Clubhouse: An app for chatting makes a name for itself

Clubhouse also uses a controversial method for viral distribution, which was already the basis of WhatsApp’s rapid growth. After installing the app and activating the invitation, the app requests access to all entries in the contacts address book of the iPhone used. This practice was heavily criticized by data protectionists in Europe on WhatsApp, because users actually have to ask permission from each individual contact before the personal data is transferred to servers in the USA. But hardly anyone should do that. Clubhouse’s questionable data protection concept, which may also be difficult to reconcile with the GDPR, is of course a topic in many conversations, but does not prevent many professionals from jumping on the clubhouse bandwagon. Stephan Schreyer, consultant for strategic & digital communication and audio, understands and warns at the same time: “Nothing is as authentic as live communication. That is why the basic idea behind the app is extremely exciting – especially for possible corporate ideas. The crux of the matter, however, is this highly problematic handling of data protection. Despite the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), this aspect should by no means be underestimated, especially for brands and companies. “

One of the reasons Clubhouse has a privacy concern

The clubhouse members are also requested by the creators of the service as well as by the moderators of individual groups to link their profiles on other platforms and to comment on the content of the conversations there. This is intended to awaken the desire in networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to receive an invitation to the network as quickly as possible. Classic case of FOMO marketing. Dirk von Gehlen once again: “It’s about trying to ignite the dynamics of social networks around the spoken word. Clubhouse thus bundles the hypotheses: Messenger (Dark Social), Audio (podcast) and app networks to a triple hype, which they then also market in an exemplary manner – using an invite-only strategy. “

“Clubhouse is a little of everything – but above all something completely new. It is not a classic social media app. The focus here is on synchronous, live talk.”, thinks Markus Kaiser, professor for digital journalism, media innovations and change management in the communication industry at the Technical University of Nuremberg. “On Facebook, extremist organizations benefit from the algorithm. In the clubhouse I (at first glance) go to a club or an event. But I also hope that the” dating rooms “are not misused. Data protection and media ethics – We should keep these two topics in mind. Nevertheless: great new functions and fresh ideas, “says Kaiser.

These aspects are also often the focus of the talks on Clubhouse itself. How to deal with the privacy concerns? What opportunities does the platform offer? What place can it occupy in the concert of digital channels?

Peter Henssen, founder and managing director of Pacemakers Digital Ventures (PMDV) says: “From my point of view, clubhouse is not just hype, but a dynamic audio format that complements the market well and that will level off between a podcast and a live talk Compared to other social media platforms, Clubhouse lives from imperfectionism and not from 100 percent sophisticated posts like on LinkedIn or Instagram. Instead, the focus here is on authentic, spontaneous discussions that do not claim to be ready for printing because they are not published afterwards They live from the now: you were there – or not. Catching up is not possible. Individual clever interjections or information from randomly passing participants can enhance the whole group – and make the time spent in a room immediately fruitful. ”

Many also see the offer as a kind of digital corridor radio, a replacement for the random conversation that was sorely missed in Corona times. Markus Kaiser asks the question a little provocatively: Is this the new re: publica?

In any case, the platform has apparently hit a nerve with the audience who are experienced in social media. A surprising number of agency people have also discovered the platform for themselves. Two examples: Liane Siebenhaar from Kolle Rebbe starts her first talk on Monday evening, Jan Nicolas König from Odaline, like some others, has already done that. The tech and media front is well represented. Magdalena Rogl is Head of Digital Channels at Microsoft. She has been running an audio format called #Shortcast on Twitter for a long time. On Sunday she tested the clubhouse for the first time. With positive results. The focus on audio in particular is positive from her point of view. “Nobody has to worry about what he or she looks like right now. That also lowers the inhibition threshold for participation,” says Rogl. But who also sees a lot of room for improvement with a view to participation. The restriction to iOS and the shortage due to invitation management is very difficult with a view to diversity and inclusivity.

The makers of the platform promise a quick improvement in both cases and cite the lack of resources as the reason for the current restrictions. In fact, the offer is still quite new. Clubhouse was started in April 2020 and initially triggered a boom in the USA during the corona crisis, reminiscent of the beginnings of WhatsApp or Snapchat. The venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz, who also invested early in Silicon Valley stars such as AirBnB, Facebook, Instagram, Lyft and Twitter, put twelve million dollars in Clubhouse in May 2020. The start-up was valued at 100 million dollars (currently 82.78 million euros) – at a time when only 1,500 users were actively using the application. Among them, however, were already prominent users such as the rapper Drake, the comedian Kevin Hart and the US actress Tiffany Haddish.

It can be eagerly awaited how the previous top dogs will react to the new hype. Facebook has proven in the past that you can place some pretty related offers very quickly. Twitter recently also had the audio section on its screen. The fact that a lot of business topics are dealt with on Clubhouse should also cause some activity on LinkedIn. Either way: Clubhouse is making a name for itself.

with material from dpa

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