Muslims on Clubhouse: an Interview with Alex Fox
Alex Fox is fostering community on Clubhouse. The new audio only app is taking the world by storm, and Alex has built two of the biggest Muslim clubs, with close to 56k total members, as well as a following of 31k herself. She is the founder of @originofmind, an engineer @warbyparker, and the kindest person you'll talk to on Clubhouse. Read on to find out how she built an amazing community and some insider Clubhouse tips!
How would you like to introduce yourself to the Vela community?
I think most of what I do revolves around ways to create social equity, and find solutions toward issues impacting our communities. Whether it’s through my company, by work as a developer, or even my time on Clubhouse, my end goal is to amplify underrepresented narratives and support communities of color, whatever forms that may take. What was your motivation in starting your two Clubhouse clubs “Muslims and Friends” and “Muslimahs”?
I didn’t see a lot of spaces that were specifically created to celebrate Muslims. I’ve always loved being in sisterhood with Muslim women, so I wanted to create the Muslimahs club to celebrate and connect us - talk about things on our minds, and have a space for us on the app. So many amazing sisters have helped to grow and create space with Muslimahs, including Mubarakah Ibrahim, who’s been leading a weekly “Wellness Lunchbreak” to discuss physical fitness, from the Sunnah of Health, to healthy eating and fasting in Islam.
Muslim’s & Friends originally started as just a space to showcase and highlight Muslim voices on the app - where Muslims and non-Muslims could engage in conversations on any topic. The original motivation was just to highlight Muslims across so many amazing industries, and hopefully combat negative stereotypes. As the club has grown though, we’ve prioritized the community first, and spend the most time creating spaces to engage our ummah, share knowledge, and connect.How have the clubs evolved and where would you like to see them go?
I think the clubs have evolved a lot! As more Muslims join the app, there are so many opportunities to connect and grow together. Two of my favorite rooms are our Jummah lectures and Sunday Surahs. It’s not a replacement for a Friday Khutbah, but has been a lovely way to have those community touchpoints that are missing now that going to the masjid is harder.
When we started there were a few hundred of us - now there are over 70,000 members between the two clubs - (and many more Muslims now on the app!). Recently we started a weekly news roundup to highlight a lot of things that are under the radar but really impacting our communities. Rami Nashashibi and Marta Woldearegay, for example, have been highlighting what’s happening in Tigray, Ethiopia with the atrocities against Muslims and the destruction of the masjid there.
As for where I would like to see the clubs go - I don’t know what the future looks like, but we’ll keep asking ourselves how we can better support and serve Muslims through the app, and go from there!What are the most interesting ways people are using Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is really interesting because people love or hate it for different reasons. Some use it as a networking tool to promote their brand or business, while others are using it as a social tool to make new friends and catch up with old ones. It's so easy to have these social conversations, and it feels very intimate. It’s an easy way to step in and out of discussions, and people love connecting with folks they might not usually have access to. I think there’s a lot of potential too for debate on important topics. I haven’t seen this work very well yet, but it’s maybe what I’m most excited about for the app. I think what’s cool is if you’re the kind of person who knows what you’re interested in and what your intentions are, then you can find your space on Clubhouse.
What insider tips would you give someone new to Clubhouse?
Explore, enter rooms, don’t be afraid to start rooms, and don’t be afraid to raise your hand. I would also say to follow people you find interesting, but don’t be afraid to unfollow people if they’re leading you astray. See where your interest lies. We put together some guidelines for Muslimahs around moderating, like being inclusive and being mindful of how others choose to be themselves, so I would definitely check those out too.
How do you think Muslims around the world will be using Clubhouse in Ramadan and are you planning anything exciting for Ramadan in your clubs?
Haha I have no idea how to predict how Muslims are going to use the app. I’m still surprised that the room I see pop up most often is about polygyny - not a topic I find particularly interesting and I’d never have guessed it’d be what people would choose to spend they’re time debating.
But for Muslims & Friends yes - I am very grateful that this Ramadan when many of us will likely again be in quarantine, I’ll have the clubhouse community to share and grow with. You can follow us on there to stay tuned!
Thank you so much to Alex for taking the time to speak with us and for creating some really wonderful communities on Clubhouse! You can find her at @alexandfox on Clubhouse and @alalafox on IG.