The new app “Clubhouse” has thrust itself into social media’s mainstream and is now touted as the “fastest-growing social media app in the world.” The app was first launched in 2020, but has only recently gained the attention of the public after Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s recent appearance on the app in the beginning of 2021. Basically, Clubhouse offers individuals a virtual place to meet and have or host conversations and activities while giving the option to join in.
In response to the public’s enthusiastic reaction towards the app, the co-founders of Clubhouse, Paul Davison and Rohan Seth published an article welcoming new users on their blog. Davison and Seth revealed that at the start of January a total of two million people around the world, including musicians, scientists, and creators, have joined the app.
“We have also been blown away by the brilliance and creativity of the Clubhouse community,” Davison and Seth said. “Each night in Clubhouse, there are now thousands of rooms filled with people hosting game shows, recapping NBA games, singing opera, discussing philosophy, meeting other musicians, sharing travel tips, running support groups, and meditating together.”
Hannah Jun, a professor at Ewha Graduate School of International Studies, who has recently joined and been active on Clubhouse, shared her insights and experiences. Jun stated that on the app she has mainly been to four themed-rooms that focus on sustainability, startups, Ewha-related, and general social networking.
“I enjoyed listening to different perspectives and had the chance to hear some very insightful and inspiring chats,” Jun said. “While I am used to talking about my research interests, like sustainability and startups, it has been a long time since I have done some proper socializing without any hidden agendas.”
There is now a room that is dedicated for Ewha students, alumni, and graduates. The professor mentioned that there was excitement around the room from the shared experience of attending Ewha.
“Alumni were curious about what was going on at school, and some undergraduates who had not had the chance to attend physical classes were just happy to mingle with people in the Ewha community,” Jun said. “Students could also ask questions that they did not have the chance to ask before. For example, one student asked if it is ok to send emails to professors after they graduate. I shared a professor's point- of-view (“Of course!”) and it was just a really fun and useful exchange.”
With a keen interest and focus on international business and finance, Jun has also found pleasure in joining rooms that are focused on those themes. Listening to speakers with seasoned experience is something that she recommends all students to engage in, but not without caution.
“Clubhouse can be great for networking, building up communities and learning - but in some sense, it is often the person with the loudest voice who takes the virtual podium,” Jun said. “So I think there is a lot of insight that is not making it onto the platform, which may result in a lopsided discussion.”
Taking conversations with a grain of salt is what Jun recommends, but to also seize the opportunity to network and reach out.
“Try to be genuine, ask some thoughtful questions if you feel prompted to, and find your niche. Clubhouse can be a great place to strike up conversations as equals, because your voice counts just as much as anyone else's.”
Michelle Choi, a freshman in the Division of International Studies, shared her unique experience of getting to know Ewha and the Ewha community through Clubhouse even before starting school. She mentioned how glad she was to discover the room created for Ewha students, alumni, and graduates on Clubhouse.
“I was a bit nervous, so I remained as a listener at first, quietly listening to what other Ewha students were saying,” Choi said. “But as I listened more, I was relieved and grateful that I will be attending Ewha and joined as a speaker and talked with other students. All the students were so sweet and more than eager to help.”
Being able to personally communicate with students she had never met gave her an image about the school and students. For Choi, this fostered a sense of excitement to be part of what she calls “Ewhain’s” and what they can contribute to the world. This further motivated and excited her about starting school and becoming part of this growing community.
While still being new, Choi is also now moderating other rooms that cover a range of topics from societal issues such as cultural imperialism to distant topics like “Does mint chocolate taste like toothpaste?”. She hopes that the platform will give others further opportunities to make their voices heard.
“I want to create opportunities for everyone, including me, to talk about any ideas, thoughts, or events,” she said. “I am trying to cover topics that could satisfy the needs of varying groups and seriousness.”