This unique social experience does a great job of giving all people a voice, but there's still room to grow -- and it's definitely not for kids. Clubhouse: Drop-in audio chat is a truly fresh take on social media. Without a feed to scroll or images to share, it's based purely on conversation. And a lot of that conversation is about big ideas, coming together, and supporting each other. For teens of color, in the LGBTQ+ community, or teens who can't find their people where they live, an app like this could be an amazing find. With groups like "Therapy for Black Girls," "Powerful Black Women," "BIPOC Queer Folx," and "Amigos - Latinos/Latinas Unit, Network, Fun," there are opportunities for community that are harder to find on other social media platforms. The lack of image-sharing puts the focus on conversation, and hearing someone's voice is refreshing as anonymous internet comments are frequently cruel and cold.
On the flip side, it's important for parents to know that this isn't an app for young teens. There's a ton of sexy stuff, swearing, and discussion of substance use alongside the knowledge and community-building, and it's all just a click away. And, like every other social media platform, the stance of "we're different and lack toxicity" evaporated pretty quickly, as hate speech has sometimes infiltrated this app like all the others. In terms of functionality, it has room to improve. Even with muting and etiquette, some rooms have people talking over each other so that it's too hard to listen. Self-promotion is definitely a focus for some. And sexy profile pictures of people in their underwear just seem out of sync with the app itself. Of course, it would also be easy for hate-focused groups to create rooms that teens could drop into, so open conversations come with risks. But for older teens who have proven they can be safe and responsible online, there may be informative, supportive groups and people on Clubhouse that are harder to find elsewhere, and connecting through voice removes some common social media pressures.