by Harjas Kaur
Have you ever wondered what it must be like to hear live podcasts and get a chance to ask questions to top entrepreneurs, celebrities and world leaders? Launched in April 2020, Clubhouse is an app that aspires to make this proposition a reality. With a valuation of $1 billion in January 2021, this exclusive audio-only social media app is currently available on iOS. Having taken social media by storm and achieving an 8 million downloads mark, the hype around it is real. Let us take a look at its journey so far and what lays ahead of it.
Getting started: The platform is currently invite-only, but CEO Paul Davidson has expressed the intention to make it open to everyone soon. Upon joining the app, you can host, listen and join conversations by creating or choosing from a list of rooms based on your interests. You can eavesdrop or participate in a conversation among luminaries, venture capitalists, journalists or switch rooms if you lose interest. Everything happens in real-time, and you cannot currently record conversations for later.
The Hype: The app started gaining traction amongst people after Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk featured on it after tweeting about it. The app also boasts of hosting the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, and OYO rooms CEO Ritesh Agarwal.
Controversies: The newly-launched app found itself in the soup after some people reported facing incidents of bullying, racism and abuse. The app is also facing a ban in China in addition to data privacy concerns across the world. There are also allegations of spying that remain to be tackled. There are also speculations regarding the revenue model of the app and whether it plans to sell data to advertisers or rely on subscriptions for earnings.
What lies ahead: The social network continue to face apprehensions as to whether the audio-only format makes for a compelling medium? Moreover, with competition from established social media sites like Twitter which is planning to launch ‘spaces’ and apps like Leher being termed as India’s clubhouse, it remains to be seen whether clubhouse can carve a niche for itself or not.