Clubhouse is not for Lawyers – 12 Reasons

Clubhouse is not for Lawyers

I am not on Clubhouse. I can’t readily access it (see reason 1 below). However, even if I could, I don’t particularly want to be on it (see reasons 2 to 12 below). This blog post gives the reasons why I think Clubhouse is not for Lawyers or indeed not for anyone connected with the legal world. Many of those I quote in this blog post are not necessarily practising lawyers but do work in jobs connected with the law. A lot, if not all, of the reasons given would also apply to many outside the world of law too.

Nicole Black is of the view that I’m not qualified to give an opinion on Clubhouse without at least trying it out. She tweeted:-

I’m not sure how you can make an educated decision or comment unless you try it so I doubt I’ll read the post.

I replied:-

I could write about why I wouldn’t stick forks in my eyes without actually doing it. However, if you don’t want to read a fully detailed and researched piece from someone prevented from accessing it and is in any event very concerned about their T&C that is of course your choice.

So, if you are like Nicole Black and think my lack of participation disqualifies me from commenting then stop reading now and go quickly instead to a room on Clubhouse about the joys of lawyers being there. Like going to a Trump rally you are unlikely to find any opposing views when you get there.

Nicole Black has already given her view: The Next Social Media Frontier for Lawyers: Clubhouse. I read it. It only contains pros and no cons. That is why blog posts like my one are required for balance. You can then take an educated decision before you jump into Clubhouse. All is good and well, having done so, if you jump with Nicole rather than sit still with me.

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is an invitation-only audio-chat social networking app launched in April 2020 by software developers Alpha Exploration Co. As of December 2020, it was valued at nearly $100 million. On 21 January 2021, the valuation hit one billion US Dollars.

Back in May 2020 it was described by The New York Times like this:-

Clubhouse is a social media app where venture capitalists have gathered to mingle with one another while they are quarantined in their homes. The app is, for now, invite-only, and buzzy: Seemingly everyone who has been allowed to join the early test version, from celebrities like MC Hammer to activists like DeRay Mckesson, has tweeted about it. And it has recently been one of the hottest deals on Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley’s venture capital nexus.

This week Elon Musk grilled trading app Robinhood’s co-founder, Vladimir Tenev, over the GameStop row on Clubhouse. The Clubhouse rooms were filled to capacity and it gave Clubhouse a lot of publicity. It also resulted in shares in another company called Clubhouse soaring!

In recent months, as Clubhouse scales in size, mere mortals have been let in.

Do Lawyers want into Clubhouse?

Lawyers (or maybe more accurately, on the whole, legal marketers and legal technologists) appear to have only got excited about Clubhouse this past month. This may be linked to the general marketing buzz surrounding a new $1 billion social media platform that until now the legal, and many other parts of the world, appeared oblivious to.

There has been, over the past couple of weeks, an ever increasing number of posts on LinkedIn and Twitter (and no doubt also on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok – but I don’t go there) about how great Clubhouse is. Apparently, lawyers must join immediately or miss out on the opportunity of their lifetime.

There has also, so far, been a very small number of lawyers (predominantly on Continental Europe) questioning this. They appear to be the ones that have actually read the Terms & Conditions of use before blindly jumping in.

Invites to join Clubhouse are being sought in lawlaw land like they were the Golden tickets in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Rumour has it that you can also buy these rare ‘invites’ at auction on ebay.

I’ve pondered it, done some research and come up with a dozen reasons for why Clubhouse is not for lawyers:-

1. You can’t get into Clubhouse unless you have an iPhone or an iPad

I have neither an iPhone nor an iPad. I have an Android phone and a Surface. So I am immediately excluded from Clubhouse as will be many lawyers who are non-Apple lawyers.

I actually saw someone tweeting (don’t think they were a lawyer though) that they had acquired an iPhone as a second phone just to access Clubhouse. Please don’t be that desperate. Read reasons 2 to 12 below first before you visit the Apple Store.

And don’t necessarily expect it on Android anytime soon. Clubhouse are currently advertising for an Android Engineer.

2. Violation of Privacy should mean Clubhouse is not for Lawyers

This is the big one that many lawyers (you might think surprisingly) appear to have ignored completely. Whilst grabbing as quickly as they can their golden invite and jumping feet first into Clubhouse these lawyers have possibly not had time to read the Clubhouse Privacy Policy or the Clubhouse Terms of Service.

As @nazakmandor tweeted:-

Click remove, I briefly read through the privacy policy and that is some f*cked up shit!

Bart De Witte said on LinkedIn:-

Clubhouse is THE new thing and it massively violates privacy. Yes, I’m guilty, I downloaded it… tried it out, and loved the experience. But as time is the most valuable asset you won’t find me often there, besides of course of not supporting their standards.

Clubhouse users share their whole contact list which create shadow-profiles of those who are not registered and can not register as they are Android users.

Espen Antonsen (@Espen_Antonsen) tweeted:-

Woah. Want to invite someone to @joinClubhouse? Their app will take your entire contact list and upload it to their servers. Clearly against GDPR.

Espen included a screenshot from his phone:-

Clubhouse invite suggestions

In a more detailed analysis on Clubhouse privacy conundrums – violators and accomplices, Dorothea Baur asks:-

How is it possible that an app that simultaneously breaches privacy principles and that, for the time being, undermines ideals of inclusiveness, is so successful? And why do even people who are usually strong advocates of the very values Clubhouse violates, hop on this latest trend?

Dorothea Baur goes on to share some ethical considerations:-

According to my knowledge: you can give Clubhouse access to all of your contacts. When doing so, you get a certain number of invites which you can send to your contacts. But you can also opt out from giving Clubhouse access to all of your contacts. If you do that, you at first only get two invites.

The ethically most challenging behavior stems from people who opt in to give Clubhouse access to all of their contacts. These people are intruding on the privacy of others without their agreement. If I was in your address book, I would not have agreed to you sharing my phone number with an app that uses it for whatever purpose.

Dorothea considers that those that give away all of their contacts to Clubhouse are ‘violators’ whilst those that don’t are ‘accomplices’ as they are likely to gain from the privacy violations of others. So if you are on Clubhouse already you are either a violator or an accomplice. If you have not already joined Clubhouse you just might not want those labels attached to you in relation to potential privacy law breaches.

According to an article at zerforschung.org, entitled Clubhouse really likes your phone book:-

The upload happens not only the first time the invite tab is accessed, but is repeated every time you open the tab. This means that clubhouse could create a complete history of your contacts from the time you registered with the app and theoretically also knows which people you probably met only recently.

So your acts of violation may be regularly repeated.

David Gilroy points out in his post How can UK law firms use Clubhouse? that:-

It looks like the more you ‘do’ on Clubhouse in terms of moderating rooms and speaking, the more invitations you get. Either that or each user gets a certain number of invitations each week. I have not unequivocally worked out which it is yet.

So the more active you become on the platform the more you are ‘rewarded’ with invites to hand out. Potentially to increase the chances of making you unwittingly an accomplice to a violator.

Dorothy Baur leaves us with one final point:-

When countries all over the world launched coronavirus tracing apps last year, a lot of jokes were made about people publicly ranting about alleged privacy threats of these apps on Facebook. Until today, tracing apps whose purpose is to mitigate a public health crisis, and which include strong privacy protection mechanisms, struggle to get the uptake needed in order to be effective. At the same time, a new social media app, breaching all kinds of privacy principles, gets launched, and one of the purported reasons for restricting access is to protect its technical infrastructure from overload…What can I say? I’m confused; and I hope I am not the only one.

As part of the invite process I have seen legal eagles offering out Clubhouse invites on Twitter and then asking for the prospective recipient’s mobile phone number to effect the transfer!

Clubhouse also records your conversations but apparently then deletes them if there are no reported incidents in the room that require investigation.

Alex G Smith ponders on Twitter:-

Is there a Privacy Lawyers clubhouse group? The T&Cs are a shitshow. We respect your privacy but all our future revenue comes from what we do with our profiling of you.

It’s the same old story.

So clearly when it comes to its privacy policies Clubhouse is not for lawyers.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, thinks that technology does not have to undermine privacy. In a recent speech at Brussels’ International Data Privacy Day, he said:-

Technology does not need vast troves of personal data stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it, and we’re here today because the path of least resistance is rarely the path of wisdom.

If a business is built on misleading users on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all, then it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.

Maybe, therefore, Tim Cook should consider removing from the Apple App Store the apps, like Clubhouse, that clearly violate privacy?

Espen Antonsen pointed out that what Clubhouse does in taking your entire contact list and uploading it to their servers is apparently against Apple’s iOS review guidelines. So Clubhouse should really, in any event, be taken down by Apple for that reason alone.

I was on a recent Zoom call when Clubhouse was discussed. Someone on that call raised concerns about the Clubhouse Indemnity and Release clause. It reads:-

You agree to release, indemnify and hold Alpha Exploration Co. and its affiliates and their officers, employees, directors and agents (collectively, “Indemnitees”) harmless from any from any [sic] and all losses, damages, expenses, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, rights, claims, actions of any kind and injury (including death) arising out of or relating to your use of the Service, any User Content, your connection to the Service, your violation of these Terms of Service or your violation of any rights of another. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you will have no obligation to indemnify or hold harmless any Indemnitee from or against any liability, losses, damages or expenses incurred as a result of any action or inaction of such Indemnitee. If you are a California resident, you waive California Civil Code Section 1542, which says: “A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him must have materially affected his settlement with the debtor.” If you are a resident of another jurisdiction, you waive any comparable statute or doctrine.

So if, for example, you violated someone’s privacy rights by allowing Clubhouse to create a shadow profile of them as part of joining the club that is your fault and not Clubhouse’s fault?!

Lawyers will no doubt be able to come up with many other problems for a Clubhouse member from this particular provision of the Terms of Service. I haven’t even begun to look at the other clauses.

Lawyers in Germany are already getting ready to see Clubhouse in the Courthouse. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzbv) has called on Clubhouse operator Alpha Exploration Co. to cease and desist from illegal business practices and data protection violations.

