Clubhouse: Love it or Hate it? Is this Social Media App the Future of Communication?
Clubhouse, the voice-only, chat-based social media app is getting bigger as we speak—if you haven’t heard of it yet, where have you been? It’s essentially a platform filled with hundreds of different “rooms” in which every subject under the sun is being talked about by people including moderators, speakers and an audience wanting to learn, listen and share.
The experience makes users of the app feel like they are sitting in someone’s living room, conversing about everyday things in life, or meeting like-minded individuals eager to make a stand for world issues they feel strongly about. And doing it with the whole world at that.
It also doesn’t hurt that world-famous personalities including Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk have been known to “drop in” for a chat and visit.
When I started using Clubhouse, I was encouraged by a friend to share about finding happiness in life. I nervously joined rooms in the evenings while lying in bed (breaking my cardinal rule of no tech usage in bed). I learned, listened and started to volunteer to speak, and, truth be told, it was quite liberating!
No one judging what you look like or where you come from (there’s no camera function and therefore no video visual on the app)—just listening to your voice. It fulfils an introvert’s dream of being able to speak up while retaining some level of anonymity, as well as an extrovert’s desire to connect with others in the middle of a pandemic.
The way in which we are closing the gaps in human interaction with digital technology can be amazing yet frightening. It’s amazing because I feel so connected to some speakers who are frequently in the same rooms as I am, but frightening at the same time because I can’t put a face to them. It’s as if I’m speaking to a room full of nameless/faceless voices that can very often be inspiring and wonderful to listen to. Is this the future, and will we continue to adapt to this mode of communication?
Learning when to log off
I was recently in a morning Clubhouse room, and the topic of the hour was finding balance between motherhood and work. This room happened to be small and intimate, and the speakers were all in the United States. We had friendly introductions and, 45 minutes later, it was like sitting down with my close girlfriends chatting and sharing advice.
I was caught up in the conversation, and at some point, I realised I needed to leave the chat and get started on my day—it was 11am here and not 11pm, as it was in the US then. It felt a little awkward and I didn’t want to appear rude, so I politely said my goodbyes and closed the app. It is hard not to fall into the trap of going on and on with the conversation and letting the hours go by.
Why Clubhouse works
The pandemic has changed many parts of our lives, and one of the good things that came out of it was that it cultivated the spirit of helping, encouraging and supporting one another. Hence the sprouting of happy quotes on everyone’s Instagram feed. In the same vein, I think apps like Clubhouse are great platforms for sharing troubles and opinions, helping out and listening to one another. They bring people from around the world, and every walk of life, together.
They also allow one to speak freely without having everyone “in the room” watching you, which is liberating for those who aren’t always comfortable with taking the podium and declaring their views. For those who are in a pandemic lockdown and facing decreased social interaction, such platforms provide a channel for connecting with others, and sharing thoughts—be they frustrations or opinions— from their living room.
Serving the need to be social
The need to understand the social media craze is important, especially when Clubhouse is now being valued at $4 billion. It’s amazing that such a shockingly simple app can make such a big impact by allowing people all over the world to speak their mind, and to converse with each other, without judgement.
At the same time, apps like Clubhouse can actually broaden your world view and bring positivity to your life. Personally, I prefer the old-school way of meeting and interacting with people, and getting to know a person. But with the world in its current state, Clubhouse definitely has a way of transcending barriers and bringing us closer than ever.
(Related: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Have Reportedly Quit Social Media For Good)
Shireena Shroff Manchharam is a certified life and happiness coach with her own practice, Sheens Image Consulting. Her passion is in helping individuals reach their highest potential and she is always on a mission to bring happiness to people’s lives. Her husband and two kids—Lara and Arian—and her pet dog, Bowen, are her constant source of love and happiness.
This is the second in a series by Shireena Shroff Manchharam on mindfulness and gratitude.