It is sort of a dwell radio present, and in India the social media platform has taken on an identification of its personal — with antakshari rooms, regional discourses, and extra
I first heard about Clubhouse again in January. A pal despatched me an invitation and I reluctantly opened an account, irritated at being tasked with studying function one more social media platform. Then I ignored it. Not less than till the second wave hit and we have been all again to being at residence indefinitely. I logged on considering it was going to be like final 12 months’s Houseparty fad; protected to say, I’m now hooked and I’ve no idea of sleep any extra.
What’s Clubhouse? Consider it like a podcast in actual time or a dwell radio present. Some describe it as a gaggle of associates chatting and even having a “kitty occasion”. Whereas others name it a spot to have dialogue and discourse. Individuals now have the chance to talk to a few of the finest minds of their fields — internationally, rooms with names like Dr Anthony Fauci and Virgil Abloh have seen a few of the largest engagement. Nearer residence, individuals like Sonam Kapoor and Kusha Kapila now have a direct line with their followers. Since there are not any textual content messages, direct messaging, or commenting on the app, the audio-only format limits alternatives for trolling. One thing that Twitter and Instagram nonetheless don’t know take care of.
For me, it began out as some enjoyable, frivolous conversations about courting and “capturing your shot” (mainly the Clubhouse model of telling somebody you discover them engaging). However quickly I used to be tuning into extra “critical” rooms. I’m now listening in on conversations concerning the caste politics in India, the #MeToo motion, and crypto-currency.
Clubhouse’s trajectory in India has been barely totally different. The American market had a head begin, which suggests they’re now monetising rooms — artists are internet hosting paid gigs, persons are charging charges for unique closed rooms, and the like. Indian Clubhouse isn’t there but, however it’s shut. The principle distinction I’ve observed is that within the West, there are various rooms with sure individuals speaking and others listening. The Indian audiences wish to converse and contribute extra. If I’m internet hosting a room and the hand elevating characteristic is off, I find yourself getting messages on my Instagram to ask individuals to allow them to chime in.
India being a really linguistically numerous nation has additionally ensured that regional languages have discovered a lifetime of their very own on Clubhouse. Actually, the rooms hosted by some Malayali people — with probably the most numerous matters (assume ‘Can a parotta be a parotta if it appears like a chapathi?’) — have seen as much as 8,000 individuals at one level, the utmost quantity allowed in a room by Clubhouse.
Is it a polarising app? Completely! Particularly since it’s now open to Android customers, and numbers have risen. Earlier a 500-person room was one thing to be happy with. Now 5,000 aren’t sufficient for some.
There’s lots of dialogue about “influencers” on Clubhouse. Persons are irritated that already in style digital stars are bringing their clout and disrupting an area that the early adopters labored onerous to construct. But, each different day there’s a dialogue about influencers, and every of those rooms attracts giant numbers, elicits a number of response rooms, and creates many Twitter and Reddit threads.
There’s additionally a really lively political subculture on Clubhouse, with a transparent distinction between the Left and Proper leaning teams. The phrase “echo-chamber” is usually used as a result of these heated rooms aren’t actually having a discourse. I’ve been “warned” about not following sure individuals and getting into sure rooms as a result of they don’t essentially align with my political ideologies, and I’m supposedly prone to getting cornered.
Making it your personal
My favorite rooms have been the place my excessive privilege has been checked, and I’ve learnt rather a lot. A preferred membership, ‘The Darkish Room’, has hosted unbelievable rooms on matters starting from fat-phobia to caste-based discrimination. Making these areas inclusive has been one of many causes I discover Clubhouse to be extra democratic than different social media platforms.
Among the different rooms I get pleasure from attending are the music rooms, together with ones devoted to antakshari! There are additionally some nice artistes that are actually Clubhouse celebrities, equivalent to Anirudh Deshmukh and Markand Soni.
Clubhouse has turn out to be an awesome discussion board for the LGBTQIA+ group. Queer individuals have discovered their very own desk, since a seat wasn’t made obtainable on the current platforms for them. The conversations vary from enjoyable to academic, and the fantastic thing about the app is that you simply get to shuttle between each.
Clubhouse continues to be very new in India. Questions like monetise it, what’s the way forward for the app, are being requested. No one actually has a solution, however what we all know is that persons are both on it or are attempting to attain an invitation. DM me on Instagram (@arjunmadan), I’ll have a couple of spare invitations.
Arjun Madan is a food, marketing and brand consultant.