Monthly Content #1: “Clubhouse: a Habit, or Possibly a Has-Been?”





Introduction

As we all might have noticed, Clubhouse was trending on social media in just an instant. However, how big the hype can be before the app is eventually dying down? Is Clubhouse going to be the next big thing, or the other way around? To dig in further possibilities regarding the app, ALSA LC UGM proudly presents our post about Clubhouse and its origins.


What is Clubhouse?

Officially launched on the iOS App Store on September 14, 2020, Clubhouse is a social media app that offers a live-podcast style conversation with an interactive panel of discussion. Developed by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison and ex-Google employee Rohan Seth, the app was essentially born popular. It received approximately $12m in funding from US capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in May 2020 and has continued to soar. While the app is accessible for iPhone users, its expansion is considered imminent (in May 2020, it had 3,500 users — even though the app is invitation-only and not widely available, we can assume it is far higher today).


Who is in the Clubhouse?

According to an article by tech news writer Vajresh Balaji, the app now hosts 10.1 million users, and has expanded to include popular podcast hosts and social media stars such as Lindsey Metselaar and Serena Kerrigan, even to Elon Musk are using the platform to host discussions with their followers. The exclusivity of Clubhouse offers a sense of security for high-profile users and allows for interesting conversations.


Why do people love Clubhouse?

Presently, people seemed to be hooked up with the concept of getting to know public figures. Some happen to share their daily routines (or simply known as video blogs) through the available platforms such as YouTube and Tiktok. In addition, some happen to just talk things out by doing podcast sessions that could usually be accessed on Spotify.


The pandemic situation has also taken a toll on increasing one’s screen time, and the developers of Clubhouse seemed to have obtained it as an opportunity to increase their engagement onto Clubhouse app. Moreover, as this newly arising platform is providing the users to access any other user’s discussions, names of celebrities and public figures that are usually out of reach are suddenly just a click away.


Recent Controversy

Despite all the perks that come within the app, Clubhouse still has a myriad of mysteries regarding the security of users’ data and privacy. The reportedly leaked room conversations have seized Kementerian Komunikasi dan Informatika Republik Indonesia (Kominfo) to be more assertive on regulating the enlistment of PSE (Penyelenggara Sistem Elektronik) as a way to control the upcoming risk of data leakage. Even so, Clubhouse has not registered itself as a private PSE through Kominfo, which results in the app being considered as illegal. Adding up to these controversies, it might seem that Clubhouse is already at a concerning state to the point it is becoming a potentially monotonous platform for some.


a Habit, or possibly a Has-Been?

While the feeling of potentially missing something may get users to check the app more often at first, this concludes that the app must ensure there are always enough interesting conversations happening around the clock. If the user can’t depend on the app to entertain them at any time, all the time, they will find another service that will. Building both sides of a synchronous content platform is not easy and it is no coincidence that the major social networks have struggled with their live streaming services (e.g. Facebook Live). And as the app was popular at the moment the start-up risks losing listeners if they can’t keep enough of the interesting content airing live. Users will abandon the use of Clubhouse as a habit if it doesn’t give them the instant entertainment they’re looking for. On another note, the only way people can join this Clubhouse tribe is through an invite, and the access is merely for iOS users as per this moment, which indirectly gives off an exclusive access — another reason for the numbers of users lessening each day, leading up to the hype fading out.


Clubhouse’s biggest challengers

Alongside the controversial news surrounding the app, Twitter and Facebook are working on their own variation which looks set to become Clubhouse's biggest challengers. To be exact, these large social media platforms could easily set Clubhouse aside with their everlasting features that tend to keep users engaged comfortably. For example, Facebook is working on an audio-only version of its Messenger Rooms feature, which could gain significant traction if it's then tied into Facebook groups. Given this, there is some uncertainty around Clubhouse's long-term viability. Moreover, on Twitter’s recent feature called Spaces, the company has set out a plan to monetize these huge features for it to be easily incorporated soon. If this plan ends up to be applied, it is possible for Clubhouse to shut down. Clubhouse is still an invite only, and most people prefer a one-stop-shop platform that could sustain their social needs, such as Twitter and Facebook with their numerous features that could easily keep people on coming back without having to log into dozens of different accounts through different platforms.


Conclusion

Any social media applications’ vulnerability lies on its stability to keep up the access to interesting contents. However, it remains unclear whether the hype going on around Clubhouse App will be well-maintained as long as people stay cooped up onto the pandemic situation, or else going downhill because of competitors arising and the ongoing issues regarding users’ safety. If the app actually succeeded, it will add another perspective onto the development of social media, but if it is not capable of keeping the users hooked, Clubhouse will be another has-been.


Sources


Nakashima, Naomi, “Clubhouse App: How to Get Started”, Social Media Examiner, December 21, 2020.

https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/clubhouse-app-how-to-get-started/


O’Connor, Florence, “Everything You Need to Know About Clubhouse”, The Cut, February 22, 2021.

https://www.thecut.com/article/what-is-clubhouse-the-new-social-media-chat-app.html


“Here’s what you need to know about Clubhouse, the invite-only social app”, Mashable SE Asia, January 10, 2021.

https://sea.mashable.com/culture/13906/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-clubhouse-the-invite-only-social-app