The good, the bad and the ugly side of Clubhouse

Today I complete my first week in clubhouse, the audio only social network, which according to some the hottest startup currently available on the internet, while Facebook, Twitter trying to copy the idea and incorporate it on to their own social networks.

Clubhouse even though popular is still invitation only, which also increases its appeal. However, I’m not here to talk about clubhouse but to talk about my experience within the app during my first one week.

The good side of Clubhouse

Being an introvert, I find it very difficult to talk to an audience, and to start conversations with strangers. However, Clubhouse is helping me to overcome those fears, and come out of being an introvert by starting conversations with strangers, and the fear of being judged. I have talked with rooms with more than 100 listeners, without thinking about how they would judge me. Something I will find it extremely difficult to do in real life.

Unlike in real life, and on a Zoom meeting, you are not showing your face or who you are. That is the main reason which takes away my fear of speaking to an audience.

Clubhouse, because its invitation only nature is like any other social network in their infancy.

You are also constantly bumping into interesting and though provoking conversations. There are really smart people on the platform, with huge experience in their own respective domains.

Most of the rooms which I have been to have been a part of has had very polite conversations on vast range of topics, from AI, to health, to paradoxes, startups, also their are mini hackathons within the app where people build stuff while they are chatting with like minded programmers.

It’s like a never ending real life podcast, where you can join an interesting conversation and talk and listen for hours without feeling addicted or bored.

I have also met and connected with some really interesting people, the only time I have made such connections was around 10 years ago on Twitter, with some of those Twitter friends ending up to be one of my closest friends. Which sadly I find it difficult to make such connections on Twitter anymore.

The bad side of Clubhouse

Even though the majority of my experience has been good, there are some bad side to Clubhouse as well.

The algorithm is not that good

The Clubhouse algorithm is somewhat bad, and even though I end up with good rooms on my feed, I feel around 25% of the rooms that Clubhouse recommends to me are rooms that does not match me at all.

For example these rooms range from topics that I’m not interested in to topics in foreign languages that I do not understand at all. Even though I hide these rooms as much as I can, I don’t think the algorithm is learning and I don’t see any reduction of such rooms.

One reason to this can be that you can’t set a preferred language to a room, if users can set up a preferred language to the room, and users can also add their language in settings, clubhouse can match rooms that is inline with your language.

Growing number of trolls

Even though the platform is good and majority of the people are good. The number of people who join a conversation to troll or spread lies and conspiracy theories are increasing. Yes, I know I have only been there for one week, but I am now seeing more such people on Clubhouse everyday and it’s growing.

And finally just like every other social network, I fear that the quality of the content will go down over time, as more and more people join the service and once the service is finally open top the public.

Clubhouse will bombard with you with notifications

Yes, I know I can mute my notification on iOS. But still even with the notification rate set to neutral, I get bombarded with Clubhouse notifications every 5-10 minutes. Trying to bring me back to the application.

The ugly side of Clubhouse

The unofficial api makes anyone track everyone

When it comes to the ugly side of Clubhouse, the first thing that comes to my mind is the poor privacy and security within Clubhouse.

There is an unofficial API which is easy to tap into. This has led to the creation of some really privacy invading tools which does not look good.

There are analytical services that is showing great deal of information about Clubs and rooms without the need of any authentications. These details include the number of people in a room, who’s there in a room, their bios, and how the number of people in a room is fluctuating.

Anyone can basically give a link to a room and start tracking just like that.

Clubhub.site a service that tracks the number of users in a room over a period of time.
Clubhub also tracks not only the number of users in a room but the of users in a room as well.

There is an unofficial API has also led to an unofficial Android client for Clubhouse as well.

You can’t delete your account, only deactivate it, which is also not a good thing when it comes to privacy.

The worst

Bullying in realtime?

Clubhouse can be a platform that can easily bully someone in real time.

Even though I have not been bullied, I have been in awkward situations in rooms where I had opposing ideas to the majority. And it’s easy to be sidelined by a community when you had opposing ideas.

I can see how things can quickly escalate into bullying. I won’t be surprised when the app opens to the public there will be a significant number of incidents of bullying unless the creators find a way to overcome it.

The best place to spread misinformation?

Also Clubhouse can the best place to spread misinformation, faster than Facebook or Twitter. Since users can talk without showing their faces, and a verbal oppinion can have more effect on someone than reading a post from Facebook. I won’t be surprised if Clubhouse becomes the best place for propaganda and misinformation once the platform open up to the public.

So in conclusion, Clubhouse even though has had a positive impact on me up until now, there is a dark underbelly waiting to be exposed in the near future.

If you like to join Clubhouse and don’t have an invitation, I have five invitations now. Email me at [email protected] and I will send you an invitation if possible.

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