One of the greatest things that technology has created is the concept of time-shifting with much of our entertainment and communication.
- Back in the day, you had to tune in at a certain time to hear Paul Harvey. Now you can listen to Mike Rowe’s podcast, but listen whenever it’s best for you.
- Back in the day, you had to have your TV on at 8:00 on Friday to see the latest episode of that show; now it’s just “released” on Friday and you can watch it whenever you want.
Communication works that way too. While we can feel “always on” too often with technology these days, and we need to work to fight against that, most communication is at least a little bit asynchronous. This kind of points back to my theory on the hierarchy of attention: phone calls are asking for your attention right now, but text messages and emails can wait a little while.
This is the problem I have with the hot app Clubhouse, but it’s also what’s helping make it so popular. If you’re not on it right now, you’re going to miss out on what’s happening.
If you’re not familiar with it, Clubhouse is essentially voice-based chat rooms. Some people can talk, and others can choose to listen in. Thinking of it as “live podcasts” isn’t too far off.
Therein lies the problem (and the excitement) — you can’t time-shift it at all. They’re talking live right now, and you can’t catch up later. Sure, some folks record what they’re saying and republish it later, but the vast majority of the conversation is live and fleeting.
Given the pace of the world, I don’t see it sticking around without some changes. The ability to time-shift is amazing, and the lack of it in Clubhouse could pose very challenging as time goes on.