An article at JDSupra states:-

If the company [Clubhouse] does not undertake to cease and desist from the business practices complained of and, in particular, does not issue a cease-and-desist declaration with a penalty clause, the vzbv will take legal action against it. In addition, the severe data protection violations mean that the company not only risks lawsuits from consumer protection groups, but also sanctions from data protection authorities under the GDPR.

Robert Ressman was worried on LinkedIn that once in Clubhouse you can’t get out:-

everybody is asking for a #clubhouseinvite but what if you want to make an #exit after  the #invite? how do i delete my #clubhouseaccount and will all my private data be deleted as well as the addressbook contacts, socialaccounts, geolocations, connection data, audio files, mobileIDs, technical data, app installs, usage data, etc… ???
where is the leave / mute button for a #clubhouse #exitstrategy?
or did i miss something out…

Does anybody know?

3. The name Clubhouse is not a good look for Lawyers

Rupert Collins-White (@RupertWhite) tweeted:-

I can’t imagine a more ‘bro’ named app/service, honestly. Sounds like a brothel or a strip club. So not a good look.

I suggested:-

The golf connotation makes me expect to see Trump in there.

Donald Trump and Clubhouse

How long might it be before we see Trump on a stage in a room on Clubhouse? (see Reason 12 below)

4. Lawyers have enough Social Media Platforms to keep them more than socially occupied

I’ve always been a very strong advocate of lawyers using social media. My law firm, Inksters, was the first law firm to Tweet in Scotland, the first UK law firm to pin on Pinterest and the first law firm in Scotland with a YouTube Channel.

I have written and spoken extensively over the years on use of social media by lawyers. The first post on this blog on lawyers and social media being Law Firm Twitteratigate – The Whole Story and the most recent, before this one, being Lawyers and Twitter – 11 years later.

I am therefore not against social media in any shape, form or fashion. There are great advantages in lawyers using it.

I do not, however, believe that lawyers need to be on every platform that may come along just for the sake of it or because it is the latest shiny new toy to play with. Remember Google Glass for Lawyers anyone?

I have chosen not to be on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp. Notice a theme there? 😀 (See reason 2 above)

Nor am I on TikTok (also see reason 2 above).

I know that other lawyers inhabit these dark places. Some do well on them despite my own personal reservations.

Many lawyers inhabit no social media platforms at all and have successful and fulfilling careers. Probably much more so than lawyers currently lurking in the corridors of Clubhouse hoping they will find Shangri-La in one of the many rooms on offer.

I have more than enough on my plate managing a presence on Twitter and LinkedIn.

I don’t think I’ll be rushing to join Bebo when it relaunches this month even if it plans to focus on profiles and “real-time” interactions between friends rather than the news feeds at the core of Twitter and Facebook..

I have no desire to add another social media platform to that mix whatever it might be.

Theo Priestly (@tprstly) concurs when he tweeted:-

I get people love Clubhouse but frankly I just can’t be arsed with yet another social network.

As my dear late mother used to tell me “what you’ve never had you never miss”.

Gavin Bell (an Ad Agency owner) said on LinkedIn:-

I hardly posted on Instagram in January. I’ve also not been on Clubhouse.

My business hasn’t died.

You don’t have to be on every platform.

Ruth Dawson-Jones commented:-

Agreed. I’d rather do one thing well than several things poorly. If you try and do everything, you won’t have any time left to actually do any client work!

Mitch Jackson and Nicole Black think it’s okay to be on Clubhouse and at the very same time participate on other social media platforms. They call it multitasking. Now in my book that’s just daft.

Nicole Black tweeted:-

#legaltech Twitterverse: who else should be on this Twitter list “Legaltech Clubhouse”?

That there is now a list of lawyers on Twitter who are on Clubhouse is not lost on me!

Similarly Mitch Jackson has set up a ‘NEW Facebook Group for Lawyers on Clubhouse!’

So apparently you need to be on Twitter or Facebook to know what lawyers are on Clubhouse?!

Anyway, I digress, Mitch responded to Nicole with:-

So many amazing lawyers on the #clubhouse platform. Funny, but I’m in a room right now while scrolling through my Twitter feed and reading this. I can’t wait to suggest a few more lawyers later this evening. Thanks for putting this list together.

I chimed in:-

That Clubhouse room must have been very boring to drive you back to Twitter whilst still in it 😉

Mitch explained:-

It’s called multitasking. Martinis is sharing his story, his book, and answering questions for lawyers and a room full of law school students. Wonderful conversation.

This Clubhouse room Mitch was moderating at the time was Justice My Way: Memoirs of a Black Prosecutor with Martinis Jackson. They were discussing Martinis’ book which chronicles his life-changing experiences serving as a black prosecutor in Washington, D.C.

If I was moderating a talk by anyone I wouldn’t simultaneously be tweeting about other things. It’s not multitasking. It’s just rude.

However, Nicole Black backed Mitch up:-

Agree. That’s the beauty of Clubhouse. You can interact or just listen while doing other things.

I responded to Nicole:-

But are you then really listening?

She was listening to me and came back with:-

It’s not a graded class and there’s no test. It’s for enjoyment. So yeah I’m listening enough and when I want to.

To which I gave my view:-

I’d not be able to properly participate doing that. If socially out with friends (ok not done that for some time of course) then I would engage fully with them verbally and not scroll on Twitter at the same time.

Jacob Sapochnick (@visalawyerblog) is another Clubhouse multitasker. He says:-

As a busy entrepreneur, I’ve found that hosting my own room can be exhausting as it requires me to be 100% “on” the whole time.

Instead, I like to hang out in rooms created by others who are addressing topics related to my expertise. I do this when I’m busy doing other work, almost like I’m listening to the radio or a podcast. When I hear a topic come up that falls in my “genius zone”… I pipe in to share my value. I get to speak to an engaged audience who’s interested in my work.

Personally, I couldn’t listen to the radio or a podcast and do legal work at the same time! However, I could listen to the radio or a podcast at the same time as washing the dishes or driving a car.

At conferences people often look at their phones whilst talks are taking place – maybe checking their e-mails and doing some work rather than paying attention to the speaker. That’s not good form though. If, like me, they are live tweeting it is because they are in effect taking notes contemporaneously that can be shared with others and referred back to later (see reason 5 below). That’s okay multitasking in my book as it is all in effect linked to the same task at hand. Doing anything else is showing disrespect for the speaker(s), whether that be live or in a Clubhouse room.

In any event science shows that multitasking doesn’t work:-

One of the main reasons why multitasking does not work is because it impairs your best thinking. Trying to do more than one thing at once stops you from being able to complete tasks effectively. After all, if your brain is trying to comprehend different things at once, you’re not going to be able to really give your best effort.

Multitasking divides your attention, and this can have a number of negative knock-on effects. The first negative knock-on effect it can have is in regard to your attentiveness. There have been a number of studies that have shown that people who are heavy media multitaskers are ineffective at filtering out information that is irrelevant when working on tasks. Divided attention also means that you won’t process information as effectively and, therefore, it can prohibit your learning progress.

I think this half hearted approach by Mitch, Nicole and Jacob to Clubhouse is a symptom of the hype surrounding it and the FOMO (fear of missing out) associated with it. Rather than concentrating their attention fully and properly on one or two social media platforms they feel a need to be everywhere at the same time. That doesn’t work. They may think it does. I’ll beg to differ.

Clubhouse is currently Mitch Jackson’s favourite platform. He tweeted:-

There’s a reason why it’s my favorite platform right now. It may not be in 6 months or a year, but right now, it’s got my attention.

He continued:-

The fact is, Clubhouse is allowing me to connect with new people and industry leaders unlike any other social platform I’ve ever used. Others have told me they feel the same thing.

I asked:-

And Twitter didn’t do that for you?

Mitch replied:-

Not even close. Again, it’s a deeper, more personal interaction. Last night I had a wonderful conversation with @ConstantContact co-founder @AlecStern and room host, Ajay Gupta. Last week with @TheSharkDaymond and @RealJayAbraham. For me it offers next level value.

I found this surprising as Twitter has always been referred to as “networking on speed” compared with using alternatives. It’s going to be much harder I would have thought to get the same speed in audio rooms awaiting to be invited on stage to chat. I suggested:-

Initial engagement is more likely to be on Twitter which can then lead to audio via in person (obviously not just now), telephone or Zoom (or the like) or Clubhouse. For that reason Twitter is a better first connector than Clubhouse.

Mitch said:-

Not for me Brian.

I remain confused by this. Mitch did offer to do a Clubhouse room together with me on this topic. He thinks it would be fun.

We will maybe need to organise it on Zoom or similar given that, as you will have gathered from this post, I am not about to join Clubhouse anytime soon. Maybe a LegalTech journalist, podcaster or conference organiser could step in and sort it out for us and act as moderator? I await the call.

Simon Marshall on LinkedIn said:-

If you wait until [Clubhouse is] safe, then someone else will have beaten you to it and you’re going to find it hard to establish yourself as the ‘go-to’ person for your area against others who have 10,000+ followers.

It will take some considerable time as a lawyer to get 10,000+ followers on any social media platform let alone on Clubhouse. If you happen to be David Attenborough then it may be a different story!

I’ve been on Twitter for 12 years and in that time managed to amass 9,250 followers. But, in any event, I’ll be lucky if I interact regularly on Twitter with anywhere near the Dunbar number of 150 people that we can actively maintain social relations with at any one time. It’s not about follower numbers.

Simon has, since that LinkedIn post, written a fuller article: Clubhouse – the new social media destination for lawyers?

Anyway, on Simon’s point about if you wait to join Clubhouse you’ll be left behind I replied:-

I remember the same thing being said of Periscope 😉

Simon responded:-

But Periscope was one directional.

To which I retorted:-

Very like an expert in a room telling everyone else what’s what is.

Which brings us to:-

5. Lawyers should use asynchronous rather than synchronous social media platforms

Periscope didn’t work for lawyers (and no doubt other users – lawyers aren’t special) because it was synchronous and not asynchronous. Turning up for a particular predefined live moment isn’t easy (especially during a normal 9 to 5 business day) for busy professionals (see Reason 8 below).

If it is of the moment it is lost following that moment. Lost if it is not recorded, live tweeted, blogged about or preserved in any other fashion that can be accessed anytime, anyplace and anywhere in the future.

