Essentially an updating of the PalTalk concept, Clubhouse shines through because of its design and the sheer fun it offers users. Image Credit: Adam/Gulf News

Technology leaps make themselves felt in many ways and forms.

Facebook pages to Twitter short texts, Instagram photos to short videos on Snapchat, TikTok trends to broadcast videos on Periscope and YouTube – you have seen it all. Now unfolds Clubhouse and its audio rooms - the PalTalk of this era.

Essentially an updating of the PalTalk concept, Clubhouse shines through because of its design and the sheer fun it offers users. I started a vote on my Twitter @aazarouni on the trend and this is what I could gauge from the responses.

Diversity of usage

While many users deal with the app as a social network, the audio rooms are open for everyone to participate in the dialogue as if in a gathering. And some use it as a panel discussion, so speaking is limited to a limited group and all attendees are in listen-only mode. The audience’s posts are in the form of temporary and immediate interventions.

Many of my respondents are upset with this method, as they consider it a suppression of views.

Another feature of the Clubouse is the audio lecture, with questions received at the end of it. This is beneficial for those with expertise in any single domain. Then there is the ‘live event’ aspect, where everyone can comment.

Clubouse can serve an institutional purpose to hold meetings between employees. The app has an advantage of offering ‘closed rooms’ that the uninvited people cannot enter.

By invitation

Access is only through an invitation from a person who uses the service. But there are concerns about the app requiring registration via a phone number and the access it needs to all the numbers you have stored in your phone, and comparing the registered friends on each other's phones. This may raise some questions of the way it connects users.

Be rid of them

Some people can take advantage by spreading toxic words wrapped in flattery and malice. That is why we must not stay with them in any of the audio rooms, even if you think that you are an aware person and that you only visit to watch or refute.

We should all block these accounts to prevent their presence among us, and leave their futile arguments to those with the specializations.

Keep spreading

First there was Snapchat Stories and then versions spread to all social networking apps. It is now the case with Clubhouse, which has become an alternative to listening to the radio or music for many, where the audio rooms buzz with conversations.

Time-consuming, addictive

Many of my respondents complained about the time being spent and how this eats into peoples’ lives. Due to the long duration users spend on it, many other apps have lost their usual traffic.

The most affected, in my opinion, are Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Therefore, Twitter and Facebook decided to launch features similar to those of Clubhouse. The first was the Space feature from Twitter, which has become available to a number of users and will be available for everyone soon.

It is a place where followers can listen to the user or share the conversation. And this is what Facebook will include in its app and Instagram, and may also reach WhatsApp, Telegram, and even YouTube as well.

One of the most attractive features of Clubhouse is that it crosses continents and countries. So you can, in moments, form friendships with people in a neighboring or a distant country. This is a wonderful thing provided that we preserve our values, customs, and traditions. We are all ambassadors for our countries, whether in the plains, plateaus, skies, or in the universe of the internet and its apps.

The makers of Clubhouse have begun to understand that it became a vital app overnight. So, the mechanism of updates has accelerated, and the shortcomings being taken care of.

No application is devoid of challenges, toxic platforms, and mine burrows. Each of us must choose the appropriate benefits. So, even as you enjoy the features, be aware of the risks…

Ahmed Al Zarouni is a Dubai-based tech specialist.