TEST YOURSELF: Join the club

TEST YOURSELF: Join the club

Photo from Reuters
Photo from Reuters

Will Clubhouse become the next big social media platform?

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Read the following story by Thana Boonlert from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

The virtual chat room app Clubhouse was launched 11 months ago, but it wasn’t until tech giants like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg appeared that the app became a household name. It was downloaded 8.1 million times in the first half of February alone.

In Thailand, netizens are questioning whether Clubhouse will become the new social media sensation. The craze has led to many Thais joining, including Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Kla Party leader Korn Chatikavanij.

However, it was the appearance of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra under the pseudonym of Tony Woodsome last week that boosted the hype.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said he would not join the app because he didn't have time and could not understand why people gave Thaksin so much attention. Instead, he instructed officials to monitor his chatroom and check for any distorted information. Earlier, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society warned users not to break the law after it became a platform for discussing the monarchy.

Assoc Prof Pijitra Suppasawatgul, head of Journalism and New Media at Chulalongkorn University, attributed the popularity of Clubhouse to the social network effect.

"People will follow their friends. In fact, the emergence of new platforms is very difficult because online media are booming. A tweet by Elon Musk [that he would join the app] fuelled the demand," she said.

She said the exclusive nature of Clubhouse -- audio-only and restricted to iPhone users who each have a limit of two invitations -- recreates an experience of going to an exclusive party.

When asked whether the app will become a mainstream social media platform, she explained that "it is too early to say", but the app remains professional -- at least for now.

Pijitra said the app disrupts traditional media, but brings about new opportunities for them. Reporters can have their own channels, and anyone who can generate interesting content can build their online presence.

"Nowadays, content is king. It is a healthy environment for business and mass communication. When it comes to politics, it shows the government's inability to control technology and dissident views," she said.

Pijitra added that the manipulation of media by politicians is not different from what happened during the yellow-red political conflict. In those days, some media were linked with political parties, such as Democrat-operated BlueSky TV and red-shirt Asia Update TV.  

Section 1: Write the correct answer in the space provided.
1. Clubhouse became very popular as soon as it was launched. True or false? …………….
2. Who uses the name Tony Woodsome? …………….
3. Whose tweet made the app popular? …………….
4. How many people can users invite to the app? …………….
5. The government can control content on the app. True or false? …………..
6. Politicians have had links to media before Clubhouse. True or false? …………….

Section 2: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.
Lecturer Pimphot Seelakate asked what …7… of content is on the app because it may be gossip, information or knowledge. Some users …8… think that whatever they hear on the app is fact. Pimphot compared the app and the classroom …9… Clubhouse allows public speakers to give an audience a "lecture". This fits with our education system where students …10… whatever teachers say to be "knowledge".

7. __A. use             __B. kind                __C. area
8. __A. might                 __B. would               __C. are
9. __A. because            __B. however               __C. due to
10. __A. consider            __B. consideration            __C. considers

Section 3: Find words that match the following definitions.
11. something that is very popular for a short period of time……………
12. a false or fake name ……………
13. a person with strong anti-government views ……………
14. the act of controlling something for your own advantage …………

Answers: 1. false. 2. Thaksin Shinawatra. 3. Elon Musk. 4. two. 5. false. 6. true. 7. b. 8. a. 9. a. 10. a. 11. craze. 12. pseudonym. 13. dissident. 14. manipulation.

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