April 2020 saw the launch of Clubhouse, the latest of a few social media apps. It, however, is vastly different from others that are out there. You can sign up to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but to join here, you must be invited. When a friend sends you that much-wanted offer, it is like the thrill of playing vulkan vegas. There are elements of pride in being a member, leading to people begging to be invited.
How Does Clubhouse Work?
The idea is that you are part of a conference call - rather like being at work. Hundreds can be involved at one time, and unlike work calls, this is a lot of fun. It was enjoyed so much that by the time summer arrived, membership was in the 1000’s. There is supposed to be an element of secrecy, but this has not been adhered to. Clips have been found on other sites, and this is frowned up, as the rules state no sharing.
What Appears in the Chatroom?
On one side, it brings about a lot of fun, but there is a darker side. After the fun of events such as a lullaby session, there were less acceptable ones. Homophobia and anti-semitism started to appear. As the number of members surpassed 2 million, it seems clear all would not share the same view.
There have been a few famous faces appearing. Early on, Oprah Winfrey joined in. There may be few journalists, but news stories are emerging. City leaders in Texas and Miami have launched attempts at seeing their cities become the new home for tech workers. With a large audience, the word will soon be shared.
Benefits of Journalists Membership
It may seem strange to be involved with an app that has a limited audience. Many, however, see it as having the right audience for them. The invitation to more journalists may be changing the way the platform is run. There is still the expectation of privacy, but that will be hard to enforce. With thousands at a time involved in a conversation, tracing the leak's source will be hard. As contacts must be provided, it is clear to understand why journalists are wary of joining.
The significant advantage of having journalists being involved could be regarding the offensive discussions. Knowing there are thousands of journalists involved could cause offenders to reduce the level of their vitriol. The ideal way to cut out the obnoxious remarks was to make sure they were shared and condemned.
Anomaly of Clubhouse
You might think there would be benefits to leaving the conversations on view, but this does not happen. The recording is forbidden, and members must share all their contacts. Unfortunately, failure to adhere to decency is not enough to have a member banned. For all the insistence that they do block users, there have been discussions that have been distasteful to the Jewish community with no consequences.
The Way Forward
Sadly, it does seem that the changes will have to come from contributors. It could be difficult as there are no sponsors, so the loss of funding is not a threat. At present, it seems that it is going to be left to the users to monitor what appears and hopefully stay on top of the problems some users create.