For marketing purposes asynchronous has many advantages over synchronous.

Of course you could do something synchronous and still preserve it for future asynchronous use. I’ve spoken at conferences and my talks have been filmed and made available online after the event. Talks I’ve done at other conferences have been reproduced in written form for consumption by delegates and others after the event.

On Clubhouse you cannot record any portion of a conversation without the express written consent of all of the speakers involved. Are you likely to do that on an of the moment Social Media platform? You can but I reckon it happening is far less likely than it would be at a conference.

If you tweet or post on LinkedIn that tweet or post is preserved and can be referenced elsewhere anytime in the future. If you talk on Clubhouse no one will hear you again. You have only been heard by those in the room at the time you spoke – assuming that they were actually listening and not multitasking.

Also when doing synchronous there are time zone considerations if you want a global audience. Not the case with asynchronous.

Lawyers need to maximise their marketing opportunities. Clubhouse is not necessarily a good way to do that.

Which leads me to:-

6. Lawyers are already using alternative (better than?) Clubhouse options anyway

When the first Covid-19 Lockdown hit at the end of March 2020 lawyers quickly adapted to using Zoom and/or Microsoft Teams. Some had even used Skype long before that.

There are more lawyers currently using Zoom/Teams than will ever use Clubhouse.

Zoom gives you video as well as audio so if you are ever on a call with them you will be able to see Mitch Jackson or Nicole Black multitasking on Twitter at the same time. They might just switch their cameras off at that point 😉

I’ve seen law land peeps on Twitter set up Zoom meetings to discuss matters of particular interest to their Tribe in the same way that they are suddenly now doing it on Clubhouse. But whilst they do it on Clubhouse, many of those that would like to join in either can’t because they (a) don’t have an iPhone; (b) don’t have an elusive golden ticket invite; or (c) don’t want to join Clubhouse because they have already read the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Why make it exclusive rather than inclusive? A simple Zoom invite would do the latter.

But Zoom is old hat now, right? Audio is the new thing! I did suggest during the early stages of lockdown that we didn’t really need to abandon the phone for Zoom. Now it seems the phone is back in vogue. What next, text?

As pointed out by Jash Sayani (@JashSayani) you will find millennials on Clubhouse learning to speak through their phones for the first time:-

Clubhouse is an app to talk for millennials who have never talked on the phone (texting generation).

As a lawyer you will be familiar with old fashioned telephone conference calls so could always set up one of those rather than do it on Clubhouse. Is that (or Citizens band radio) not all that Clubhouse really is in any event? #bringbackboring

Clubhouse is just Citizens Band Radio
@LegalTEcho calling @SussBotS. Do you copy?”

Richard W Smith (@RWS_01) tweeted:-

I heard #clubhouse referred to as the phone chat rooms of the 80s (not always family friendly) and it made me laugh.

This reference is credited to Tom Mighell (@TomMighell) on a podcast with Dennis Kennedy (@denniskennedy) about Niche Social Media Platforms – Trend of the Future?

Alex G Smith (@alexgsmith) replied:-

You have just summed up Clubhouse perfectly.

Alex linked to a video as a reminder of those phone chat rooms:-

Doing your own webinar or podcast (or listening to them) or blogging or reading might be more effective (see 5 above) than spending time in a Clubhouse room.

Ben White (@BenWhiteCC) asked:-

Personally struggling it – aren’t podcasts better edited?

There is also an alternative but similar app called Stereo. Not sure why no one seems to be talking about it as it has some better looking functionality than Clubhouse? But then you don’t need a Golden Ticket to join Stereo.

7. Twitter Spaces will replicate and improve on Clubhouse

Twitter has a Clubhouse replicant in Beta testing. It’s called Twitter Spaces. Hat tip to Alexander Low for pointing this out as it had been under my radar.

There is already a dedicated Twitter account for information on it: @TwitterSpaces.

If Twitter Spaces is on the way might you not be better waiting for it to appear on your Twitter App? That will immediately enable you to create audio spaces with all your existing contacts rather than having to recreate those contacts (with all the privacy issues that entails) elsewhere.

Also you will be able to tweet (text) into the audio Space for that tweet to then be discussed in audio. Functionality that Kristin Hodgins (@kristinhodgins) is after in Clubhouse when she tweeted:-

I would love to see Twitter buy [Clubhouse] and be able to ping people into a room while also having a text convo. I like it, but I also know that different people like to interact in different ways, and I think having a text chat function, at the very least, would be more inclusive.

Unlike on Clubhouse (see reason 5 above) your audio can also be transcribed on Twitter Spaces for use elsewhere later.

Twitter Spaces, when it arrives out of Beta, might just kill off Clubhouse.

8. Lawyers have better things to do with their time than lounge in a Clubhouse

Bastian Schäfer said about Clubhouse on LinkedIn:-

There are 1000 ways to spend my time better

Lawyers are busy people. They have a day job to do and in some law firms more chargeable hours to bill as there appears to be almost hours in a day.

Social media is part of their social life over and beyond that day job. They have to choose what to do in those social hours. Adding Clubhouse to it might just be a step too far.

Steve Glista @steveglista asked:-

Why do you want to listen to people talking, for free, when you could be doing literally anything else?

Jack Shepherd (@jackwshepherd) tweeted:-

I haven’t really tried [Clubhouse] yet. The thing I like about twitter is that it can occupy 5 mins of dead time . Whereas clubhouse requires undivided attention for longer amounts of time. I’d rather spend my non-dead time chilling with my other half and my cats during lockdown

Helen Burness (@HBurness) agreed:-

Yes this is my thing. I love dipping in and out of conversations on Twitter / LinkedIn. ClubHouse feels like you have to commit, even though you do have the option to “leave quietly” if it a small room that feels rude. Maybe I am too British about that.

Alix (@lexiecarpenter) was on board:-

Yes – regardless of privacy concerns etc, the thing I like about social is that I can drop in and drop out on my terms, easily catch up on things. I find it hard to see how to fit clubhouse into my life – particularly right now!

Jack Shepherd also concurred with Ansel Halliburton’s (@anseljh) tweet about Clubhouse:-

Do I have it right that, after work, people are logging on to have more meetings? Because I love y’all but I’m not going to do that.

Ansel elaborated:-

One reason I’m not going to do that is that I have kids. I’m not going to give hours of attention to a party call full of lawyers when I could be playing with my kids.

If I had to guess, I’d venture that this format isn’t too appealing to other parents, either, so you’re going to miss a lot of voices. #OldMan

And Mike Whelan (@mikewhelanjnr) warns against the rabbit holes you might be taken down and having to listen to others opine rather than publish:-

Clubhouse’s awful curation features make me appreciate Twitter and Facebook’s algorithms (which I never thought I’d say). The whole thing is built on serendipity. Which is great if you have the time, but otherwise it’s an endless rabbit hole.

In terms of content, I have hopes that it’ll get better. Right now it’s like a writing group: everybody sits around and opines as if everyone’s opinion is valid and yet no one publishes anything. It risks crippling people while trying to validate them. But I think that’ll improve.

Personally, if I’m on a walk and need some audio distraction, I prefer podcasts. They’re more structured and searchable. Speakers are highly qualified. There’s a casual feeling without it being clumsy. I suspect Clubhouse users will experiment with new formats that’ll improve those issues.

But Greg Lambert (@glambert) was more forgiving of Clubhouse:-

I’m not quite as negative on it as my esteemed colleague @mikewhelanjr is. I view the content as a breakout session at a conference. You have a topic and a moderator. You get around a virtual table and talk on that topic.

If the moderator does a good job, and the participants are knowledgeable, it leads to a good discussion. This is better than what you get from a podcast because it isn’t just a couple people going back and forth. It allows for some serendipity and diversity of experience.

I do agree with my knowledgeable friend, @mikewhelanjr that the structure of finding those conversations is terrible. There will be some growing pains as they try to improve the platform. It will probably get worse before it gets better. 😄

This structural problem may be why @Palestalemale1 has been struggling with Clubhouse:-

Can’t work it out. Struggle with how it works and the only room I’ve joined was like listening to a pub bore. I can see potential in it but…. at the moment I haven’t clicked in for a week?

But is there good content to be found in Clubhouse even with better structure to find it? Tom Godwin thinks not:-

Clubhouse is a good demonstration of tech folks’ limitations. It’s a wonderful product, it’s got a sensible monetization plan, a good marketing plan but the most dreadful content around.

It’s essentially the worlds most boring conference, because tech folk have no idea of what they don’t know what do.

Needs rapid curation of quality content before it dies.

Maybe that is why people are falling asleep in Clubhouse. As The Shipping Lawyer (@lawyer_shipping) tweeted:-

Why am I in a clubhouse room giggling because someone fell asleep and is snoring? 😂

But to be fair, I’ve been at a LegalTech conference and seen someone doing that during the keynote.

You also need to be careful of who you might bump into on Clubhouse. They might not be who you would like to spend time with down the pub (if you could do that instead).

Bryce Roberts (@bryce) tweeted:-

Not until Clubhouse did I realize the sheer volume of hucksters, fraudsters and charlatans preying on aspiring founders.

I’m sure it happens on all social networks, but their UX allows for random walks down the dim lit alleys of entrepreneurship in an entirely new way.

Kevin Casini (@KCEsq) pointed out that:-

@DrewsThatDude called it: lotta part timers talking full time shit

And @DrewThat Dude then added:-

I don’t even know why someone would want to be on there all day even if the business was automated! Big scammer energy

In a podcast on Are you Tempted by Clubhouse and other Bright, Shiny Social Media?, Nancy Myrland thinks you need a strategy when using social media. What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish? She says:-

When you jump around from platform to platform just know that you could be splintering yourself so much and confusing people because something has to give.

If you are going to spend three hours on Clubhouse because the conversations are fascinating, then I’d say make sure that spending that much time in a learning process or in hoping that at some point you can raise your hand and be called up to speak in that Clubhouse room, that that’s going to be a choice and a chance that is fruitful for you. Just make sure that these things make sense.

Nancy wants you to be efficient and targeted with your time because so many people aren’t.

Think about that next time you spend many hours on Clubhouse. Has it been efficient and targeted? Has it helped you accomplish your goals? Could you have done something else that was more efficient and targeted towards accomplishing your goals?

