Is it the new

I was wrong about Instagram and I may be wrong about Clubhouse but I can’t say that I have any use for it, if for no other reason than I don’t want to hear what most people have to say. Put me in the Fran Lebowitz camp, although I am not anti-tech. was the hottest thing in the marketplace for about a month, then it crashed and burned. In theory it was genius, everybody could become a deejay, but when it turned out no one wanted to listen to the picks of other players, it was history.

It’s not like we haven’t seen this paradigm before, starting with AOL. Don’t you remember? That was one of the platform’s main drawing cards, its chats with famous people, you could be up close and personal with household names! But it turned out you were ultimately a number and it didn’t help the celebrities/acts that were promoting and the chats evaporated.

Ultimately replaced by the Reddit AMA. Heard any buzz about those recently? They used to ask me to do those on a regular basis, I haven’t gotten an invite for a while, but maybe that’s testimony to my career arc, as opposed to the platform, but I don’t think so.

So Clubhouse is literally a club. You cannot play if you’re on Android and you cannot play unless you’ve got an invitation, which are easier to come by these days, but still there is mania, as is always the case when you’re locked out of something cool.

iOS only. Here we have it, it’s definitive folks, if you’re on Android you’re a second-class citizen. Everything happens first on iOS because that’s where the money is. Apple’s customers are flush, the handsets alone cost more than Android. So, if you don’t have an Apple handset, you’re SOL.

As for those invites… This is the first throwback to the paradigm of twenty years ago. When it was constantly about the new new thing. It’s positively nostalgia. Now the platforms are established. Prior to Elon Musk, no one had started a new automobile company in decades, not one that aimed to compete with the big boys. The market was mature.

The internet is mature.

Now if you’re twenty years old, you may have no frame of reference. but the internet was the coolest thing for about twenty years. Constant entertainment. New drops that were actually interesting, as opposed to most of the music being released. And unlike the musicians, the app creators never bitched about money, they gave it away for free until they reached critical mass and then figured out how to monetize. Which is why for a while there, Google and even Facebook had more cred than any artist. Google said it was doing no harm. Artists were yelling for attention and complaining about remuneration all at the same time, whereas these internet behemoths were passive, you were pulled to them as opposed to vice versa.

So most people can’t play on Clubhouse. Which means the early adopters, the geeks, the powerful, can feel superior to everybody else. But once the hoi polloi come along…

They’re out of there.

Do you really expect the aforementioned Musk and the rest of the household names who’ve appeared on Clubhouse to continue to do so as time goes by? Of course not, not unless they’re selling something. I give the AOL chat and the Reddit AMA as examples here. Furthermore, once everybody starts selling is when most of us tune out, it’s already a problem on Clubhouse, the scamsters preying on the ignorant.

So, you sign up via a sleek interface and then…you listen to people talk?

Maybe if you’re nobody from nowhere you’re intrigued by the access to famous people, maybe you might feel like you belong, but if you’ve got any bona fides at all, if you’re interested at all, it’s only because you want to be hip.

Like the founders of SPACs. You know when the celebrities get in on something it’s over. Kind of like GameStop and Robinhood. Sure, some short sellers lost their shirts, but the truth is it was the retail customers, the people trading at home, who really got creamed. Because trading is a professional business, kind of like gambling. If you could really win consistently at the tables would Vegas even exist?

So at first you’re intrigued, you recognize some of the names. Then you go into the rooms and you hear them doing the same act they’ve been doing on other platforms, and you tune out. Hell, you already stopped watching them on other platforms.

And the conversations are endless. Imagine if you had to read each and every tweet, each and every Facebook or Instagram post, you’d die of frustration and boredom. No, with social media you skim. But you can’t skim on Clubhouse, you’ve got to dedicate your time to nitwits pontificating. Thought was that the unheard would triumph in news as a result of internet access. But with all the bozos bloviating, the truth is the “New York Times” has become ever more powerful, employing these same bones, the internet itself, the “Times” has a greater reach than it ever has before. And its competitors trying to maintain their margins are heading straight towards obsolescence, which is why Alden is buying all these papers and bleeding them dry. I live in Los Angeles, I read the “Los Angeles Times,” there’s almost nothing in it, I couldn’t convince a single person to subscribe. But if you couldn’t subscribe, if it was for the elite only, people would be knocking at the door.

