Do you experience FOMO? The “fear of missing out” is the single strongest driver of growth for social media. People flock to social media platforms to be “in the know” and engage with others like themselves. Friendster drives toward MySpace, which drives toward Facebook and Twitter, which drives toward Instagram and Pinterest -- and most recently, toward Clubhouse.
Unfortunately, the path of social media is also littered with corpses like ChatRoulette. FOMO can be an initial motivator, but once the masses arrive, you have to offer something of value, and it has to be secure and make sense.
Clubhouse -- an invite-only, audio-based app solely available on iPhones right now, and currently still in beta -- is a name that has popped up dozens of times in my social media and email feeds the last week. I’ve been given a number of invitations to join, but I’m not currently experiencing FOMO. Is it possible that could change? Yes. Is it going to change this week? Probably not.
Clubhouse is described as “where people from around the world come together to talk, listen and learn from each other.” That sounds interesting, but if the last four years have taught me anything, it’s that not everyone deserves a voice all of the time.
The initial promise of the internet was that of a self-publishing platform where everyone could publish the content they find of interest. I still love that concept, but it has been twisted into something I find concerning. We’ve created a monster that allows hate to spread and divisiveness to cut deeply.
Social media has no filter. I am not authorizing censorship -- absolutely not. I am hoping human beings can evolve to a place where we think about what we say before we say it, and we are open to a positive discourse rather than shutting down anyone we do not agree with. I also hope social media platforms can take responsibility for furthering a discourse in a positive light and not hide behind other arguments.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was searching for ways to stay connected with everyone I know. As time wore on and people set up their structured pods and little communities, the world fractured a bit more. My circle grew smaller and I’ve maintained contact with the people I find most important to me.
Don’t get me wrong -- I miss some of the rest of my community, but in many cases they moved on without me, and I was forced to move on as well. I found solace in staying involved with a smaller group and going deeper, getting to know them more and connecting on a more personal level.
So when a new channel like Clubhouse pops up, it feels to me like another drag on my valuable time that's currently being spent in a positive, self-fulfilling manner.
I may not be in the majority, judging by my various feeds. My “cutting edge” friends are all in on Clubhouse. They are setting up conversations and get-togethers and talking about whatever topics are of interest to them at that time. I encourage them to do so, and at some point I may be intrigued enough to dive in with them, but I don’t have that sense of FOMO quite yet.
Sincerely -- the old fuddy-duddy who used old-school writing to get his point across. I am soooo 2005 right now.