Info-tech

Why everyone is Clubhousing and Koo-ing all of a sudden

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 09, 2021

The two new social media flavours of the month

It is Koo’s Mastodon moment. Remember how in November 2019, angry Twitter users in India flocked to the social network created by a German coder in solidarity with a lawyer activist who had been locked out of Twitter. Right now, it is ministers from the Indian government, who are locked in a battle with the microblogging platform that is promoting desi Koo as an alternative.

On Tuesday, Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal announced on Twitter that he was now on home-grown Koo. Soon after his announcement, a host of Twitterati shared their Koo handles. Significantly, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya have been on Koo for a while, as have some celebrities such as cricketers Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath, besides Sadhguru and actors Ashutosh Rana and Ashish Vidyarthi.

On Monday, Koo had put out a statement that key organisations from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had set up accounts on Koo as a strategic response against Twitter for not complying with the order to block accounts that were tweeting about farmer genocide.

The Koo statement also said it had verified handles of MeitY, MyGov, Digital India, India Post, National Informatics Centre (NIC), Digi Locker, National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), among others, on it.

Earlier this month, the app that had won the AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge in August 2020, had announced that it had raised $4.1 million as part of its Series A funding. Infosys veteran Mohandas Pai’s 3one4 Capital is now an investor on board.

Users of Koo have pointed out areas for improvement such as better interface on IoS and better mechanism to find people.

Audio app

Meanwhile, start-up leaders and tech entrepreneurs seem to be flocking to audio app Clubhouse — perhaps because everyone is a little fatigued with video calls or it’s the flavour of the month, especially after Elon Musk appeared on it. Of course, it’s an iOS-only app, so only those with expensive Apple devices can use it.

The Clubhouse app has actually been around for a year but has, more recently, become the start of what many think is the age of ‘social audio’. The easy-to-use app is free, but one needs an invitation from a contact. Users get notifications about various talks in progress if the user leaves them open to all, and one can drop in and listen or even join conversations.

The question is: will these apps go the Mastodon way, which many were touting to be a Twitter killer, but went quietly into oblivion, or become the next Tik Tok?

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Published on February 09, 2021
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