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Joe Rogan Goes On Clubhouse
I haven’t written too much about Clubhouse because I don’t find it particularly compelling from either a product standpoint or a community standpoint. I could be wrong (I often am!) but Clubhouse has powerful Google Wave vibes to it and I’m not wholly convinced it is anything beyond a pandemic lockdown time waster. I logged on to the app once and was genuinely insulted at how janky it was.
And I think it’s fascinating that by making it invite-only, the app has convinced people that it’s somehow cool to sit through the worst aspects of a tech conference — men talking — WITHOUT the possibility of an open bar afterwards.
Last week, human Erowid trip report Joe Rogan went on Clubhouse.
His appearance kicked off a round of “what is Clubhouse” Twitter threads and think pieces. More than a few folks pointed out that Rogan’s Clubhouse appearance may technically cause issues for his Spotify contract. That’s extremely doubtful, though. Last May, Rogan signed a licensing deal with the music streaming platform worth over $100 million. Spotify has “exclusive rights” to Rogan’s show The Joe Rogan Experience and all iterative content like his library of YouTube videos.
Nick Quah, the author of the Hot Pod newsletter and pretty much the industry expert on all things podcasting, published a piece in Vulture titled, “Does Clubhouse Mean Bad Things for Podcasting?” It’s worth reading. Quah argues that Clubhouse could be a new layer of media called “live group audio” and that, yes, it could be bad for podcasting because in effect all media competes for attention. At certain scale, I guess that’s true. But that technically means this newsletter competes with Netflix. The idea that the podcast industry, which was valued around $10 billion in 2020, could be upended by an app that simulates an audio-only version of a side-stage conference panel about blockchain just does not feel realistic to me.
It feels like we’re in a really weird moment where everyone is trying to make Clubhouse seem like something innovative because a bunch of tech founders are using it. Important people are on Clubhouse so there must be something important about it. Though, the “important” people on the app aren’t even the ones responsible for anything interesting happening on it. Clubhouse’s core user base of dark enlightenment dorks aren’t the ones doing anything fun with it. Its embrace by Black Twitter is driving most of the really cool stuff happening there.
What’s also even more frustrating is that the entire conversation about Clubhouse is obscuring something really important about the way we consume the internet. Yes, audio is huge right now, but it’s not because crypto dudes have a cool new app for conference calls. Sharing audio is finally becoming as interesting and frictionless as text, photos, and video because:
A huge chunk of the population basically doesn’t go outside now, which means they aren’t commuting, and not working in offices, so they can finally turn the sound up on their phones.
Most people own smartphones now with almost professional-grade condenser mics built into them.
And, most importantly, social media platforms like TikTok are ignoring the incredibly strict copyright restrictions that have completely blackballed the technological evolution of sound on the internet.
I mean, just look at the state of this…
I don’t think it’s an accident that the online audio-based industry that has grown the most over the last decade was podcasting, a format that isn’t dominated by one particular platform or owned by a series of massive corporations. Though they’re trying to buy their way into the world of podcasting. iHeartMedia is investing millions of dollars, trying to play catch up. But right now whole podcasts can’t even be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Earlier this month, Mark Cuban announced he was investing in a Clubhouse-like app which would have better monetization options. That’s fine, but if you ask me, a walled garden like Clubhouse just can’t compete with how decentralized podcasting is now. And, weirdly, I think Rogan’s appearance was actually proof.
Bringing Rogan on to the app wasn’t the tech-media coup that I think people were expecting it to be. Instead of marveling at the incredible conversations or whatever, he spent most of his time during the session dunking on the app. He called it a “cool way to talk to your friends if you’re trapped somewhere” and called it “Zoom without the video” lmao.
Instead, Clubhouse’s legacy is probably one very uncomfortable lesson about the new age of social media that’s dawning right now: achieving Facebook-level scale comes with more headaches than it’s worth and the real value of your app going forward won’t be how many users you have, but instead, how irl wealthy they are.
Megan Fox Gets The #RIPChrisPratt Treatment
Last week, a photoshopped Instagram post purporting to belong to Megan Fox began circulating on Twitter. The Instagram post claimed that Fox didn’t believe in wearing masks to prevent coronavirus. The account that circulated the fake Instagram post was called @PopAlertNews and it has since been suspended. Fox then came out on her real Instagram and denounced the photoshop and denied that she ever said that.
