Feb 12, 2021Liked by Obie Fernandez

While I'm normally a huge optimist for social networking, I have trouble seeing how Clubhouse will maintain this moment of clarity. Their current paradigm of authenticity basically relies on security through obscurity, since there is not much, if anything, that prevents members from making recordings of the proceedings, and you can already start to hear people behaving in a cagey and performative way. Everyone loves the lack of video and text, but this also provides some awkward hurdles to normal communication. I gather that there is some way to "pull to refresh" which can share links, but I haven't figured out how - maybe it is only for moderators? Likewise the fact that rooms are not recorded is very poetic, and certainly has tons of benefits, but it's difficult seeing that thrive as a long-term approach.

Clubhouse is known as a feature-limited system, but perhaps, to stay healthy while also growing large, what they need are more chances to configure your account and your rooms, at least with flags showing what you expect - or even what languages you speak. Their notifications should be a great strength, given the transience of the platform, but they are truncated in a way that limits their legibility. People seem to assume that the app will soon come to Android, which could be a transformative moment of its own. And, the network/audio hiccups that are already common do too much to take us out of the moment. I think a lot of these challenges could be met with good design, but I've never seen a network take the needs of detailed configuration seriously (Facebook came closest before they switched to React and their markup became a bowl of mush).

Speaking of Facebook, both they are Twitter are launching competitors to this audio network. Perhaps those venues will draw off some of the demand, and let Clubhouse have the space to gradually polish it's niches.

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Actually, it's not just about discussions. You can play music; so you can easily create a "Trance listening party" room and "DJ" in there without the visuals... and physical crowd/energy. If you want the audience feedback loop, perhaps you can ask them to flash their mics or cheer on if they enjoy, or something fun like pick up DJing where you left off. The advantage of CH for a musician is playing your music (possibly in front of industry influencers) and telling your backstory in an intimate virtual environment, kinda like being in a little jazz club with eyes closed. There are also silent rooms, like writing rooms for writers to write together silently :)

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