Clubhouse allows up to 5,000 users to join audio chatrooms that disappear once the conversation is over. Some users said its format made them feel more willing to share personal stories and listen to different opinions. One user said in a chatroom about censorship that everyone could see that all those people who in the mainland were labeled dissidents, like Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, were real people. No longer were they hearing their voices filtered through official media.
Since Saturday, I spent nearly all my waking hours wandering from one Clubhouse chatroom to another. In one room, a documentary filmmaker shared his thoughts on making a film about a subculture of young migrant workers, called Smart, who try to stand out in a conformist culture through wild hair and piercings. In another, a doctoral student in sociology talked about his experiences as a meal delivery worker. A group of feminists read works by feminist writers. More than 3,000 people joined a chatroom that was dedicated to parodying Hu Xijin, possibly the most infamous Communist Party propagandist. (A favorite line: “As long as we have enemies everywhere, we have no enemies.”)
One chatroom with more than 100 people from northwestern China, where I’m from, focused on their interactions with ethic minorities.