In case you haven’t heard about it yet, there’s a new social media channel on the block. It’s called Clubhouse. And, in the short period of time that it’s been available, it has caused quite the buzz.
How does Clubhouse work exactly? Why is it so popular? And, assuming you can actually get in there, how do you use the channel safely?
Where Clubhouse Came From
Clubhouse is a mobile app that was created by a couple of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and launched in March of 2020. By May, it had 1,500 users and was worth $100 million. As of February of this year, it has 2 million users and is worth more than $1 billion.
How the App Works
The app has been described as Zoom without the video. It is similar to a conference call, or a TED Talk, with just one or a few people speaking on a specific subject. Those interested in a topic can call in to a “room” and listen. A number of different rooms exist, and users can jump between rooms as they like to hear about the content they want.
Subjects range from things like technology and books to health or business. Users tell the app their interests. Then, the app makes room recommendations based on those interests.
Once a conversation is over, it’s over. Nothing is recorded or otherwise saved by the app. (Although, users may record conversation rooms on their own.)
As of this writing, Clubhouse is only available for iPhone users. An Android version is in the works.
Why Is It so Popular?
Many A-list personalities and experts have touted the app and/or actually conducted talks on it. A recent talk by Elon Musk and Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev has been credited with propelling Clubhouse into the mainstream conversation. Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, and other hard hitters have also contributed to the app’s cache.
The ephemeral quality of the content has produced a certain sense of urgency for would-be users. A kind of FOMO.
And such content is not available to everyone. The app is currently invite-only. That is, only active users can invite new users to join. This has lent Clubhouse a definite air of exclusivity. While the plan is eventually to allow anyone to join, right now, only the “in-crowd” has access. Invites to get access to high-profile talks have even been seen available for sale on the black market.
While exclusive in theory, the invite-only system has still resulted in millions of users. But millions more without direct user connections now want to get in as well.
How to Use the App Safely
Similar to the security troubles Zoom had when its boom occurred last year, some Clubhouse chats have recently been breached. A hacker was able to access multiple rooms, record the audio, and then play it back on their website.
There have also been some issues that have cropped up in regards to bullying, racism, and harassment between users. Moderators have been brought on board to help with these issues. But, as has been a problem for other social media channels, the balance between moderation and censorship can be a tricky one.
In short, Clubhouse users should expect nothing new when it comes to security on the app. And, as such, they should behave accordingly to keep their account and other private information safe.
Don’t share private information publicly. Don’t publish or give any login or payment info to anyone you don’t know. Most of all, never take your security or safety for granted. Clubhouse may do all they can to prevent hacks and attacks, but it is ultimately up to you to protect yourself.
For more information about social media and ways to protect your digital identity, be sure to check out the PeopleFinders Blog.
Image credit: Koshiro K – www.shutterstock.com