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Clubhouse Initial Impressions

It has been a while since there has been as much buzz around a new social media platform as the buzz that Clubhouse has been generating, proving that there is still room for longer-form attention holding content.

For those that haven't yet heard about Clubhouse; it is a social network built around audio-only conversations that happen in rooms. Anyone can open a clubhouse room on a topic they are interested in. People can be invited to participate in a dialog, or just sit back and listen and wait for an appropriate time to 'raise their hand' if they feel like they have something interesting to add to the conversation.

The format is definitely interesting, and shows some potential both from a passive and an active perspective. As a passive user there could be opportunities for unique and enlightening conversations that flow like a kind of interactive live podcast.

From an active perspective, if you wanted to find a new place to carve out your niche and build a network it certainly seems as though there are some areas ripe for the picking. For example, outside of Blockchain there are few rooms opening up to discuss tech and development.

But like all social networks, and new ones in particular, it hasn't seemed to have found its feet in terms of content and spam moderation. Your initial feed may contain rooms with titles like "follow for follow" and learning from "millionaire gurus" that you've never heard of, it may take some more time exploring in order to find out if there is content that you will actually find interesting. And unlike Podcasts where we have become accustomed to a certain level of quality content, your mileage may vary when diving into the various clubhouse rooms.

Another interesting fact of note, particularly for the Clubhouse users here in Taiwan is that the platform has not as of yet been censored or blocked in China. This has led to some interesting interactions between Chinese and Taiwanese users in some rooms on topics such as the current geopolitical situation, Xinjiang and Hong Kong with mixed results. I am unsure if this is creating helpful dialog or just allowing people to reinforce their own views and talk down to others, but there is plenty of discourse on this very topic on Twitter.

Lastly, I would mention that there has been some discussion on the intrusiveness of the Clubhouse app. Signing up does request quite a bit of data and a "real name" - so those who are more privacy-focused may want to consider carefully before they sign up.

Overall it is too early to tell amidst the early exclusivity-invite-only hype if Clubhouse will be the next big social media platform or if it will fade into relative obscurity or become the platform of choice for some particularly niche groups, but I would certainly encourage those building their brand to explore how they might be able to craft an audience on the platform. I do believe the conversational nature of the platform could make it a valuable information sharing tool, or place where you can give more value to your audience.

If you do decide to join Clubhouse, do give me a follow @thejimu and perhaps we can continue this conversation there.


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