And if your goals as a lawyer are financial ones, should you be charging whilst in a room? Clemens K. asked on LinkedIn:-

Given there are a number of lawyers talking on ClubHouse, I really wonder if at some point they will rise up and charge ClubHouse EUR 500/h for “sharing their knowledge”

Although, I think this was perhaps tongue in cheek.

In any event the Clubhouse Terms of Service prevents commercial use:-

Unless otherwise expressly authorized herein or in the Service, you agree not to display, distribute, license, perform, publish, reproduce, duplicate, copy, create derivative works from, modify, sell, resell, exploit, transfer or upload for any commercial purposes, any portion of the Service, use of the Service, or access to the Service. The Service is for your personal use.

But yet lawyers are already making money from Clubhouse. As Carolyn Elefant tells us in her blog post, Clubhouse for Lawyers: Something to Talk About:-

And yes, lawyers are also finding business and making money from Clubhouse too – in a couple of woman owned lawyer groups that I’m in, at least three attorneys have reported signing up clients (one found a whopping 15 in a span of two weeks) after hosting Q&As on topics like business law, branding and trademarks. No doubt, business development matters — but if that’s your only goal on Clubhouse, you’d be missing out.

And Jacob Sapochnick (@visalawyerblog) picked up 10 new clients in two weeks on Clubhouse.

Is that a breach of the Terms of Service? However, like any kind of social networking if you get business as a result that’s a bonus and not the main purpose, right?

Although the Terms of Service may be changing. Clubhouse have recently announced that:-

Over the next few months, we plan to launch our first tests to allow creators to get paid directly—through features like tipping, tickets or subscriptions. We will also be using a portion of the new funding round to roll out a Creator Grant Program to support emerging Clubhouse creators.

So Clubhouse may be turning into a very commercial marketplace sometime soon. They will after all have to make money out of it somehow.

9. Some Lawyers might be no good at facilitating Clubhouse rooms?

Helen Burness (@HBurness) tweeted:-

I think hosting rooms is a skill. You need to be able to make people feel included and create a warm, connected atmosphere.

In that way it might not work for some lawyers. 😂 #sorrynotsorry

Alex G Smith (@alexgsmith) replied:-

So basically it’s about facilitation as ever so basically it could be in any medium … zoom with camera off would be exactly the same. Always comes back to facilitation and not the tech. People are learning the new online world that takes some different skills/more prep.

10. Another LegalTech echo chamber?

Looks to me like all the LegalTech peeps scrambling over to Clubhouse, like their lives depend upon it, are the same ones that currently inhabit a LegalTech echo chamber on Twitter.

They have agreed on Twitter to meet instead on Clubhouse to discuss there again the same things that they have already discussed on Twitter.

Bastian Schäfer said on LinkedIn:-

It excludes the majority of people and with Clubhouse you stay in a bubble – inside the bubble you are already in – it‘s a double-bubble.

And in echoing within their bubble they are often missing the point. As Aron Solomon acutely pointed out:-

“Let’s have a A2J meeting on Clubhouse.”

That legal folks don’t get the irony shows how utterly lacking in nuance we’ve become.

Aron also added:-

The Clubhouse thing just goes to show how deeply out of touch the legal “innovators” of the world are.

Deprived of their cultish in-person conferences, invitation-only listservs and now Clubhouse comfort this band of misfit toys.

Bastian Schäfer shared this view:-

It is another platform for people to satisfy their own ego (people who actually should consult a psychologist from my view)

Martijn de Jong commented:-

It all makes me wonder if sheep who have other sheep following them ever see themselves as influencers.

11. Clubhouse is a Covid-19 thing

I’m not sure if we would have Clubhouse (or its sudden apparent popularity) if it wasn’t for Covid-19 and lockdowns.

Clubhouse launched in April 2020 just after the world went into the first big lockdown.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams of course took off at the same time.

People are getting tired of video calls (well they are getting tired of a lot of things).

Suddenly audio is an alternative (although to be honest it was always there in some shape, form or fashion – e.g. the telephone).

I saw someone commenting on LinkedIn that Zoom might buy Clubhouse because most users on Zoom now turn their cameras off! Not sure why Zoom would want to buy a platform that is audio only when they already have a platform that is audio + video if you so wish?

Clubhouse is an alternative to the audio experiences we once had. At conferences, at networking events, at the office water cooler and down the pub. We want to hear voices other than just our partner’s voice, our child’s cry, our dog’s bark, our cat’s meow or for some the daily silence we must endure.

People are going onto Clubhouse to satisfy that crave. That is understandable. However,  there are other places you can turn to (See Reason 6 above)

But when we have all been vaccinated and the world starts to return to the normality we once had, rather than the new normal (that was never normal), we will have those real life interactions again and we will no longer crave the virtual Zoom or Clubhouse style ones.

Many lawyers like to play golf. When they can properly get back to that and entertaining clients at the 19th hole (the Golf Clubhouse) I think you will be more likely to find them there than in the audio-chat app one.

So you perhaps don’t have to invest a lot of time now in something that you will probably never feel the need to use in 6 months time.

12. Exclusionary, abusive or extremist content is rampant on Clubhouse so it is not for lawyers

Steve Glista (@steveglista) tweeted:-

Clubhouse has no plans to address exclusionary, abusive or extremist content that is rampant on the platform.

In an article on Sifted about Clubhouse taking Europe by storm:-

There’s an obvious dearth of women on the platform, which is “hardly surprising considering the app was started by tech bros in Silicon Valley and is passed on through invites,” says John Stanley Hunter, fintech journalist at Finance Forward.

Some female users told Sifted that they’ve experienced sexism and misogyny while using Clubhouse — and few perpetrators have been held accountable.

I have noticed a lot of manels advertised on Clubhouse. This is something the LegalTech community have made a point of addressing at LegalTech conferences in recent years. It will be a shame if the same community do not do likewise on Clubhouse.

And this from an article entitled: The Promising Highs and Chaotic Lows of Clubhouse:-

Patriarchal power dynamics also mar the app’s potential. There was immense Twitter commentary about men on Clubhouse talking over women during a recent Kevin Hart-involved discussion. From my experience, it’s not just that they don’t wait their turn, they often interrupt in order to gaslight and spout hateful opinions.

These issues aren’t unique to Clubhouse: misogyny, bad faith discussions, and attention-seeking gaslighting are unfortunate societal norms, so it’s natural that they’d reflect in our digital communication. But Clubhouse’s format makes some of these flaws even more difficult to ignore. While you can block or mute messaging that you don’t want to see on Twitter or Instagram, it’s impossible to disengage from someone blustering in a chat without leaving it altogether. The more that Clubhouse discussions become so disorderly that they trend on other social platforms, the more stigmatized the app will become.

And this in an article on Bloomberg entitled: Private Social App Clubhouse Courts Fresh Controversy:-

Controversial private social app Clubhouse was again the target of criticism on Monday, after speakers in a conversation with hundreds of listeners trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes. The flareup highlights a potential weakness for the voice-based community app, which has drawn ire for its policies on harassment, even though it’s not available to the public.

And from Vanity Fair: “You become a Hostage to their Worldview”: The Murky world of Moderation on Clubhouse, a Playground for the Elite :-

In the bubble that is Clubhouse, pseudo-intellectual monologues from powerful users can go unchecked, leaving them free to promote racist ideas under the guise of posing legitimate questions or playing devil’s advocate.

Google “Clubhouse problems” and you will find some more. You might then decide that this murky world of Clubhouse is not for Lawyers.

Summary

So for at least those dozen reasons Clubhouse is not for me. I think for the same reasons Clubhouse is not for lawyers on the whole. However, don’t let me stop you. If you have considered the cons but think there are enough pros to give it a whirl please do so. Let me know how you get on.

What do you think?

Are you on Clubhouse? What do you think of it? Are you contemplating it? Have you been put off by this blog post? If not what appeals to you about it? Is something other than not having an iPhone or an invite holding you back from joining? Any other reasons for not joining that I’ve missed?

Reactions on Social Media

In addition to the reactions in the comments section to this blog there have also been reactions to this post on LinkedIn and on Twitter. Some of these reactions and ensuing debate have become quite heated at times! Not since I dared to suggest that blogging might be done by lawyers for business development purposes have I seen different camps in a debate get quite so animated.

On LinkedIn the following comments have been made:-

Benjamin White (Crafty Counsel – Helping legal professionals learn, achieve, and share):

I haven’t used Clubhouse and hence don’t have a dog in this fight. I’ve seen some people whose opinions I respect become early adopters. I enjoyed the blog post a lot. I think there’s basically two categories of objection, if I may Brian Inkster – (a) the privacy concerns raised and (b) the commercial strategy questions as to whether it’s a sensible investment of time for lawyers. Point (b) is clearly a judgement call and – as you say Brian – reasonable people can disagree, or perhaps more pertinently, Clubhouse will deliver value for some and not for others, depending on what they want / need to get out of it.

I’d be interested in hearing more on (a) privacy – this thing about turning over your contacts’ details without their consent does seem fairly outrageous – is it possible to simply opt out of the scraping of your address book, as Simon P Marshall has suggested elsewhere?

Alexander Low (Your digital Magellan):

These are the terms, however I cannot find a way to unconnect my address book. My assumption is that you cannot then invite people in, unless you are allowed to do it manually 🧐

Simon P Marshall (Helping small law firms to grow through great marketing. Helping large law firms to win at #DigitalMarketing. Creator of The #Digital100. Clubhouse:@simonpmarshall):

Brian mentions the opt-out option in his own article: quoting Dr. Dorothea Baur.

Which is why it’s odd to make such a big thing out of it.

Benjamin White:

…because (according to the description in the blog) the app limits your invites if you do opt-out, thus heavily incentivising sharing your contacts’ details in the way described? That does seem like a big thing to me.

But I haven’t used it, so maybe the impact on experience is less than that sounds?

Simon P Marshall:

Benjamin White Aren’t we all the product in this era? Opt out and get 2 invitations. Opt in and get more. Opt out ad spend time on stage and hosting things, also get more. It’s no biggie.

