Clubhouse aimed at encouraging diversity. Does it work?


London-based Higgins joined the wave in October last year, calling it a “musical renaissance” and saying the user base – at least for him – was much blacker at the time than it is today, which differed from its mostly white technology base. early days. The app is now being launched in India, expanding to the UK and other parts of Europe, as well as Africa, Australia and South America.

“Each of these cities has had some kind of cultural impact on the types of rooms we would see,” said creator Minh Do, who hosts clubs like Crazy Good Fun and Movie Club, which often have more than 500 users in a room. One example he gave was the green moderator tag, which Atlanta users started calling “green beans” – and it got stuck.

“It was pretty hard at first, but I came in after George Floyd, and my impression of what happened then is that there was a need for diversity from the user base at the time, and I think that’s how it’s continued since then.” , he added. “I don’t think Clubhouse has strong control over demographic changes in the app, because it’s in the hands of users to invite whoever comes.”

Clubhouse does not collect demographic data from users when creating an account, so there is no way to quantify how diverse the platform is. A company spokesman pointed to several leading color creators, some of whom are based in other countries, with an audience of more than 1,000 users.

Other social media platforms with an international base are similarly diverse, and users can turn Clubhouse into a kind of echo, but the app’s algorithm – albeit a bit mysterious – relies heavily on user “interests” to fill your hallway, making you more likely to find users outside of their bubble. With just one profile picture and username to identify users, the app also circumvents some of the racial prejudices built into the artificial intelligence that has given apps like Twitter in trouble before. However, although there are many examples of what should not be done, the question remains: Does the company know what to do next?

What does growth look like?

In recent months, Clubhouse has begun to be more responsive to creators, launching the “Creators First” initiative to support selected creators by providing resources, services and monetary compensation. The application has also been added payment feature using a Stripe that allows users to monetize their audience – with 100 percent of the money going directly to the user, unlike other platforms that take cut money.

Such features are encouraging, especially for color creatives, who are often cut off from online profits. However, outside the user base, part of the inclusion equation as the application grows grows biased by the people behind the technology. One of the two co-founders of the app, Seth, is a person of color, while the other, Davison, is white.

“There is definitely a ray of strong masculine energy. The more popular rooms are mostly those with mostly white, male technical speakers, ”said Beth, noting that there were other voices present – if you were going in search. “When two men launch an application that has roots in Silicon Valley, with this agenda to be inclusive, the air is different than when a woman launches an application to ensure that women feel safe in that community. With Clubhouse, exclusivity may once have been a marketing tactic, but at some point it may become their Achilles heel. “

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