Democracy in Social Media: Clubhouse Collapse

I been on, tell me who gon take me off” – Beyoncé (Been On)

Someone on my timeline finally noted how quickly the hype around the latest social media app, Clubhouse, died down. It was reaffirmed by several thousands of retweets and favorites.

I’ve felt this way since the new year of 2021 hit. Chat rooms became repetitive and tiresome along with the opinions. There were times where conversations revolved around esoteric topics within different communities like LGBTQIA+, literary works, the African diaspora across the globe, and possibly many more nuanced discussions I could have missed.

Initially it was so cool to be “accepted” into a limited avails social site. However, that initial step preluded a forum for oligarchy.

Follow my train of thought, the big three social media machines have lasted over a decade: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Why? It’s a democratic playing field. Everyone gets to talk! Everyone has a mic, and everyone can reveal their inner narcissist (the generally acceptable kind, not the overwhelming disorder).

Clubhouse only allows moderators to speak and you must be the creator of the room, which makes you the moderator. Or, someone must give you the greenlight to do so. In smaller chat rooms, that isn’t a big issue. But in bigger rooms, where you may want to exercise your free right to speak without being called-on, you can’t. That’s where the conversation becomes a one-way street. Last I checked, many people don’t like lectures. At least, not all the time, because podcasts are banging, but only for so many listens in a day.

Since the new year, I noticed less rooms pop-up on my home page, unless I click to explore. Also, I see huge time gaps between the last online activity of my followers, usually 10 hours, more or less.

A huge difference between the content on Clubhouse versus the big three is comedy! I found it hard to listen or find consistent humorous dialogue. That’s usually where the comments section comes in. The app doesn’t have a comments section. Aside from the big three, even other mega platforms like YouTube, Reddit, TikTok, hell even SoundCloud, have a place for every user to sound off. The real content is always in the comments. As I said before, only those chosen have the opportunity to speak, so where’s the democracy in that? Most of all, where’s the fun?

Before developing my thoughts on this topic, I came across a woman on Twitter who acknowledged an integral part of any social media app – access. She brought up the inability of Clubhouse to deliver access to those who are sonically impaired. There is no text availability in the conversations on chatrooms or closed captioning.

Granted, I think Clubhouse aims to be a more “human engaged” app which is why I’m guessing the basis of function is your voice. Opposed to simple text with posting captions, writing online, or tweeting. But all of those latter functions are what makes social media available to everyone.

I don’t know how long Clubhouse will be around. But I think it was a great approach to innovating the traditional social media landscape.

P.S.

Away from the moan contests and random cashapp giveaways, how can you make money on this app? Hopefully, we’ll see!

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