Dr. Dorothea Baur (Bringing together business, society, technology & the environment – focusing on ethics, responsibility & sustainability):

Apparently you can opt out. This then means that you at first only get two invites. If you join without sacrificing your contacts, the only ‘blame’ is that you are supporting a business with an unethical business model… or, if you actively promote your own services there, then you benefit from an audience that would be significantly smaller if no one had violated the privacy of their contacts.

Me:

Simon P Marshall – I don’t imagine that everyone opts out. I imagine, but don’t know, that Clubhouse make it easier from a user/tech point of view to opt in? We know that they make it more attractive to opt in by offering you more invites if you do.

If you only receive two invites because you opt out but then give those two invites to people who either both or one of whom opt in, then you are arguably an accomplice to privacy violation as Dr. Dorothea Baur highlights in her post. Although she does not give that specific example.

Are you only going to give away invites if the recipient undertakes not to opt in? Not seen anyone making that a condition yet as they give them out to their connections on Twitter or LinkedIn.

The point made by Dorothea and by me is that you don’t really want to be an accomplice do you?

Alex G Smith (Global RAVN Product Lead at iManage):

The please connect your contacts to make the experience easier is a surveillance capitalism standard playbook, Facebook did it all the time. Then created shadow profiles if those people not on the system … and that worked out well …

Me:

Alexander Low – According to an article on Social Media Examiner:-

“To invite someone new to Clubhouse, they must be a contact in your phone and you must grant Clubhouse access to your contacts. Once connected, you can see a list of your available contacts and search for someone to send an invitation to.

When you invite someone to join Clubhouse, they’ll receive a text message letting them know you’ve invited them and the phone number to use when they accept the invitation.”

Which suggests you need to grant access to your contacts. Not sure then how you can give out the two invites you get if you opt out?

Maybe the article doesn’t give the full story although it appears fairly comprehensive: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/clubhouse-app-how-to-get-started/

Me:

Alex G Smith – I discovered today some more interesting stuff about what goes on at Clubhouse with the Shadow profiles:-

“Clubhouse has major privacy issues. I got contacted by someone from like 10y ago with whom I definitely do not want to have contact anymore, just from my phone number. I didn’t give Clubhouse access to my contacts either and the person is not in my contact list!

They don’t have to be in your phone contacts, just someone who has your number from years ago and they see every person you follow, follows you, your clubhouse activities,…and on top you can’t delete your account currently!

Haven’t seen this in a popular app before.”

For full thread and comments see: https://www.reddit.com/r/ClubhouseApp/comments/l9a2a1/major_privacy_issue_everyone_who_ever_had_your/

The more you dig the worse it seems to get.

Alex G Smith:

Brian Inkster – a freedom of info requesting should be interesting … I’d be interested if my number is in there and who compromised that number. Was fun to see a Privacy Lawyer “looking forward to their first experience on it” – hope they read the T&Cs. After Facebook why do we do this again …

Me:

And then this:-

“The elusive back-door entrance

There is another way to get invited to the Clubhouse that doesn’t actually require an invitation, but it might be even more exclusive than getting invited in the first place. When you visit the Clubhouse website, you’re given the option to reserve a username. If you have a lot of friends on the Clubhouse app, they might receive a notification that you downloaded the app and made a username (this depends on their notification settings and their app activity).

At this point, they can waive you through and give you access to the app even if they don’t have an invitation to spare. This might be the best way to get “invited” if you have a lot of contacts on the app, but fewer who are extremely active in the community.”

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/364000

Clubhouse clearly has more than one way set up to harvest its members contacts!

Me:

Alex G Smith – I’d be surprised if your number wasn’t in there by now! How many members and who they are that compromised the number would be the interesting thing. Of course the Clubhouse indemnity clause makes that the members problem and not a Clubhouse one!

Alex G Smith:

Brian Inkster – the “ive got some invites” people on social better be spreading their two or they have traded their contact book (in an opt out ui) to seem they have the special powers. It’s all 1970s gambling addiction theory that was eventually banned in gambling. Anyway regulation is coming to this area over the next few years, even in the US.

Me:

Alex G Smith – The more I delve into it the more I am puzzled by how they can give out any invites without sharing their contacts. Hopefully, someone on here who has joined Clubhouse and opted out will be able to explain to us how it all works to set our minds at rest.

Alex G Smith:

Brian Inkster yep, be good to see someone who has done it talking through this, esp those who as so generous on social with invites. Feels toxic to me but maybe a legal design expert could design the T&Cs into a graphic and of the downsides in the terms.

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Mike Whelan, Jr. (Content Strategist and Creator for the Legal Industry | Using my unique voice to help you find yours | Author of Lawyer Forward | LegalTech | Growth Marketing | Content Marketing | Writing):

FWIW I’m hosting my first session today. I decided it’s not as good as podcasts for teaching and for creating audience, but it’s better for engagement. So I’m hosting a session with my existing audience. It’ll be a live coaching call, basically, with no audience comments for 30 mins. I want the structure. And then 30 min of Q&A/brainstorm.

As I said, CH has structural problems that go beyond the platform. It’s just not great for how people learn. But I’m willing to experiment with it if my audience wants an easy way to engage.

(I did the same with Facebook Live. When few engaged, I stopped doing it. So we’ll see if CH performs better than FB.)

Simon P Marshall:

Worked well enough when you and I spoke on there last night. The instant nature of your thinking – live to my comments – was refreshing. Try that in a pre-recorded podcast. or in a text post.

Decrying it as is right now is like saying Napster was rubbish for music downloads. True. But it changed *everything*.

Clubhouse will force LI, Twitter and more to address their models, just as Napster did.

Sapna Mahboobani (Lawyer – for Business, Technology, Privacy, Software, SaaS, Cloud Computing, Startups):

Facebook Live isn’t the same. It’s still pretty passive with any audience engagement in the form of typed comments that may be missed. I haven’t tried CH yet, but will try to make your session today.

Mike Whelan, Jr:

Simon P Marshall – Yeah, I’m suspending disbelief a bit right now. As with all social platforms, it’ll have things that it’s good at and things that it’s not good at. Which is fine. You adapt your strategy to fit the medium if it’s a medium you or your audience like.

Mike Whelan, Jr:

Sapna Mahboobani – Yeah, I don’t mean to compare it to FB Live, except to say that I’m up for experimenting on whatever. We’ll see how CH changes as it grows. People are playing with it. It’s so early. Hopefully we can all have an open mind as we build the community piece.

Me:

Thanks Mike Whelan, Jr. Out of interest is there any reason why you have not taken your existing audience onto Zoom for live coaching followed by Q&A/brainstorm?

Mike Whelan, Jr:

Brian Inkster – Good question. A few thoughts:

1. We did this a bit. Attendance wasn’t high enough to justify continuing.

2. People are generally tired of Zoom. CH has the advantage of being new and having no expectation of wearing clothes while you participate.

3. CH allows for some diversity of thought. As a community creator, you want about half of your audience to know who you are and half to not know you. Or maybe even 70/30. The key is you have some insider knowledge so you’re not compelled to start with super basic basics, but you also want to add new perspectives. CH right now requires you to bring people to it. So you’ll get your 70 and then the app will draw in the other 30. That’s a good balance that’s much harder w Zoom invites.

Me:

Thanks Mike Whelan, Jr.

You had referred to your existing audience so I had assumed it was 100% that you already knew outside of Clubhouse that you were using the platform to meet with rather than looking for any extras from the app.

I think we were tired of Zoom by May 2020!

But if the video aspect of Zoom is seen as a problem why not do a Zoom where all videos are switched off?

I’ve been to many Zoom meetings recently where the majority of participants are audio only with the minority switching on their cameras. That seems more accepted now than it might have been back in May 2020.

If you are looking for extra people to attend on Zoom then advertising the event through your existing lists and on social media will likely bring a few more in. Plus you might get some Android and/or Surface users who you are excluding at the moment by using Clubhouse?

Mike Whelan, Jr:

Brian Inkster – That Android point is so right.

Me:

Mike Whelan, Jr. – Indeed. In a world that is or should be all about inclusiveness it is very exclusionary and devisive. Those on Clubhouse saying that those with a problem about this should just create events elsewhere and the Clubhouse gang might join in just doesn’t cut it.

Mike Whelan, Jr:

Brian Inkster Well I agree that the situation sucks and that Clubhouse needs to act quickly to add Android users, but I think Kristin Hodgins’ advice to start your own thing elsewhere is smart. You can only control what you can control. As much as people advise that you should create content where your people are, I believe in being interesting enough that people will follow you. Platforms have all the power otherwise. So find where you can play and invite people there and grow audience there. Clubhouse doesn’t owe us anything. By all means be frustrated with them, but then go to work where you can (as you have with your blog and your other social places).

Me:

Mike Whelan, Jr. Many people, companies, conference organisers etc. of course already had their own things elsewhere already (esp since lockdown). Clubhouse is the new thing – all of those other things are still going on day in day out. We now just have more with the addition of Clubhouse or a shift of some events that would have taken place on another medium to Clubhouse. Not sure there is a need for anymore events to be started anywhere to be honest! But I think the point that should not be lost in all of this is that until there is an Android App (and I would say Clubhouse sorting out the privacy issues associated with their app as part of that) organising events that are Clubhouse only is exclusionary and not desirable for that reason.

Kristin Hodgins (Legal innovator & futurist | legal tech | legal operations | transformation & change):

Brian Inkster – every platform is exclusionary to some degree, and although Twitter is free, is not conducive to in depth discussion. By your logic, I assume you have never attended or spoken at a paid conference or event, because those are quite exclusive and a lot of people cannot afford to go. And also, if I wanted to host a Zoom meeting, I would have to buy a paid subscription out of my own pocket.

Clubhouse is free. It has global participation, it uses lower bandwidth (which, if you live in rural/northern Canada or many parts of Africa and don’t have access to high speed internet, is a really important thing) and, so far, the audiences are far more diverse than I have found elsewhere. It is coming to Android, which should address that concern.

You attitude seems to be “I refuse/cannot use Clubhouse and therefore no one else should be using it either.” It is imperfect. It is in beta. It is an experiment. We’re trying new things and I don’t know why you are so adamant that we not.

Me:

I have always sought to ensure that if I speak at a paid conference my content will be shared after the event by the organisers or can be shared by me free of charge.

