In early March, I called it quits with social audio on Clubhouse. I was drawn to the platform out of sheer curiosity. And as you may remember, I had positive results using social audio for promoting my artwork and fiction writing. This happened because of high audience quality and the large number of people I could meet and talk with.
My creative projects received positive feedback from the people I met on Clubhouse. I met the best and the brightest in entertainment, business, and the arts. And because social media audiences kept changing, I pressed pause on some of my creative projects so I could focus on meeting new people.
The time I could spend online promoting my creative projects has been limited. Clubhouse was an amazing workaround. And after many sales of my first novel, I encouraged authors and other creatives to join in and gain a boost from talking to people, exchanging ideas, and building trust. So why would I quit?
Read on as I share my reasons for quitting Clubhouse. After that, I will share some updates on Twitter Spaces, my preferred social audio platform.
Community logistics: My reasons for exiting Clubhouse
Clubhouse was the platform I used to find business leads, learn new ways of thinking (about business), and meet other creatives. I was able to grow my following to 1.8k followers by joining small rooms and talking with people there. I was able to advise listeners and speakers on marketing strategy, business etiquette, and give feedback on their promotional activities. I made connections from communities around the world and I was invited to join an uncountable number of clubs and houses.
In houses and clubs, the individual members don’t always host or speak in rooms when I’m online. You may also remember that I was aware of the drama on there, and was somewhat entertained by a lot of it. I was not bothered by the drama because I met plenty of professional people. It is called “Clubhouse” after all, and I expected to have a range of experiences on the app.
Sadly, the people I was most interested in meeting ghosted Clubhouse after the pandemic work-at-home period ended. They were able to pivot to other promotional venues and expand their businesses offline and did not need to rely on social audio. As a result, many of us visiting Clubhouse were now forced to share stages with an unsettling concentration of celebrity defamers, segregationists, bullies, pseudo-intellectuals, panhandlers, adult content creators, and dodgy sales people.
I started to feel anxious as I joined rooms. People were using “witchcraft” and “aliens” to describe issues already addressed by academic research, or treatable by modern medicine. There was no useful business advice to be heard and I started avoiding the app altogether. Too much cringe. The solution? Log out. Permanently.
Algorithms and reach on Twitter
The social audio feature, Twitter Spaces, was my main reason for opening a new Twitter account in June, 2021. Long story short, Twitter’s algorithm changes now mean that posts from accounts don’t always get sent to the feeds of their followers. And how does this affect Spaces? I will explain.
In early February this year, I noticed a glitch when helping a friend to use a new feature. I couldn’t see his post at the corresponding timestamp in my feed. And there was a 15-minute gap where no posts were served.
Not many people on Twitter have software programming skills. And most people I meet barely know how the platform works. I imagine that if their tweets got low views, as a result of that particular glitch, they would blame their followers for ignoring them.
The people I have met on Twitter Spaces came from every time zone you can think of. But from a programming (i.e. problem-solving) perspective, I know they are not going to join Twitter Spaces when their experience with text posting is less than satisfactory. Smart technology is meant to be predictable and responsive to user input. Social audio, and a finely tuned process for using Twitter, were how I built an audience in under two years. But what grownup has time to scour Platformer articles and Reddit forums for the latest “hack”? I would argue that such activities are wasteful because they take us out of a productive and creative headspace.
Twitter has had plenty of changes since the new owner purchased it. And we know that he first changed the algorithms to mostly amplify his tweets. One Monday in March, there was a sitewide outage caused by a single engineer who literally broke Twitter by making a bad configuration change. Don’t believe me? Read about it here. System-level errors like these were happening too often.
Months ago, I would ask people to join my scheduled spaces via private messages. But nowadays, my audience is spending less time on Twitter because of app fragility and low engagement on their tweets. They can’t rely on their notifications for dopamine hits. And because of that, their priorities have moved offline. Good for them.
More and more people are noticing that their followers cannot see their tweets. Someone recently worked out that if your tweet is not connected to a viral topic, it will get deprioritised in the queue (for all tweets sent out on the platform). This is an unfortunate glitch but I can see that it could be used to build more toxic echo chambers.
Twitter is down bad but lots of amazing creatives are still tweeting. The solution? Encourage more of them to follow me on Instagram. Connect with active accounts through pop-up spaces. Use the time to share stories and give feedback on creative projects.
I still believe in social audio, but quitting Clubhouse was the right decision. I want to spend more time on my creative projects. And of course, I want to connect with people who enjoy my work. For now, I am relying on Instagram and Pinterest to showcase my artwork. On all platforms, I will be deepening my connections with creators I meet. That means reverting to images, video, and text. That’s the best I can do for now.
3 replies on “Social audio update: Why I quit Clubhouse”
Been a while, but – great article, great info. Don’t let the infidels get the upper hand. Keep on doing what you do, since you do it so well. V
Thank you for the support ❤️
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