With the WhatsApp privacy furore dying down, it seems like savvy social media and messenger app users are on the lookout for alternatives that offer beefed up privacy and don't harvest copious amounts of your data, and the latest app to garner attention on that front is one you may have heard of, called Clubhouse.
Clubhouse has been around for about a year now, opening its doors to a select few in March, 2020. It's USP is that it's audio-only, doing away with text-based updates and conversations we see on Twitter and the like, altogether.
The app has seen a surge in interest thanks to Elon Musk utilising it last week for a AMA-style event, which turned into an interview with Robinhood app CEO Vlad Tenev (via TechCrunch). The outlet notes that speculation abounds as to whether the whole thing was a PR-fuelled move by venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz, which has invested in both Robinhood, and Clubhouse, as well a few start-ups that have been involved with Musk's companies.
Now that all eyes are on Clubhouse, here's everything you need to know about the hot new social media app that's so exclusive people are selling invites to it.
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Clubhouse: what is it?
Clubhouse eschews the text standard we've all become to accustomed to with our social media apps, and replaces it with audio, which seems like a bold decision given that millennials and younger generations will do anything to avoid a phone call these days.
Rather than a ceaseless barrage of inane chatter, the app seeks to refine things somewhat, offering users the ability to create rooms, invite guests, and gather an audience that is also able to participate in the discussion when allowed to do so by the room's creator. Think of it as a modern-day, virtual Lyceum, except instead of Greek philosophers, it's brimming with all sorts, and gives everyone a voice.
How you use the rooms is up to you; perhaps you want to create a bookclub, or a comedy show; or even a live podcast with guests and Q&A from the audience. Clubhouse can facilitate any kind of audio-only event you like, providing it sticks to the community guidelines.
You can refine the content you see by topic when you sign up, as well as choosing who to follow; so you can hang out with friends, or drop in on talks and debates about topics near-and-dear to you.
Clubhouse: Is it safe and private?
Because of the nature of Clubhouse, it's not an app your kids should be using. It has a very clear minimum age requirement of 18-years-old, and although Clubhouse has a strict stance on abuse, things like rudeness, or a variety of political opinions, aren't met with a ban or suspension.
Additionally, a room's audio on the app is temporarily recorded (and encrypted) while the room is live, so that if anyone files a report about funny business going on, the incident can be investigated; but after that it's deleted.
Clubhouse is very much a platform for adults who want to exchange ideas, and it's fairly loosey-goosey outside of the hard and firm rules set out to moderate the platform in an effort to keep a healthy exchange of ideas flowing, so under 18s should steer clear, as well as anyone who prefers a stricter form of moderation on their social media apps.
Clubhouse: how do I sign up?
Clubhouse is the purview of iOS only right now, so you can download it on the App Store; Android users are out of luck. But owning an iPhone isn't enough to get you in, I'm afraid. Clubhouse is super exclusive right now, and you'll need to either join the wait list (although that doesn't seem to exist on the website), or persuade someone you know who's already using the app to send you an invite.
Don't get too excited! If you're a member of Clubhouse, you have a limited number of invites at your disposal; two, in fact. Membership is in high demand, especially since Musk's appearance, and there are even people selling invites to the platform.
You'll need to ask around on social media and hope that you find someone who doesn't mind using half of their invite allocations on you, so good luck!