I highlight that in my blog post and give an example of my talk at Lexpo 2019 which is available on video, on slideshare and in a blog post. The same is true of a talk I did at the Practice Transformation Summit in Cork in 2017 and many others. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to do that with the content from a room on Clubhouse.

You can host a 40 minute Zoom meeting for up to 100 people for free. Anyone can join a meeting for free. A paid subscription is only £11.99 per month (£9.99 per month if you pay annually) which is much cheaper than the cost of an iPhone if you don’t have one. You can switch off video on Zoom to reduce bandwidth usage and access it by telephone only if you so wish.

If you want to host Zoom meetings that are longer than 40 minutes and can’t afford to do so you will, I am sure, always be able to find someone with a subscription willing to allow you to host via them.

More importantly, you don’t have to give out invites to those you want to join you on Zoom in a manner that shares your entire address book with Zoom and violates the privacy of all of your contacts. You do that when you give out invites on Clubhouse unless you go to very great efforts to prevent it (i.e. switch off syncing and delete all contacts bar the one you are giving the invite to – or use a burner phone with no other contacts on it).

You say Clubhouse is coming to Android, which should address the exclusionary concern. However, it is far from clear when that may be. Clubhouse only recently advertised for an Android Engineer. In the meantime the 74.6% of mobile phone users in the world who use Android have no access to it.

Given all the noise in LegalTech and in law firms about inclusivity and diversity, promoting an App and holding events on an App that excludes 74.6% of the population is, I would suggest, not a good look.

You state yet again that my attitude seems to be “I refuse/cannot use Clubhouse and therefore no one else should be using it either.”

You said a similar thing to me previously on Twitter.

Maybe you think if you say this enough times people will start to believe it. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

You said previously on Twitter:-

“You don’t have to use Clubhouse and it’s okay not to like it, but there are others who do like it and get value from it. Different people are allowed to have different experiences and preferences and just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean others have to feel that way too.”

I replied:-

“Of course. I never said they do. I welcome all viewpoints. I just don’t think all rooms are easily accessible globally at the same time by everyone due to time zones. That was the only point I was trying to make when it was suggested that it was a global leveller.”

In my blog post, when I summarise my thoughts at the end, I say:-

“So for at least those dozen reasons Clubhouse is not for me. I think for the same reasons Clubhouse is not for lawyers on the whole. However, don’t let me stop you. If you have considered the cons but think there are enough pros to give it a whirl please do so. Let me know how you get on.”

So please don’t try to misrepresent me.

Through my blog, Twitter and LinkedIn and most recently through the medium of audio with John Ray on “Business Leaders Radio” https://businessradiox.com/podcast/north-fulton-studio/clubhouse-app-brian-inkster-inkster/ I have sought to debate the question of Clubhouse and hear all sides of the argument. I reproduce all of the arguments put forward either for or against at the end of my blog post. I am certainly not adamant that no one should use Clubhouse. I welcome debate on why one might.

Mike Whelan, Jr:

Brian Inkster – Is the argument that there’s enough content out there in existing mediums and so we shouldn’t put energy in any new mediums? Obviously you’re on multiple platforms (blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, live events) so you haven’t always believed that. I don’t think that’s what you mean. I think you mean Clubhouse itself is a bad medium to put energy into, which I don’t totally disagree with.

I’ll say this, though: maybe the existing mediums are exclusionary. I’m thinking of my daughter with severe dyslexia who has a ton of trouble with blogs and text-based social, or a friend with MS who can’t go to events, or young people who aren’t on Twitter and LinkedIn. Clubhouse might be taking off bc it gives those people who’ve felt excluded from existing mediums a place to go.

You’re right that there’s too much hype. This tool will probably die off once Twitter adds their version. So the discussion should probably be less about Clubhouse specifically and more about audio-driven social. In terms of accessibility, I think audio social is a service and I hope it survives. I think it’s a medium worth adding events to.

Me:

Mike Whelan, Jr. – No. That is not my argument. As you deduce it is that you should not necessarily put energy into Clubhouse for all the reasons set out in my original post. I am not saying that Clubhouse is “bad” as a medium (other than its privacy violations – and I’ll return to that). I am saying that it is actually not really new and if you want to do audio plenty of options already existed and were actively in use.

Those other audio mediums are less exclusionary than Clubhouse. I’m not necessarily comparing Clubhouse to text based mediums. Although I have seen people with hearing problems commenting on the exclusionary nature of Clubhouse to them over text based mediums.

You mention “young people” who are not on Twitter or LinkedIn. I don’t think they are rushing to join Clubhouse! They already have Houseparty.

My main problem with Clubhouse is the extreme privacy violations it encourages when you have to share your contact list to give out invites. I hope that no lawyers are doing or encouraging that. This issue appears to be dodged by most Clubhouse lawyers. You said in an earlier comment that “Clubhouse doesn’t owe us anything” but I would suggest that they do owe our contacts the right to their privacy.

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Helen Burness (Championing legal innovation, helping founders driving change in the legal industry harness the power of modern marketing):

Thanks Brian for pulling together. A bit like Alexander Low I am dipping in and out to understand it more and be able to talk knowledgeably about benefits to clients / legal services businesses. It does involve a level of commitment and focus I find eludes me currently in home school / work / lockdown juggle. I have always loved the fact social media (originally at least) was about the written word, which plays better to my strengths and enables some of the ‘quieter listeners’ to have a voice. I feel like ClubHouse takes it back from that. But I did also get a huge amount of thought and content at the room I attended last week that Simon P Marshall and David Sayce co-hosted. Be interested to see how it evolves. On the fence right now, focussing on comedy TikToks!

David Sayce (I help your business grow & succeed online // Digital Marketing & SEO Consultant for B2B & Professional Services // Digital Strategy | Technical SEO Specialist | Professional Website Audit // Since 1996):

Interesting to see a relatively high number of lawyers already using Clubhouse. Great to be able to dive into rooms, listen, and have the ability to engage.

I’ve really enjoyed it so far, sometimes it is just a chat while other time I find myself help others.
Not sure how it will evolve over time… but for now it’s worth looking into

And of course, join Simon and me, I think we are back on tomorrow!

now, back to those comedy TikToks….

Helen Burness:

What’s tomorrow David?

David Sayce:

aahhh, you will need to tune in to find out 😀

But we are always open to conversation and questions from the room

Helen Burness:

Is it a secret?!!

David Sayce:

shhh, we will be answering the questions to life, the universe and everything else…. but don’t tell anyone 😜

Me:

David Sayce – Secret rooms! Is that another Clubhouse FOMO trick? 😉

Me:

Thanks Helen Burness. Glad you mentioned Simon P Marshall and David Sayce Clubhouse Room as Simon was scolding me on Twitter for not including your tweet on that in my blog post.

Now it will feature as part of the blog post comments that I will add, as I usually do, from here and Twitter to the end of the blog post.

Moving onto comedy TikToks, I think we are all waiting for your Wellerman Sea Shanty one – or did I miss it?

Helen Burness:

Working on it. Honestly. 😬

Me:

You had the costume all sorted. So shouldn’t be much more to do unless Clubhouse has distracted you? 😉

Helen Burness:

I thought I might do a Shanty room.

Me:

Now that would be mean. A Shanty Zoom yes.

David Sayce:

Brian Inkster – the first rule of Secret rooms is…. shhh 😎

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Justin North (Managing Director at Morae):

Love this – looking forward to hearing the comparison and similarities between Second Life and Clubhouse soon.

Aron Solomon (President and co-founder of Mission Watch Company):

Brian is working on the MySpace follow-up right now.

Alex G Smith (Global RAVN Product Lead at iManage):

Forgotten lawyers in second life phase in the 2000

Me:

Second Life Lawyer Conferences were last discussed in June 2020. Thankfully I am not aware of them becoming a virtual reality yet. https://thetimeblawg.com/2020/06/30/lawyers-do-not-need-a-second-life-conference/

Steve Glista (Managing Counsel at Rational Law):

adding a court in fortnight – so you can sue the kid who shot you and picked through your loot

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Lucy Dickens (Best-selling Author – It’s Time to Do Law Differently – How to reshape your firm and regain your life):

This is a great post – very thorough and informative. I jumped on the bandwagon last week, created a profile and was immediately concerned that Clubhouse had pulled all my contacts from my address book. I admit I didn’t read the T&Cs. I haven’t been back on yet. Your point #5 is a big one for me too.

Me:

Thanks Lucy Dickens. Can you recall any prompts giving you options about contact sharing when you did jump on? The mechanics are still not clear to me and I have yet to find a clear ‘how to’ video on You Tube. I’m assuming they won’t make it very clear and most people will inadvertently end up sharing their contacts with them as that will be the easiest set up option.

Lucy Dickens:

I got a pop-up asking for access to send me notifications. There may have been others, I can’t remember. I’m going to look for the setting to remove access to the address book now.

Me:

If you can. You can’t revoke your membership apparently. You have to send them an e-mail requesting that!

Lucy Dickens:

Sounds about right. I’ve looked on the settings and can’t find anywhere to amend privacy settings.

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Graeme Johnston (Let’s map legal work, together!):

Great stuff, Brian. Dr. Ula Cartwright-Finch I think you might enjoy Brian’s summary of multitasking.

Dr. Ula Cartwright-Finch (Consultant, Speaker & Scientist):

Thanks, Graeme Johnston!

Brian Inkster – with you on the radio ban while working. Even classical music disrupts my fluency with words. Silence is golden!

Brilliant analysis – thank you.

Me:

Thanks Dr. Ula Cartwright-Finch and Graeme Johnston. Silence is indeed golden when working.

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Nancy Myrland (Legal Marketing & Social Media Consultant | LinkedIn Training for Lawyers | Content Strategy, Podcasting, Video, & Livestreaming | Individual & Groups | Speaker, Trainer, and Advisor for Lawyers and Legal Marketers):

Brian, thank you for covering all sides of this discussion and for including my podcast episode about it!