Which is now happening with Clubhouse.

So what you end up with is the nobodies and the hypesters, they’re the ones who dominate social media. And the ills are well-documented, the formation of groups preaching hatred and falsehoods and yes, you can use Clubhouse to organize, but if you think this is where the elite are going to go to hang out, that Clubhouse is the new salon, you’re delusional.

Furthermore, although some social media stars have made money, the truth is almost none of them cross over to the mainstream and almost all of them burn out. Yes, you have to constantly create content, keep up your subscriber numbers, and in most cases you’re selling nothing really. Yes, Kim Kardashian did this successfully before you, but that was in a different era, before television blew apart, when you could make headway on the cable system, which much of the younger, target audience has abandoned anyway. Yes, you can be famous for nothing and make money at it, but a lot less famous and a lot less rich. Those in the door first make the cash, everybody else loses, kind of like a pyramid scheme.

And you know Clubhouse is not about enriching the public, just lining the pockets of those who created it and their VC backers. And after the company is sold, in many cases it stalls or disappears, can you say “Tumblr”?

These are fads. In many cases no different from pet rocks. It’s just that they’re virtual. Everybody is excited, and then they are not. People are not loyal to the platform, if they were everybody would not have left Facebook for Instagram.

Then again, Facebook bought Instagram and is building its own Clubhouse.

But we’ve seen this movie before too. With Meerkat. Yes, we want to livestream! Everybody can become a broadcaster! But just like with blogs, once people found out no one was paying attention to them, they gave up and moved on. Heard about Meerkat recently? Sure, livestreaming is a thing, but not a dominant thing, just another internet tool.

So all the Luddites reporting are thumbs-up on Clubhouse because it’s talking, it’s long-form. And never underestimate old media’s interest in promoting its roots. The establishment hates progress for fear its power will be usurped. But think about it, is Clubhouse radically different from the telephone party lines of the last decade? In the pre-internet era you could pay a supplier an exorbitant rate to experience cacophony with people you thought you wanted to know but ultimately found out you didn’t. The promise was great, you could meet new people. But the platform wasn’t that good at this, and it turned out most of these people you didn’t want to know anyway.

Which is why these platforms, like Snapchat and Instagram and Facebook, are sustained by the bottom, the masses. Come on, tell me about a household name Snapchat or Instagram star. We do have a few on YouTube, but once the spotlight is upon them they’re revealed to be nincompoops, like PewDiePie and the Paul brothers. So, they’re making money preying on idiots, we’re supposed to respect that, see them as the future when they are not?

But it’s a big country, if not a big world. And once Clubhouse goes Android and is open to anybody there will be a rush in. Hopefully it will be sold right around that time, before everybody realizes there isn’t a whole hell of a lot there.

Bottom line… We want to interact with others, we want access to the rich and powerful. But there are much better ways to interact with people than Clubhouse, if voice were that good we’d still be praying to the telephone. Hell, most people, especially young ones, don’t even use their smartphones for voice, it’s too INEFFICIENT! As for the rich and powerful…if you think they truly want to interact with you, you’ve never approached them cold in a restaurant or on the street where if you’re lucky, they’ll be nice, but chances are they won’t be, and one thing we know is the encounter will be brief.

But we’re all looking for fodder, something to talk about, something new. So Clubhouse gets an inordinate amount of coverage. Think about it, is this what you really want, to be listening without seeing on your phone for hours on end? As for those who say they’re doing it now…either they want to check it out because that’s their gig, to be up on new stuff, or else they’re early adopters burnishing their image, not that anybody really cares anymore.

Do I want to hear what interesting people have to say?


Do I think Clubhouse is the platform to provide this?


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