This particular stunt comes only a couple weeks after a bunch of Twitter users photoshopped fake tweets of Chris Pratt saying the n-word. The fake tweets went viral and caused the hashtag #RIPChrisPratt to start trending. Pratt was targeted because he’s in Marvel movies and the largely young and female Marvel fans that hang out on Twitter hate him for being a conservative and rumors he cheated on his ex-wife Anna Faris. I assume Fox was targeted because she’s dating Machine Gun Kelly.
It feels like every 4-5 years or so, stan armies begin to experiment with exactly how much chaos they can create. Back in 2015, we had roving gangs of Lana Del Rey stans doing the same stuff. Though, these photoshopped tweets and Instagram posts are a way more aggressive form of trolling than we’ve seen from these kinds of communities in the past.
Also, these new misinfo projects from stan armies happen much faster and at a much bigger scale than they used to. What’s also interesting is how much the dynamic has shifted in the last decade. Instead of stan armies waging little battles with each other and the media largely ignoring it, we’re now at a moment where a lot more of pop culture is determined by the random whims of trending Twitter content than it used to. Which makes it feel way more like the media are the humans running around on the ground while a Swiftie Godzilla fights a BTS King Kong.
Some Cool Crocheted Dolls For Sale
This was sent to me by a Garbage Day reader named Juan. Thank you! I absolutely hate it.
Here’s What’s Happening With The Taxidermy Rat TikTok Thing
OK, so, there is a Reddit user named u/WorldAroundEwe. He’s a taxidermist from Manchester, England, and he mainly posts in his own subreddit. “I’m going to use this sub because I keep getting banned in most other subs,” the about section reads. “It’d be nice if people created memes from the pictures, I’ll post them to my Facebook and Instagram page.”
WorldAroundEwe’s taxidermies are extremely cursed. For instance, here’s a link to a rabbit he turned into a toaster.
He recently created a TikTok page, as well. Which is actually getting some attention! Here’s a popular video he did recently that is hilarious.
Did This Redditor Eat An Ice Cream Sandwich Off The Ground?
Four days ago, Reddit user u/BeSpooked posted this photo of an ice cream sandwich. The redditor pointed out that it looked a bit like a character from the game Among Us. Here are a few of the top comments:
“And why is it on the ground?”
“Why tf you eating your amogus on the ground”
“wait you got it out of the pack like that it look like its been drop kicked”
u/BeSpooked responded to the questions, writing, “i have grangite tables.”
So what do we think here, folks? Is this is a granite table or is this redditor eating off the ground?
Big Cat Takes Real Man-Sized Shits
Twitter user @sarahellisfox posted an absolutely banger of a tweet last month about her big giant cat.
And lucky for us, she also posted a photo of the big cat!
A Zillow Listing Takes A Turn
This was sent to me by a reader named Erika. On the surface, this looks like a totally normal and fine house. In fact, flipping through the photos, you may wonder what’s so special about this listing at all.
Then you get to the 12th picture and EVERYTHING changes. Click here to experience the whole thing. Go picture by picture. Do not skip ahead. Trust me.
You Can Buy Prints From The Animorphs Cover Artist On Etsy
David Mattingly, the artist behind those incredible Animorph covers, has an Etsy store! The discovery that Mattingly was selling prints went viral on Twitter last week. You can click here to check out his store. They’re really cool. They all go for about $50 a pop and the shrimp ones up in the lefthand corner of the screenshot up there are sick.
Thinking about messaging him and finding out how much it would cost to commission a Garbage Day T-shirt.
Two Suggestions For A New Internet Term
Last week, while I was writing about a small controversy around an actually very helpful clear COVID mask that was being marketed in a really obnoxious way. I wrote that we needed a new term for when you go down a spiral reading about a type of internet drama that you have no real stake in. I got two suggestions:
Garbage Day reader Matt thinks we should call it “hate-spelunking”
And reader Joanna suggested we call it “doom dive”
I think both are pretty good!
One More Cool Tweet About Clubhouse
P.S. here’s a lofi hip hop producer I’m obsessed with right now.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***