Me:

Thanks Nancy Myrland. You made some good points on the Podcast and I’m glad you did so there and not in a Clubhouse Room otherwise I would never have known 😉

Nancy Myrland:

Good point! 🙂

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Clare Fanner (Law firms work with me to ‘do’ better marketing (more business, clients & income; whilst having happier clients; saving time & money; and increasing their know-how). FCIM. Red wine drinker. Golfer):

That’s a mighty article Brian – too long for my liking but some interesting and valid points. Clubhouse won’t be for everyone and I suspect the lawyer community will find it a little tedious in its current form … but then so was LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. etc. when they started out. It will be interesting to see how it fares in the longer term once it finds its mojo. For now I’m not keen … but I’m keeping an open mind.
The ‘data thing’ is a worry though!

Me:

Thanks Clare. It was suggested that I could have published it in instalments as Charles Dickens once did! I hope the length doesn’t put off people from reading it. I actually think that Twitter was better when it started out than it is today. LinkedIn has probably improved in some ways but got worse in others. Not sure that Clubhouse will have a long term future especially post Covid-19 but we will wait and see.

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Aron Solomon (President and co-founder of Mission Watch Company):

An excellent piece.

Aron Solomon:

All #lawyers should read this. Shows what a tire fire clubhouse is. As I commented in the piece, you’re going to get SUCH a backlash because the lawyers in clubhouse are the same cult members as the key people in “legal innovation.”

Me:

Thanks Aron. It didn’t take long for the backlash to start 😉

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Jeremy Webb (Threat Intelligence Manager at RBS):

Brian, interesting analysis of this new platform. I’ve had a long interest in social networks and so had to see what was behind the hype at Clubhouse. Not withstanding the valid privacy concerns, which I think exist behind any internet business that eventually will lean on its captured social graph for monetisation, I quickly turned from skeptic to enthusiast. The audio room format is compelling… I found it a bit like having the radio on. You can follow a discussion while doing something else, then chime in when you feel the need. It has a very flat social graph, like Twitter in that if Elon turns up you can directly ask questions.

Last Friday, Mark Zuckerberg visited with Andrew Bozworth and other exec, sending the rumour mill into hyperdrive regarding an acquisition. This flat graph also illustrates the elephant in the room for Clubhouse. It’s at the top of the hype cycle due to restricted access by invite, and high profile visitors like Elon. It’s a really interesting place to be right now because of this. But they have to work out how to tackle the “eternal September” problem when they open the floodgates and quality of interactions degrades.

Me:

Thanks Jeremy.

I wonder, however, how much opportunity you would actually have to ask Elon a question directly in a Clubhouse room given the huge number of other people in that room at the same time?

Unlike you, and as I say in my blog post, I couldn’t do legal work and listen to the radio (and therefore not Clubhouse either) at the same time.

I understand that after Zuckerberg’s reconnaissance mission into Clubhouse, he went back and ordered his staff to build the same capabilities into Facebook. So perhaps there won’t be an acquisition by him of Clubhouse but rather just a replication. There again if he sees it as competition he might just buy it to kill that.

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Kirsten Hodgson (Helping professionals & their firms to grow their practices via inbound marketing and LinkedIn):

Really thoughtful piece Brian – I haven’t looked at Clubhouse closely so find it interesting to read the cons rather than enthusiastic pieces. Personally I can’t handle another SM platform. I focus on platforms where my clients/prospects are present or where I can keep up to date with what’s happening/learn from people (Twitter and LI serve my needs in this regard). I have checked out similar apps in the past but found they sucked valuable time compared to the value they offered so, for now, I’m staying clear.

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John McCarthy (Helping Legal Firms increase profits by implementing the unique P.R.O.F.I.T. System * Marketing * Revenue * Profits * Cash Flow *):

Great post Brian. It’s hard to miss the buzz about Clubhouse.
I havent joined yet for one simple reasons:
– these latest tech-platforms may be really good but they may just end up burning a lot of valuable time if you dont have a very clear and measurable strategy to measure results.
Once I have that orgainised I will take a look
Thanks for your post

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Alexander Low (Your digital Magellan):

A great read Brian. I have dipped in and out of it to at least understand it. I am not convinced yet and does require a lot of time commitment, for very little return (at the moment). Will be interesting to see how Twitter plays it out. Notwithstanding their privacy policies (or lack thereof!)

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Joanna Toch, OLY (Family Barrister saving you time, money and stress. Online support and assistance):

Thanks.
It sounds awful.
Networking/notworking on speed.
I’ll continue spending my time on business.

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Ben Weinberger (Legal, Operations, KM, and Technology Advisor, Educator, Keynote Speaker, and Chief Innovation Officer):

Desperate to join Clubhouse? Not me. Why?
Brian Inkster pretty much nailed it.

Chris Harding (Strategic|Tactical|Technology|Operations|CustomerExperience|Project| Change|Process|People|Leader & Problem Solver):

It’s not for me either, and that was before reading Brian’s fine article. It would be interesting to see what a lawyer/legal tech provider on Clubhouse says to any clients wanting to be assured of data privacy.

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Lara Squires FCIM (Legal, accountancy and FS marketing expert * Business Development specialist * Chartered marketer and Fellow of CIM):

If you have FOMO of #Clubhouse (I may have had for a moment – as am an android user) you need to read this blog by Brian Inkster. There are LOL moments and so many third party comments/insights.

No Brian hasn’t used the platform but his response to someone who challenged that is priceless and makes this blog reading for that alone!

Its aimed at lawyers but relevant for anyone in my opinion.

Thank you, Brian – its EPIC (ps it’s not a quick read – he is a lawyer after all 😉 But it is soo worth it!)

Peter Jones (Business Development at Abel + Imray):

Glad I’m not the only android user… I cringed when I was given an invite. Was like turning up at a club and not wearing the right type of shoes to be let in! ahahahaha

Lara Squires:

I am not convinced we are missing anything bar the ‘buzz’

Elaine Perrins (Client Sense | Supporting law firms and accountants | Real-time communication analytics for cross selling | Client relationships | Referrer management | Key relationship transitions):

I’ve saved this for later as it’s a long read, because ‘I’m in’ but obviously missing something, I’m just not getting what all the fuss is about.

Rich Dibbins (Staxton Digital – Digital Marketing for the legal sector):

It was an interesting read, some elements go into too much detail. If we all spent our lives reading Privacy T&Cs I think we would be 2030! It’s good to see a new social media platform breaking away from the norm. Still too early to judge but time will tell. As for the lawyers being on ther, you get out of it what you put in. There people who “dip in & dip out” make an impact and then move on.

Oliver Taylor (Legal Industry Marketer. Providing lawyers marketing support and knowledge in an approachable, straight-talking way. Clubhouse and Twitter: @Red_Marketer):

Jumped on it to see the hype. Honestly, I feel it is quite educational for some topics, but as for the next best thing for Lawyers I’m still undecided. Think we may see it’s true colours when Lockdown finishes and allowed to mingle in person again. Could work as the old school surgery type thing, but that will complicate it as will need disclaimers, recordings etc. Time will tell… I’ve got spare invites if you are missing out 👍

Me:

I hope you only received two invites to give out 😉

Oliver Taylor:

Been given a further three 😬

Me:

As a reward for your activity on there?

Oliver Taylor:

Correct. Engaged with the team at ‘Legally Speaking Podcast’ this afternoon on tips and lessons to learn when starting one. Very educational and insightful. Last week a room on the psychology of Marketing.

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Annette Choti, Esq. (CEO/Owner – Law Quill | Your law firm’s blog is already done! The ONLY Legal Marketing Agency providing unique SEO content, prepackaged content, & courses to help small law firms gain more visibility & clients!):

These are not “reasons” why LAWYERS should not join Clubhouse, they are “reasons” YOU don’t want to join CH, Brian. TL; DR: His reasons include that he doesn’t like the name (he thinks it sounds like a brothel?), there are already enough social media platforms, its only for iPhone users, you have to get consent to record, he thinks there are better options, someday in the future Twitter might replicate it, lawyers have “better things to do” and (get this) lawyers will never be good at facilitating rooms on Clubhouse. (Totally not true, lawyers are amazing at rocking rooms on CH!) On top of all of it, here’s the kicker – he’s never even been on Clubhouse.

People were wrong about LinkedIn only being for job-seekers, & people were wrong about Instagram only being for kids. To date, I know several lawyers that have already gotten clients from CH. It’s totally opposite to the “old” way of marketing a law firm. Lawyers that use CH will see massive success, including Mitch Jackson and Nicole Black that you mentioned in your article.

Me:

Anyone reading my blog post will see clearly that these are also reasons put forward by other lawyers and not just me!

I extensively quote other lawyers who have set out their views in their own blog posts or articles or on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Your suggestion that my blog post might be too long so don’t read it but instead to read your misleading summary is disingenuous to say the least.

My blog post is long but necessarily so for the detail it contains which some have already said “all lawyers should read”.

Your summary seeks to massively misrepresent the contents of my blog post and it is therefore necessary for me to correct you.

I never said that Clubhouse sounds like a brothel. Someone else tweeted that suggestion and I quote and attribute it to them. I suggested that to me it had more of the connotation of a golf club house.

Likewise I never said that “lawyers will never be good at facilitating rooms on Clubhouse”. The headline point was “SOME [my emphasis] lawyers MIGHT [my emphasis] be no good at facilitating Clubhouse rooms?” [note also the question mark].

This was not my thought it was one I quoted from Twitter.

That quote from Twitter reads:-

“I think hosting rooms is a skill. You need to be able to make people feel included and create a warm, connected atmosphere.

In that way it might not work for some lawyers. hashtag#sorrynotsorry”

I note that in your summary you miss out many of the 12 reasons I gave. I wonder why?

You omit (a) asynchronous platforms being preferable to synchronous ones; (b) Clubhouse is another LegalTech echo chamber?; (c) Clubhouse is a Covid-19 thing; (d) Clubhouse is rampant with exclusionary, abusive or extremist content; and (e) Clubhouse violates privacy.

It is that last one, privacy violation, that is the big one. Now that it is being raised as an issue by lawyers not on Clubhouse those that are on the platform don’t seem keen to discuss it. It is a major issue and not one that anyone, especially lawyers, should or can brush under the carpet.

