Apps

Clubhouse

The voice-only app's rooms range from innocuous to substantive to deliberately inflammatory.

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Clubhouse, a voice-only chatroom app, keeps no permanent record of what is said there. Its rooms range from innocuous to substantive to deliberately inflammatory. At its best, it's like being at a lively dinner party—the sort that were common in the Before Times.

Though its critics say otherwise, it's wrong to think of Clubhouse as just a contrarian playground for the tech-adjacent. I've used it to understand everything from Beijing's expulsion of foreign journalists to anti-vaccination attitudes among the French, from the Torah's views on proselytizing to how to host better actual dinner parties.

The intimacy of hearing people's voices often leads to a culture of civility not found on Twitter. The fact that it all happens in real time makes it raw and unfiltered. And the conversations themselves remain—for now—thrillingly unregulated, unrecorded, and unfettered.

NEXT: In & Of Itself

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  2. “unrecorded”, sure, let’s accept that as true. How could any tech adjacent person believe otherwise?

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  3. Who has time for this kind of crap?

    1. That’s what I say about podcasts. Who the fuck has time to listen to endless hours of audio?

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  4. Even if it is just a contrarian playground for the tech-adjacent, how is that a problem for anyone else?

    1. ever heard of Twitter?

  5. They had this in the 1990s on regular landline phones. For a low per minute fee you could call and talk to the other interesting people in your area who were so interesting they were also at home watching late night TV on Fridays.

  6. So, you might have heard about this new audio social network app called Clubhouse because some NYT asshole tried to smear Andreesen by claiming that he said something verboten in a group chat.

    That was the first I’d heard of it, and it’s an invitation-only beta at this point, so I went back to ignoring it.

    A little while ago though, an old friend from my Apple days sent me an invite, and I decided to take a look. I downloaded the app, gave it my real name and number, and was informed that I had two invitations of my own to send out.

    Well, it turns out that the app demands access to my contacts in order to send an invite. Sorry, I have no experience with this app’s developer, and therefore zero trust. You’re not going to mine my phone, that’s a Facebook level of overreach.

    So, I tabled sending out invitations and poked around in the app a bit. Listened to a discussion that sounded interesting, and it turned out that the mods of the discussion had turned off the feature that would let me raise my hand and participate, so it was effectively a podcast. Ok, don’t need another podcast app.

    Continue poking around the app, and find out that somehow I’m following a pile of people I’ve never heard of and certainly didn’t choose to follow, so I start unfollowing them. App throws an alert message up, saying I’m using the feature too much. EXCUSE ME? The app vetoes me unfollowing someone?

    Fuck that, I’m out.

    I don’t know who’s behind Clubhouse, but they can go fuck themselves.

    -jcr

    1. When they say the app is going viral, they mean it’s like a virus.

  7. Clubhouse allows for more informal conversations, without the emphasis on visuals and text like other social networks.
    You don’t have to turn on the camera, limit yourself to people you already know, think about lighting and appearance, and check the stability of the Internet.
    Clubhouse is like exclusive radio in a relaxed format: anyone can call in live and talk to a celebrity.

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