The clubhouse became an unlikely success story during the pandemic with its not-so-unique but well-timed audio chat room feature. And it continues to grow after raising millions of dollars this year to achieve coveted unicorn status. A Bloomberg statement called it the next social media star. VICE, on the other hand, pointed to the uncontrolled spread of conspiracy theories on the platform. TheVerge’s Casey Newton also wrote a fantastic article on how the lack of content moderation could prove Clubhouse’s fate. Angel investor and Twitch manager Shaan Puri went one step further and even predicted how the clubhouse will ultimately fail. Apart from the high flattery and the scathing criticism, the clubhouse continues to grow and generate enthusiasm.
Imitation is flattery. A billion dollar company mimicking a startup is stifling competition.
And right in the middle came the wave of imitators. Or as the civilized people of Silicon Valley would put it: imitation is the best form of flattery. Or as a normal, capitalism-hating person would define it – the reckless trend of a billion dollar company mimicking a much smaller startup and crushing the competition. And just like that The clubhouse also became an unwilling muse for established social media giants. Would you like to guess the names of some of these artists? Facebook? Sure. Twitter? Yes. Even Telegram made it.
Hey Slack, welcome to 3C – the Clubhouse Copycat Club!
Next in line is Slack. Yes, the app that millions of people around the world use to communicate and collaborate with their teammates, sharing horrific jokes and bad attitudes on almost every topic imaginable. But above all for work. Slack already offers voice and video functionality. So why pull out a clubhouse and add an audio chat room feature that people can join and leave at will? Well, because a new feature usually doesn’t harm the users, especially when the service is free. Also because good artists copy, great artists steal. The latter are words of Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield who said he always believed in this philosophy.
Slack CEO announced plans to copy Clubhouse in a clubhouse chat with Clubhouse CEO
During a recent episode of the clubhouse chat called PressClub, hosted by former TechCrunch journalist Josh Constine, Butterfield announced that the company is building a clubhouse in Slack. And the funny thing is, the clubhouse CEO Paul Davison was also part of the meeting. As a speaker. When Butterfield returned to Slack, he didn’t reveal much about how the “synchronous audio” thing is going to be built into the platform, other than we vaguely looking for the clubhouse built into Slack.
“I’ve always believed that ‘good artists copy, great artists steal,’ so we’re basically just building clubhouse into Slack. Like this idea that you can stop by, the conversation takes place, whether you are there or not, you can go in and out when you want, as opposed to a phone call that starts and stops, is an amazing model of that spontaneity and encourage that chance and conversations that only need to be three minutes, but the only way to plan them is 30 minutes. So watch out for the clubhouse built into Slack. “
– Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield
I don’t want audio chat rooms on Slack
So we get synchronous audio chat rooms on Slack. You can join them at your will, leave them if you wish, or even speak a few words of wisdom when your boss thinks you are worth the opportunity. Or if you are the boss hosting that chat session. The idea sounds good on paper. But what is it actually about? Your daily or weekly team meetings take place via Zoom or Google Meet, where all teammates can see each other’s faces, plan a few things, share a few laughs and get back to work. After that, text-based communication takes place in Slack throughout the day. In my case around the clock!
If I don’t work with Dave Chappelle and Kevin Hart, I’m not ready to join a chat room on Slack
Why would I want to jump into an audio chat room with my co-workers that isn’t critical to work? Yes, I would love to defend how Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a cinematic masterpiece. And like a cargo ship that drew a male genital route before it got stuck in the Suez Canal and disrupted 10% of world trade by waterway, is a problem of the modern world that Edison and Tesla could not have imagined. But events like this rarely occur, and as such The need for audio chat rooms to get into a chaotic chat with coworkers with whom you are chatting about work and exchanging memes five days a week makes little sense.
Video calls with Zoom and Meet are enough. Why jump into a Slack Audio chat room?
Our weekly Google Meet video chats got shorter and shorter over time as video conferencing exhaustion is a real thing. And that’s not just me saying. Stanford researchers believe so too, and journalists from renowned media outlets such as TheWashingtonPost have even given valuable advice on how to combat zoom fatigue.
It could be argued that an audio chat room feature could be useful when you actually need it. And I agree, especially if I was a Slack product design manager looking to keep evolving the platform and attracting more users to it. From a normal remote worker’s point of view, however, I would prefer to use services like Telegram, Discord, or Google Meet that we are used to to get on a group call with my teammates. And only if it is really important or interesting. Until then, I’ll just play my favorite Chilled Cow mix and work in peace!
I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years, having worked with names like NDTV and Beebom in the past. Leaving the latest news aside, I’ve checked out my fair share of devices that range from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I’ve also interviewed tech managers and appeared as a presenter on YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets.