Clubhouse (CH), an invite-only audio app, recently opened its doors to Android users, making it one of the most talked-about apps in India in the past few weeks. (If you are unsure what we are talking about, here’s a crash course read). While the company hasn’t released an exact estimate of Indian users on the app, a recent business report puts India as one of the top markets for the audio-only app. CH has an estimate of over two million users, a number that is only predicted to go upwards. “India is obviously not a single community but many communities all across, and it is one of our top markets now as a whole,” shared Clubhouse co-founder Paul Davison at a virtual briefing.
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While users seem to love the audio platform (it is the only thing anyone is talking about, on all social media platforms) and view it as a space to engage in meaningful conversations, there is a whole crowd that stays away, often calling it “toxic” and “unhealthy”. We decided to take the question to three people who are a major part of most discussions on CH – either as the speaker or as listeners, and here’s what they had to say.
“I feel Clubhouse, right now, is what you make of it. If you want to use it as a platform to simply tune in, listen, and be a part of several rooms and have a good time, it can be that. If you want to create a space to amplify your voice or if you want it to simply be an app where you chill, it can be that too,” shares Janice Sequeira, who is a content creator, host and creator of Social Media Star. “I know that a lot of brands are already paying close attention to Clubhouse simply because of the nature of the crowd it attracts. The conversations here are certainly different from what you see on other platforms, and the nature of the app makes it seem like you are sitting with a group of people, simply chatting.”
While the app has seen many takers from the fashion and beauty circuit and is also seeing a lot of Bollywood names, many people also view it as a great place to network. “I’ve been a part of some meaningful conversations on Clubhouse. The app is a step towards the democratisation of the content. An intern can get access to one of the top chefs in the country and hold his own in a discussion with him/her. The audio-only aspect and the option to leave a Room without repercussions empowers people to speak their mind,” shares Chef Tarun Sibal.
Apart from being a part of panels and creating their own clubs, people also use Clubhouse to simply listen. Sujata Assomul, who is known for her take on all things fashion, is more of a listener than a speaker. “I’ve honestly been more of a listener than a participant as it’s a great platform to tune in and enjoy the variety of conversations.” She, however, isn’t sure if the app will have as much traction post-pandemic. “I feel like right now people probably have the time to be online, but what would interesting is to see how India uses it once things open up.”
“Another intriguing thing would be to see how other platforms use this audio-only format. Instagram, for example, has always been a fast mover. When we had YouTube, Instagram gave us IGTV. We got Instagram Stories, thanks to Snapchat, and now we have Reels in place of TikTok videos. I wonder if Instagram will try and create this on their platform, and how that will add to the popularity of the medium.” Tarun agrees that the hype around the app may be a short-lived one. “With the visual medium still growing at a breakneck pace in the country and FB, Instagram and Twitter introducing voice forward feature like Spaces, Reel Voiceovers and more, Clubhouse might be reduced do a niche sooner than expected.”
Love it, or hate it, Clubhouse is here to stay for now. What do you think of the app? Leave your comments below.