Just as I was figuring out what TikTok is for, now there’s an app called Clubhouse. The live, audio-only social network occasionally sounds cool (you can drop into rooms to imagine “How to rob a bank,” same as you can to make “Parent Confessions”), but it also sounds deceptively strange (a heavy tech presence, even when you don’t expect one). The New Yorker’s Anna Wiener spent hours listening to this and that on the app, looking for the answer to one question: Clubhouse sounds like a party, but is it a good one? “One night, while brushing my teeth, I listened to a different venture capitalist speak earnestly about the need for a more vulnerable conversation about tech. The venture capitalist suggested that the industry needed to normalize founders who cry; another speaker responded, vulnerably, that this sentiment was very powerful. Another day, I opened the app and saw that twelve hundred people were in a room co-hosted by Lindsay Lohan and Perez Hilton. Lohan, in her new identity as an investor, and with her unmistakable rasp, was talking about N.F.T.s. Later, I dropped into a Clubhouse on “FBI Negotiation Tactics”; somehow, even there, people were talking about how to invest in startups. It reminded me of the time, in my final semester of college, when I was invited to a dance party hosted by a secret society. For four years, I had walked past the society’s “tomb,” wondering about the activities of people who I assumed were more élite and enlightened than I was—who knew something about socializing that I never would. But it was just an undergraduate party: people I already knew, packed into a windowless room. What had I expected?”
. . . Meanwhile, Clubhouse’s competitors are coming up quickly.
In other journalism
– Eight papers, eight women: For the first time, the editors-in-chief of all eight Ivy League student publications are women. (A delightful story in The Daily Princetonian)
– “Since at least the late 1990s, Republicans have been less likely than Democrats (and independents) to say they trust the media. But starting in 2015, trust among Republicans took a nosedive, falling from 32 percent to 10 percent in 2020.” FiveThirtyEight: Why Being ‘Anti-Media’ Is Now Part Of The GOP Identity
– Journalism watchdogs holding big tech accountable: “Our analysis found that by following TikTok’s suggested follower prompts, users can easily be exposed to and increasingly served far-right extremist accounts and content. This is uniquely harmful because it has the potential to further radicalize people interested in these far-right extremist movements, and it doesn’t even require users to seek them out; TikTok hand-delivers the extremist movements to its users, many of whom are 14 or younger.” (Media Matters)
– April Fools’ Day comes for journalism, live on air, starring Mina Kimes.