Could Clubhouse Mitigate Cancel Culture?
All it takes is one screenshot of a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram post–from 10 years ago or just a few hours–to get a person cancelled from society.
Some of these posts are egregious, racist or otherwise, but many are just opinions deemed “unseemly” by the masses. I’m willing to bet that we all have a cringe post deep in the archives of our social media accounts making it easy for most of us to get cancelled.
Adding to this problem, we live in a time where there is no room for reflection or redemption. Once the mob has succeeded in digging up an “inappropriate” post, social media becomes the judge, jury, and executioner.
But there’s a new platform that could mitigate the negative consequences of this social phenomenon.
Clubhouse is quickly becoming a popular social media network with over 10 million active weekly users. To put this exponential growth into perspective, in December of 2020, this number stood at only 600,000.
Unlike most platforms, which have depersonalized social interactions by keeping communications digital, written, and distant, Clubhouse isn’t a “posting” platform.
Instead, it’s audio-focused, allowing users to create rooms and host discussions, speaking to each other, rather than typing back and forth. But, there’s no video.
In many ways, this platform seems like a regression from the progression of social technology, akin to abandoning text messaging and going back to the telephone or switching from email back to written correspondence. But this method is quite genius, especially when we look at its potential impact on the cancel culture phenomenon.
For starters, in the absence of typed-out, emotionally-fueled, reactionary posts, that live in the depths of the internet forever, there is nothing to screenshot. Also, Clubhouse has no recording feature, so once the discussions are over, they disappear.
Make no mistake, this missing feature does not stop a person from using another device to record a discussion. And this is already happening. But this extra step serves as a hurdle for someone who is looking for someone to cancel. Not to mention how difficult it is to anticipate that something potentially controversial is going to be said during a spontaneous discussion.
This is also not to say that eventually third party platforms won’t invent an app that allows recording. But for now, the app is relatively safe from documentation and thus, provides a potential remedy for the epidemic of cancel culture.
Without the safety of a keyboard to hide behind, people also tend to be more civil to each other, as they have to verbally stand by their statements. But as always, there are exceptions to every rule.
Just weeks ago, Intellectual Dark Web Founding Father and evolutionary biologist, Bret Weinstein, hosted a discussion which was invaded by woke activists disrupting the dialogue by screaming profanities.
Weinstein rose to prominence after questioning the cult of “woke-ism” and racist equity policies put in place at Evergreen College where he taught. As a result, he was met with harassment and threats of violence, forcing him to resign and sue the school. He has since become an outspoken voice for free speech and the return of civil discourse.
The original moderator, a black man named George, had been doing a superb job at steering the conversation about woke-ism on Clubhouse in a respectful manner. But as soon as he left the room, and due to Clubhouse rules, an opponent of Weinstein named “Brooklyn” hijacked the conversation, making herself moderator and kicking out independent journalist Michael Tracey, the original organizer of the discussion.
From there, the situation went from bad to worse. Brooklyn shouted over Weinstein, calling him a racist, refusing to let him speak and demanding he pay reparations. Weinstein was eventually forced to leave his own discussion. However, much to Brooklyn’s detriment, this stunt has done more to prove Weinstein’s point than it did to ruin his reputation.
The platform is clearly not immune to trolling and the ability to hijack a conversation is a kink that needs to be fixed. Faults aside, while the platform was originally intended to bring Silicon Valley influencers together in one place, Clubhouse now serves as a sanctuary for those with varying opinions.
David Fuller writes, “Far from being a platform dominated by wokeness, Clubhouse is actually a place where those who have been deemed, ‘beyond the pale’ or ‘problematic’ by legacy media have been able to build up traction and influence.” Murphy explains how he was able to witness a live interaction in real time where a gun rights activist, Kyle Kashuv, was confronted with racist messages he’d sent as a teenager.
They talked it out, maturely on both sides. Kyle clarified his apologetic view of his past behavior, and a productive discussion was had about youth in the digital epoch. Kyle’s past use of racist language was never excused, but neither was it obsessed over with hours of collective self-flagellating virtue display. It was basically ideal reasonable human discourse, from a diverse cast of interesting personalities. Compared to what you’ll find in virtually any other public or semi-public sphere available today… I almost had to pinch myself.
This type of dialogue is missing from almost every aspect of mainstream social media. Yet, in this era of perpetual social witch hunts, Clubhouse has managed to create an oasis where people with opposing views can talk through their ideas without the fear of a screenshot ruining their lives.
Does this mean all opinions expressed on Clubhouse are moral and pure? Of course not. But all sides deserve to be heard, considered, questioned, and then accepted or rejected.
Clubhouse is allowing the free exchange of ideas to occur by serving as a modern-day, virtual salon, where views are debated thoughtfully and respectively.
What is to come is only speculation at this point in time, but for now, Clubhouse seems to be onto something that our society has been sorely missing.