Pop Culture, Influencers and Clubhouse
On just another mundane day of your life, while you were scrolling through Instagram, you saw an influencer’s story saying that they would be going live on Clubhouse and wanted you to join them. You have absolutely no clue what the fuss is about, however, you do look up the app and find out that the app has one and only one interactive feature. The app lets you have an open room discussion about anything and everything under the sky. So, like a podcast? Conference call? Group discussions maybe? Or even a live radio?
Audio Based Interface as a USP
Clubhouse as a platform has grown immensely in the short time that it has been around and conversations and discourses around it have only intensified. The audio feature in the app is probably the reason for its popularity. The audio feature, unlike other platforms, that allows its users to hold social media lives does not come with the added pressure of looking presentable for the camera or even having to deal with offensive comments. These rooms are managed by the speakers or the moderators, who can further allow listeners to become speakers.
Emergence as a Platform
Most people, like me, came to know of the app through an influencer and that has been a major selling point and attracted a lot of users to the platform. Listening to your favorite influencers get candid about their life and experiences has been drawing more and more people into open Clubhouse rooms. It has also promoted networking that is being utilized not just to socialize but also for business and work-related purposes. Fostering communities with similar interests and passion has helped people indulge and resonate with their hobbies during the testing times of the second wave.
At first, Clubhouse seemed like another trend similar to the Houseparty, that people indulged in during the first lockdown and faded after a while. But it seems like Clubhouse has established its place in the social media market pretty well and keeps on growing. It might just be safe to say that it has become a part of a growing popular culture. There is literally a room or club for anything and everything on the app and you can listen to or choose to participate in these rooms easily.
Is Clubhouse a Safe Medium to Build Connections?
But well here’s the thing about anything and everything popular, it thrives on more and more people indulging and being a part of it or relating to the content. So does indulging and relating to content always make it ideal? Definitely not. It brings about existing problems and controversies. There soon comes a point where people feel the need to hold someone accountable for it and in the case of clubhouse a lot of times, influencers get targeted.
Take the recent issue with Kusha Kapila and how she was wrongly accused of promoting rape culture. Such severe allegations were made against her just because she was a part of a Clubhouse room that talked about sex-positivity. These rooms even though moderated can talk about serious issues without providing adequate trigger warnings. Conversations can be recorded and taken out of context.
Just like every social media platform, Clubhouse has its disadvantages. Even the problems remain pretty much the same as every other social media platform. Bullying, harassment, triggering content, threats and privacy issues are just some of the issues that have been largely talked about. These issues are not created and advocated by the platform but rather by the people using it or in fact misusing it.
Being an app that is still new and growing, the developers should be given a little more room for making changes and evolving. However, a lot of safe spaces are violated, because of people who believe that operating behind a screen gives them the anonymity and privilege of spewing hate and judgment. Sadly, social media is filled with such people, and it is these people who should be held accountable for their actions instead of an entire platform that has contributed to starting a discourse around important topics.
This leads to a bigger question in retrospect of whether social media would ever be a completely safe space. And the answer lies in being better educated about rights and boundaries. Influencers are held by many at a pedestal, and they should indeed be responsible for the content they put out, but it should also be kept in mind that most of these influencers are not experts and merely derive conclusions from the experiences they have. So enjoy the diversity on Clubhouse and be aware of the content you consume to safeguard your experience online.