Jung, TV producer and influencer: “Anyone who thinks they are particularly cool in the digital world wants to be part of the app. Be part of the app, join in, listen and also have a say. If there has to be an invitation to make the number particularly exclusive, then please not only for Apple users. Clubhouse is something between talk show, phone call and live podcast. I can do something with all the components, but most of all with the telephone.
So far I have listened to authors such as Samira El Ouassil, Peter Wittkamp and Friedemann Karig, the artist Paul Schrader, Ann-Katrin Schmitz and Fynn Kliemann. All people for whom it is worthwhile. Whether via clubhouse or other platforms. The ‘Fomo’ (Fear of Missing Out, fear of missing something, Red.) but was gone after a few minutes in the app: I’m not missing anything here. I prefer to make phone calls and don’t find the idea of being part of another app particularly attractive that does one thing above all else: eat up time. “
“A nice pastime in times of lockdown”
Liberta Haxhikadriu, Influencer and Podcaster: “Hyped apps are initially exciting for everyone. Sure, because wanting to jump on the latest bandwagon does not simply ignore the active friends of social networks. ‘Maybe I will finally get the reach on this app that my subject area deserves’ is a well-conceivable train of thought for many clubhouse users.
I think the app is a nice pastime in times of lockdown and Clubhouse also has its good sides. We humans are social beings and need exchange and bonding with others – social contacts are especially important for finding one’s own identity.
From a psychological point of view, most likely, from a psychological point of view, triggers a feeling of stability and belonging for many people to be able to talk freely about current or socially critical topics in a room while others listen to you. I would lean too far out of the window to claim that this app has reached its peak in the near future and will probably decrease in hype again with the relaxation of the Corona restrictions. Hence my conclusion: Just try it out and decide for yourself whether it suits you or not. “
“I still lack diversity”
Antonia Wille, journalist, author and founder of the blogazine “Amazed Mag”: “I think the new Clubhouse app definitely has potential. I’ve heard a lot of exciting talks, for example on the subject of ‘buying art’ or ‘female founders’. And yet I would like the ‘invite-only principle’ to be abolished as quickly as possible. I still lack diversity in the app too much. I would also like to hear and learn talks from trans people, BiPoCs and the LGBQT + community. Would like insights into the worlds of life that otherwise remain hidden from me. At the moment the app is still too business-oriented for me. Journalists, influencers and marketing experts currently make up the majority of people on the app and mainly talk about self-marketing, success on social media or – to put it bluntly – about themselves. That can change. “
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