Why I won't join ClubHouse, and the real problem with it


Let’s talk somewhere else, please. And take notes.

A few days ago, I summarized the biggest seven things that are good and bad in ClubHouse. Here, I share two obvious things about ClubHouse, explain why I won’t use it personally, and conclude with something that may be a disaster, in spite of everything else, if the “ClubHouse way” became THE main way to communicate online.

Things you can be positive about ClubHouse

Why I won't join ClubHouse, and the real problem with it /img/django-sure-i-am-positive.small.jpg
  1. the idea that “there is no way to record conversations on ClubHouse” is ridiculous, and completely false. ClubHouse sessions are recorded, saved, and already posted on YouTube.
  2. I have no idea if ClubHouse is a cesspool or not, right now. But if it grows enough to make its investors happy it will surely become one… no less and no more than Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and any other instant social media that is used by the masses. It’s just a question of numbers, and rules. Over a certain number of users, no rules means cesspool, rules mean that good/interesting/creative discourse becomes an ever smaller proportion of the total.

Me, on ClubHouse? Never say never, but…

Unrestrained conversations, even among total strangers, are important, good and necessary, or at least unavoidable, for all the reasons discussed here. Still, I can’t see myself joining anything like ClubHouse, for two reasons. One is the same why I stopped watching talk shows and electoral debates years ago on TV: I have millions of better ways to spend my time, that bear people who talk over each other, making themselves harder to hear. Regardless of what they say.

But even when there is only one person talking, there already are too many “harmful” podcasts and videos to add ClubHouse to the picture. I really despise being forced to take twenty minutes to get something I could have learned in 30 seconds of skim-reading, even from an unedited transcript of the same talk. Anything “audio-only” like ClubHouse has the same limit, as far as I am concerned. Then, there is the larger, real problem.

The real problem with anything like ClubHouse

As you can read in my previous post on ClubHouse, one of the problems there, as far as journalists are concerned, would be that ClubHouse would force fact-checkers “listen to hours and hours of conversations before selecting what claims should be assessed”. But what is true for fact checkers is true for all of us:

Why I won't join ClubHouse, and the real problem with it /img/bladerunner-clubhouse.jpg

Free, unrestrained, cesspool-approaching conversations? OK, go ahead. But if they end there, that is if they leave no easily reusable, easily indexable, easily shareable summaries, that is: written, readable records not just automatic transcripts.. that would be really, really bad for a society that is built on the written word, and has practically all its most important, hard-earned lessons stored in writing. A common memory and understanding of events that are not “interoperable” with what happened before are not really memory and understanding.

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