After garnering an estimated 8 million downloads since its launch, Clubhouse’s recognition continues internationally and even exterior of its unique tech-focused seed group.

The most recent information comes from East Asia, the place Korean media reported this morning that the nation’s present prime minister, Chung Sye-kyun, has formally joined the social audio app beneath the username @gyunvely, making him among the many most senior political leaders worldwide to hitch the burgeoning app. His account was created on Valentine’s Day (February 14th) and was “nominated” by a consumer utilizing the identify of TJ Park (Clubhouse doesn’t have verified profiles).

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Clubhouse this weekend. Screenshot by Danny Crichton.

Up to now, the prime minister has garnered barely fewer than 500 followers and is following a bit fewer than 200 accounts, maybe indicating the app’s present attain in one of many world’s most cellular and linked digital economies. His Clubhouse bio reads “노란잠바 그 아저씨” or “That Yellow Jacket Man,” a reference to the Korean civil protection uniform worn by politicians in times of crisis (akin to all through the COVID-19 pandemic) and which presently serves — in cartoon kind — as Chung’s profile image.

South Korean politicians usually put on yellow civil protection uniforms in instances of nationwide disaster. Photograph by South Korean Presidential Blue Home through Getty Photos

In keeping with native media experiences, Chung spoke in a Clubhouse room for over an hour with fellow Democratic Get together of Korea member Jung Cheong-rae. In a public Facebook post yesterday, the prime minister mentioned that “I heard this [app] is ‘sizzling’ lately so I attempted it as a nighttime stroll.”

He additional mentioned “I used to be just a little startled by the sudden questions and reactions however the brand new expertise was pleasing. I believe I’ll take part every so often sooner or later.” Elaborating, he mentioned “the truth that it’s audio-only and everybody can have a dialog with out reserve made me assume that it’s a greater communication device than some other social media platforms, particularly since presently we’re residing within the age of non-face-to-face communication.”

Discussions within the Clubhouse room included questions asking whether or not it was actually him, to extra bread-and-butter coverage points just like the excessive value of actual property and bodily abuse within the sports activities world, which has dominated headlines in current weeks in native media.

Whereas Clubhouse has turn into one thing of a fixture for techies and each type of hustle tradition connoisseur possible, the app has more and more made forays into politics which can be hardly unknown to different social networks.

Miami’s mayor Francis Suarez has been on Clubhouse to promote his metropolis’s potential for the tech trade. San Francisco district legal professional Chesa Boudin joined a “debate” on the platform about the future of SF, whereas NYC mayoral aspirant and throughout UBI nerd Andrew Yang joined a discussion about … himself. In the meantime, Bitcoin aficionado and itinerant Tesla chief Elon Musk has even proposed bringing Vladimir Putin onto Clubhouse for a reside hearth chat.

But, because the platform expands globally, the challenges to its open and free-wheeling if considerably moderated conversations are coming beneath nearer scrutiny. China has now blocked Clubhouse inside its borders after a brief period of uncensored conversation.

As Clubhouse continues to garner mainstream legitimacy and curiosity, questions proceed to percolate on the way forward for the app’s success, akin to how it will fund creators and proceed to thrive as soon as the world opens up after COVID-19.