It's even worse than it appears.
Wednesday September 2, 2020; 1:32 PM EDT
  • A reporter asked what I think of Clubhouse. It's been a month since my first impressions. So it seems like a good time to take stock. #
    • I still think it's interesting. #
    • I've added three of my friends to the service, I think that's important for its success, that people you know from outside Clubhouse are there, so you can see how they react to it, and how it reacts to them, what they see. The three of them come from very different perspectives. However so far I have yet to be on Clubhouse at the same time as they have, as far as I know. Not sure if there's a way to tell, especially when the people in a room are only fully available when you visit that room, and I don't always want to do that. How do I say to the room "I'm just lurking to see if there's anything there for me."#
    • I didn't invite my friends through their user interface, I made special requests to the support people via email. I didn't want to give them access to my contacts. It's not clear why they need access to contacts to add a friend to the system. #
    • I use Twitter and Facebook as places to rest my mind between programming and writing work. I've tried to use Clubhouse that way but it hasn't worked. The times I've gotten into discussions have been in the evenings after work (Eastern time). When I have more time to wait and watch and listen. #
    • On one room I heard a woman moderator with a beautiful radio voice. I wanted to say that, because along with intellect, having a soothing voice is important in a medium that only has audio and no visual cues. I like that, of course, like podcasting, because it involves your imagination, if they don't give you visual images. Your mind has to supply them, and that stimulates your creativity. Anyway I didn't say it because I wasn't sure it would be received well. #
    • There were times when I got into discussions that, if I had them on Twitter, I probably would have gotten excoriated for, because as a white man I am not supposed to know anything about certain things. It's kind of the opposite of mansplaining. Shut up stupid man, we'll explain to you how this really works. Well that didn't happen on Clubhouse. Maybe because what's said there is so ephemeral, or it's harder to project on a real human voice as opposed to characters on a screen, or because it's still early and almost everyone there is in a good mood and excited to be there at the beginning of something they think may be substantial. I like that feeling too. Anyway I was sure there'd be trouble, and there wasn't. #
    • Or maybe that unlike Twitter only one person can speak at a time on Clubhouse. I think technically more than one can speak but there seems to be a default that people let others finish before speaking. That's a pretty big difference, because when 10000 people are beating you up you can't really get a word in there without people using it for another reason you're a miscreant useless piece of garbage. (This why no one is authentic on any network, a frequent topic on Clubhouse. Forget about authenticity, focus on civility and letting people finish a thought, and the biggest -- benefit of the doubt.)#
    • I would like to see it used to explore things I don't know anything about. For example, I'd like to know what it's like now to live in NYC, which is where I grew up, and lived for 9 years before I moved to the Mid Hudson Valley in March 2019. I've been thinking about driving to NYC to explore neighborhoods I lived in, see what's changed I did after Katrina in New Orleans, a city I know because I went to college there. It was a life-changing experience.#
    • I think Clubhouse is going to hit some of the same walls other systems with the same structure do and in fact already is hitting them. If you go to a random room, chances are pretty good it's going to be a discussion about how Clubhouse should work. As if being there near the beginning gives you any power over how it will evolve. #
    • There's an assumption that you aren't being recorded, but I have a funny feeling the company must be recording what's said. Anyone who's listening could be recording. This could be a problem.#
    • I think it would be great if there were excellent discussion leaders who knew most of the people who had the power to speak in a room and could call on people. We had conferences in this format, called BloggerCons, in the 2000s. I think this system could work for that. They were very good, in most conferences the conversations move into the hallway. On Clubhouse those conversations don't happen.#
    • I've tried starting rooms a few times, invited people I know, and nothing happens. I still have yet to learn how to get a discussion going. I'd especially like to try it with one of my blog posts, but not enough of the people who read my blog are on Clubhouse. #
    • Finally, why don't they offer equity to users who make a contribution to their success? I know how VC-backed companies work, I spent 25 years in Silicon Valley in the business. In all these networks there's a line between the slaves, the people who use the system and get no compensation, and the employees who make lots of money and get stock options, and if it's successful can get rich even if their individual contribution wasn't pivotal. I'd be more willing to pour my creativity and time into the system if there was some upside other than satisfaction. I am all stocked up on satisfaction. I'd like to play for real money. #

© 1994-2020 Dave Winer.

Last update: Wednesday September 2, 2020; 2:46 PM EDT.

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