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Clubhouse: How the new trend is fostering healthy discussions

Post by on Sunday, July 11, 2021

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“Can rice be put in Nun-chai”, a moderator asks. While majority of the speakers, apparently belonging to Srinagar refuse and call the act ‘profane’; some (a minority) explain how people belonging to villages, in days of yore used to had rice with tea because they couldn’t afford  flour to make chapattis. “They could have used Aabe-czhot (a rice flour crepe) instead,” someone yells. 
The above is an excerpt of a discussion from a Kashmiri clubhouse room, where people have been discussing everything under the sun. Launched in 2020, Clubhouse-an audio-only social app is witnessing an overwhelming response in Kashmir. Being iOS exclusive for over a year since its launch, clubhouse rolled out the android app on May 21 in several countries including India which lead to a steep increase in the number of users across the globe along with Kashmir.
Clubhouse is a drop-in chat-room-based social media app. With hundreds of rooms available 24X7 a user can hop in and explore different conversations. While being in the audience, you can also raise your hand to be allowed to speak. Links to Clubhouse chat rooms have been sprouting up on various social media, which has lured a good number of users towards it.
“I came across a tweet which had a link to a room on Clubhouse. I had never heard of it before so I went straight to the play store and downloaded the app. Since then I’ve been a part of many discussions on politics, environment, history, books etc. Now I host rooms and moderate discussion on various topics of my own choice. People join in across places and put forward their perspectives and hence lead healthy and edifying discussions,” said, a user, Abrar Fayaz.
The popularity of Clubhouse propelled as it facilitated virtual amassing of people amid the Covid-19 induced lockdown. It helped people to connect across borders which fostered them in coping with stress and anxiety caused by sedentary behavior during the pandemic.
“With Clubhouse, the chat rooms of early internet days — which helped exchange texts only — got real. In Kashmir, it has generated a greater buzz because of the shut conversations it has opened. People were choked for at least two years due to consecutive lockdowns, Clubhouse is helping ease that. They like it also because it doesn't require 'writing skills'. Hope it doesn't end like other platforms,” says a clubhouse user.
 Clubhouse is also proving to be a useful tool for the artists in Kashmir, who are using the platform to promote their art. Singers, poets, artists are seen hosting sessions where they are able to engage the audience with their talent. 
“As a poet, Clubhouse has helped me in connecting with my audience. Various poetic sessions conducted by Captured Illusions, Coffe and Kalaam and other platforms helped me in building a niche audience, who listen to my work and give instant feedback. I’ve also been a part of some debates, where one gets pushed to work and think faster, with greater efficiency. It feels so good when you see people giving their time and listen to your work,” said Asif Bhat, a young Kashmiri poet.
Startup, crypto, and finance are the hot topics that are most talked about on Clubhouse. People talk about the trends in the share market and ask for advice directly from the experts on where and when to invest. With big names from the crypto-world joining Clubhouse, potential crypto investors are following in their footsteps and making use of the platform to remove their apprehensions regarding digital currency.
While a good chunk of the population loves and is following the Clubhouse trend, it at the same time is not going well with some because of privacy concerns.
 “Clubhouse leveraged FOMO (fear of missing out) by enabling existing users to send invitations to friends to join the club (which is the only way to join clubhouse). I started using it few days before the official launch for android, when one of my friends sent me an invitation. I was tempted to join because I struggle with FOMO. 
“Initially, I would spend a considerable amount of time on random rooms ranging from crypto, political and friends ping you up for a chat. But since I came across some news about how Clubhouse undermines users privacy, I’ve started distancing myself from the app. It has been long since I actually spoke or heard anything on Clubhouse,” said Khalid Bashir.

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