FIR 204: Won’t you Join Us in our Clubhouse?

Clubhouse iOS app

How safe is Clubhouse? asks Wired magazine in the latest critical look at the social audio service that appeared in April 2020 – less than a year ago. It’s attracting huge attention globally.

Alongside the hype and hyperbole that have been hallmarks of the perceived attractiveness and exclusivity of the invitation-only iOS app that passed ten million users in February – a five-fold growth since recording two million in January – there’s increasing scrutiny of how the app works and how it deals with user privacy, data security, content moderation and more.

In the February episode of The Hobson and Holtz Report (episode 204 of the For Immediate Release podcast) that we recorded last weekend, Shel and I discuss Clubhouse from the communicator’s perspective, weighing up what we see as pros and cons of an embryonic social network that could be the poster child for an emerging segment in the social media landscape – real-time voice conversations with social features.

This segment is already a crowded place with start-ups galore. Jeremiah Owyang makes a credible analysis of what’s happening and offers his take on a roadmap, business models and a forecast.

Shel has been using Clubhouse for a while and in our discussion he outlines some of the benefits he sees for this app as a business communication tool. I’ve not used it yet (I have no iOS devices) so I’ve been merely an observer of what’s going on.

While I can see the benefits Shel sees, we’re both also concerned about privacy and other issues that I think seriously overshadow Clubhouse as increasing scrutiny reveals.

Before we got to the big Clubhouse topic, we talked about podcasts and can they be moderated (a question applying to Clubhouse, too), what happens when you introduce a new IT system and haven’t got employee comms along for the ride, the right and wrong ways to leverage newsjacking, ‘branter’ and long-term brand value; plus Dan York‘s tech report that covers Facebook’s erstwhile ban in Australia on news content, and the new Twitter Spaces, a Clubhouse rival on Android and iOS devices as part of Twitter that’s in limited testing before forthcoming launch.

FIR 204 topics

Listen Now:

(Or download the MP3 file)

Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music.

See the full show notes on the podcast blog for all the links including topics in Dan’s report.

Our next episode will be published on Monday March 15. As we’re now also publishing the live video of Shel and I creating each show, you are welcome to join us live and be part of things when we record on Sunday March 14 starting at noon ET / 5pm UK. Video recordings of each episode are published to our YouTube channel.

In the meantime, please join us each Thursday at 1pm ET / 6pm UK for 30 minutes of informal conversation in the FIR ZoomChat, a Clubhouse-like session of live audio that’s not recorded. For credentials needed to participate in the Zoom call, send an email to And please spread the word to your communications community.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.