Since my blog post was published other privacy issues concerning the Clubhouse app have been raised and these can be read in the comments in this thread on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/brianinkster_clubhouse-is-not-for-lawyers-12-reasons-activity-6762733268027633666-qdL6

[N.B. those comments in that LinkedIn thread have of course now been reproduced on here]

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Lisa Lang (In-House Lawyer and Thought Leader📌Author📌Speaker📌Diversity and Inclusion Champion Committed to Paying it Forward):

Definitely worth reading. It is really thought provoking.

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Carolyn Elefant (Co-Chair LawyerMomOwnerSummit.com, Energy Law Entrepreneur at PowerUp Legal LLC, Energy and Eminent Domain Lawyer at LOCE, Data Science Certified):

This was a really thoughtful post.

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Wayne McGhan (National Business Manager at Legal Bricks):

Thanks for sharing Brian, I’m sure many will find your review with interest.

Me:

Thanks Wayne McGhan. I do hope so.

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And on Twitter:-

Dr. Dorothea Baur (@DorotheaBaur):

A fun read on #Clubhouse. Thanks for including my thoughts! “if you are on Clubhouse already you are either a violator or an accomplice. If you have not already joined Clubhouse you just might not want those labels attached to you in relation to potential #privacy law breaches”

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Nancy Myrland (@NancyMyrland):

I appreciate the lengthy discussion and inclusion of my podcast. I enjoy watching the various viewpoints and watching this unfold.

Helen Burness (@HBurness):

Thanks indeed for pulling all this together Brian! I am trying to find a balance between understanding the advantages of ClubHouse so I can talk knowledgeably & throwing my all in at an early stage. I will also be watching and tuning into debate!

Kevin Casini (@KCEsq):

I think it’s flooded with hobbyists and the app needs more informed voices on the platform. I’m in there though for my interests in the music industry, not the legal world.

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Alix (@lexiecarpenter):

I think your point of “are you really listening” is fairly key for me. Background noise easily becomes just that and I’ve struggled to concentrate while WFH on all manner of webinars, conferences etc. I cannot multitask if I want ANY benefit but it’s so hard not to…

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LINK App (@MobileHelix):

I’m staying away from Clubhouse for reasons of time allocation and privacy. Therefore, I have not researched it in much depth. Here’s is an entertaining dive from @TheTimeBlawg

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Simon Marshall (@CEO_TBD):

Three things occur to me immediately:
1) Anyone serious about privacy has an iPhone not an Android phone
2) Anyone can switch off CH accessing contacts so that point is a non-issue
3) Your annoyance seems in part to be because you can’t claim to be the first Scots firm on there.

Me:

Three responses occur to me:
1) Anyone serious about privacy has no smartphone at all. Your commitment to privacy does not show in the brand of smartphone you buy but in the apps you use.
2) Not everyone does though. And as discussed in greater detail on LinkedIn you in effect can become an accomplice to those that do.
3) I am more than happy to be the last Scots law firm to do many things e.g. Facebook and Instagram. And admit my mistakes: Pinterest was pointless. I could easily have bought an iPhone or borrowed my wife’s one (subject to a waiver from her on what might happen to her address book). I am not that desperate. My point was that being an early adaptor of certain social media platforms does not make me anti them all. I am now old enough and wise enough to know when to bite and when not to.

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Simon Marshall (@CEO_TBD):

I think that I also wanted to mention that the legal journalism standards that you decried the other night are sorely lacking here. No right to reply, no sense of understanding how those quotes would be framed.

e.g. excluding @HBurness’s tweet thanking me for her first CH.

Me:

Simon, what journalist puts a draft of their article up for comment/approval before publication?!

There is of course a right to reply. You can comment on the comments section on the blog. You can comment on here and on LinkedIn as you have done. Those comments will be reproduced on the blog as I always do. Something I’ve not ever seen legal ‘journalists’ do. Indeed there are LegalTech ‘journalists’ who withhold comments on their blog and delete them on LinkedIn if they are views contrary to the ones they hold.

I am open to hearing all arguments and having a healthy debate on them. As Ray Dalio said “I believe that one of the best ways of getting at truth is reflecting with others who have opposing views and who share your interest in finding the truth rather than being proven right.”

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Mike Whelan (@mikewhelanjr):

I’m back and forth on this.

As CH is now, I prefer podcasts as a consumer. But as an audience builder, I can see how the engagement helps. But I’ll play w the format. Most sessions now veer into boring conference territory, as the article says.

Growing pains, maybe.

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KatherineThomas (@katathom):

I don’t feel strongly about what others do w/ their time but my outsider’s sense = ‘Club Members Only’ = not zeitgeist, plays to basest instincts 2 belong + doesn’t reflect an evolved way of operating. I’m locked out anyway (Android) so will watch feedback from the sidelines.

Also I think we’re all a bit crazy right now: is the Clubhouse excitement a manifestation of this?

Me:

Reason 11 but I didn’t go as far as using the word “crazy” there. This might also spill over to Reason 10.

Alex G Smith (@alexgsmith):

Someone said that maybe we’re all a bit lonely and missing talking to humans. We can already do that – like zoom/teams (with cameras off) or dare I say it speak on a phone but it’s a funny one. There are a load of tools I’ve been on that replicate a “meeting room” or a pub.

For example: it’s interesting the play here, already missed the pandemic boat (zoom got that) but what fits the new work … or as Brian say should we learn to use what we have, a phone, “free” global comms
spatial.chat
shindig.com
airmeet.com

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KaEl (@BroadenView):

Here is a more than entertaining ‘deep dive’ from @TheTimeBlawg to clubhouse in which a lot of experiences and considerations have been incorporated, including from @DorotheaBaur

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Sarah Glassmeyer (@sglassmeyer):

My main view right now before using it is that people are bored and lonely and like trying new things and this has added veneer of being “exclusive” but I also don’t care if it makes people happy. Good points here, ESP, what in the tech-bro hell kind of name is “Clubhouse.”

I am absolutely very guilty of not reading TOS w/r/t privacy concerns but I guess I figure by this point I’ve destroyed my privacy because I’ve signed up for everything in the past soooo…

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Ansel Halliburton (@anseljh):

I didn’t even know it was a privacy travesty. I’ll send them a California data subject request to see what they have on me (a non-user) from other people’s address books.

To be fair, though, this is a common practice. They are hardly alone.

Alex G Smith (@alexgsmith):

Let me know how you get on, you don’t know who has handed over their contacts book innocently/to get invite power and if they are creating shadow profiles etc … maybe time for a Josh Bowder app if you’re successful.

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lawtomated (@lawtomated):

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing such a detailed analysis.

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Chrissie Wolfe (@CWolfe_LAB):

To Clubhouse or not to Clubhouse? I’ve seen lots of positive reports from lawyers and aspiring lawyers and had a couple of invites come my way but I share some of the privacy reservations outlined by @BrianInkster. Thoughts/experiences welcomed! #clubhouse #clubhouseapp

Ben Weinberger (@BenTheCIO):

I received an invite but didn’t bother – can’t quite understand the draw of it.

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Daniel Hoadley (@DanHLawReporter):

Good piece. Lots to think about.

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Daniel Hoadley (@DanHLawReporter):

I do wonder if there might have been a way for you to have made your point here without using such an aggressive manner of framing it? This paragraph strikes me as totally out of order.

So, if you are like Nicole Black and think my lack of participation disqualifies me from commenting then stop reading now and go quickly instead to a room on Clubhouse about the joys of lawyers being there. Like going to a Trump rally you are unlikely to find any opposing views when you get there.

Me:

Others have referred to it as humorous. But I guess a Trump supporter might not find it so. With hindsight I probably should have kept politics out of it as that can indeed be inflammatory to some.

Kristin Hodgins (@kristinhodgins) responding to Daniel Hoadley:

Agreed—some of this verges on personal attacks and I think there’s a lot of nuance that was missed.

Me:

As pointed out in my reply to @DanHLawReporter [N.B. that is the reply set out below rather than above in this thread] I disagree. As do the vast majority of my readers. Very happy, however, to hear what nuances I may have missed and I will gladly reproduce your views on that on the blog post for balance.

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Daniel Hoadley (@DanHLawReporter):

I regret my tweet describing this as a “good piece”. It is needlessly aggressive. The points about privacy are important, but you undermine all of that with your aggressive tone. There are ways to talk about this stuff without resorting to taking people down.

Me:

It is odd how you changed your mind overnight (maybe someone persuaded you to do so?). However, I would take the view that your latest tweet is the most aggressive one I’ve seen on the subject. Unlike you, I’ve not sought to take anyone down.

Anything said in the blog post re. Clubhouse fans was previously said directly to them in tweets. It was a legitimate challenge to their positions in order to generate debate.

If anything was aggressive, it was me being told at the outset that I had no right to comment on the subject without joining Clubhouse and therefore my viewpoint would not be read.

Your altered view appears to just be shared by @Kristinhodgins. You are both, of course, entitled to that view.

Others have commented in a more positive light. e.g. “love this”, “great post – very thorough and informative”, “great stuff”, “brilliant analysis – thank you”, “interesting and valid points”, “an excellent piece”, “all lawyers should read this”, “really thoughtful piece”, “great read”, “pretty much nailed it”, “LOL moments”, “its EPIC”, “really thought provoking”, “really thoughtful post”, “a fun read”, “an entertaining dive”, “more than an entertaining deep dive”.

All really like your first comment “Good piece. Lots to think about”. And none of them have changed their mind or been persuaded to do so.

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Image Credits:

Donald Trump – Photograph by John Gunion / Redux as published by the New Yorker at Where did Donald Trump Get Two Hundred Million Dollars to buy his money-losing Scottish Golf Clubs?

CB Radio Base Station – By Junglecat at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Liftarn using CommonsHelper., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11938249

9 Replies to “Clubhouse is not for Lawyers – 12 Reasons”

  1. pretty sure the legal crowd that hangs out on clubhouse are the same kids i used to beat the crap out of in the schoolyard.

  2. Does the Clubhouse say more about our profession than we want for it too? Is this why there is such sensitivity? I think so and that it is a kind of mirror of bad judgements lawyers should not publicly have

  3. Clubhouse doesn’t have any monetization model, which makes privacy violation the thing users should be scared of. Anyway, thanks for the article, very decent job!

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