UPDATED! Confessions of a Shameless Clubhouse Room-Hopper (from a Former Friendster Whore)

Remember Friendster? Aaah, those were the days…

I seem to have a predictable pattern when it comes to new social media and social networks. In Friendster, way, waaay back in the day, I threw caution to the wind and simply began friending strangers with reckless abandon, eventually creating a large, squirming ball of three million interconnected Friendster friends, before getting bored of it all and tossing it aside (you can read my saga here). We called ourselves “Friendster whores”. Gamifying Friendster and undermining Jonathan Abram’s dream of creating a dating site based on three degrees of separation: ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED! (And yes, I am shameless.)

Yes, even Dame Edna was my Friendster friend!

When Flickr hit, I was among the first thousand users, when it was still a tiny little Vancouver startup run by Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield (who went on to found Slack), again recklessly befriending people based on their photos and pictures. And I followed much the same pattern with Tribe and MySpace and Orkut and Facebook and Google+ and Periscope and Ello… (Remember Ello? They were red hot for a full nanosecond. Blink, and you missed it! Obviously, Clubhouse wants to avoid that fate.)

Ello turned into a weird, obscure little cul-de-sac on the Internet for creatives

So, as per my usual inclination, I have been diving into the deep end of Clubhouse, jumping into and out of rooms with alarming alacrity. Rooms about empowerment or expressing gratitude or non-fungible tokens or mental health or attracting venture capital or manifesting your soulmate or crypto investing. Rooms on candle making. Rooms for serial entrepreneurs and serial daters. Rooms created by people who want to practice their interview skills. A room about lullabies to listen to as you fall asleep (a surprisingly popular room!). Rooms stuffed with super-achievers, the kind of high-energy people with firm handshakes and loud voices that make Tony Robbins look like a shrinking violet. Rooms that were tightly controlled by their moderators, and rooms that were absolute chaos. Rooms with thousands of people and rooms that were empty. So, so many rooms. It made my head explode.

Clubhouse Overload!

For example, yesterday evening I spent an hour listening as the author of a forthcoming book about Clubhouse took pitches from people who wanted their stories to be included in the book. Some were shy and somewhat scattered in their speaking, while others spoke in full, forceful, prescripted paragraphs, seemingly without once drawing a breath. Some were cringe-inducing in their naked ambition to find a way to monetize Clubhouse and/or promote their business. After a hour of pitch after pitch after pitch, I felt exhausted and I went to lie down on the sofa.

Basically, in tried and true Ryan Schultz fashion, I became an utterly shameless and brazen room-hopping Clubhouse slut. I have been told that the more time you spend on Clubhouse, the more you are rewarded with free invites to send to other people to add to the social network during their initial, invite-only phase (a tactic used by many predecessor social networks such as Google+, as well as non-social-media apps such as Gmail…and I vividly remember a very lively trade in those highly-coveted early invitations to Gmail, back in 2004!).

In my first week, I spent so many hours on the platform, sampling rooms at various times of day like a fat man at a pre-pandemic-era cruise line buffet, that I earned a total of EIGHT invitations to bring other people onboard! If you choose to support my work on this blog and the (currently on hiatus) Metaverse Newscast, at the bronze level or higher, I will send you an invite to join Clubhouse! Here is my Patreon page.

PLEASE NOTE: You must remain my Patreon supporter for AT LEAST one monthly billing cycle (the first day of each month) before you receive the Clubhouse invitation, in order to avoid people abusing this privilege by signing up, getting an invite, and then promptly unsubscribing from my Patreon a day later, before you get billed. Thank you!

Thank you to all my wonderful Patreon supporters! Your support helps me cover my WordPress hosting fees for this blog, and it means the world to me. (And I, in turn support Voices of VR podcaster Kent Bye and social VR platform NeosVR via Patreon.)

My Patreon page: support me and get an invite to Clubhouse!

Since I am very familiar with the life cycle of social networks, having participated in so many over the years, I recognize well the addictive, giddy honeymoon period which Clubhouse is now in, where everything is bright and shiny and new. Is it gonna stay that way? Hate to break it to you, but probably not.

There are already rumblings in the press about how Clubhouse will struggle to scale, such as this March 2nd, 2021 Bloomberg Businessweek article by Sarah McBride, titled Can Clubhouse Keep the Conversation Going?, which states:

Investment firm Andreessen Horowitz has supplied much of the capital that helped spark the sudden rise of Clubhouse, the audio-based social network that’s become one of the hottest things in Silicon Valley and has drawn in mega-celebrities including Oprah and Drake. In a twist on the standard venture capital model, it also provides a good deal of the talent responsible for the content…

New forms of smartphone-based media consumption that suddenly take off among early adopters don’t always translate well to the wider world. For every Twitter, which first gained prominence as the must-have app of the 2007 South by Southwest conference, there’s a Highlight, a location-based social networking service that was SXSW’s top app in 2012 but was promptly forgotten after everyone went home. That cautionary tale holds special relevance for Clubhouse given that its co-founder and CEO, Paul Davison, created Highlight.

Newsweek went so far as to claim that Clubhouse is dying (Now, I would rather argue that it is Newsweek that is dying, and that this is a click-bait title, but that is the topic for another blogpost…)

It will be fascinating to see Clubhouse grow and evolve over 2021! As I wrote previously about Friendster, a social network which landed up becoming something quite different from what its creators had originally anticipated:

You can’t predict what’s going to happen. People may take social VR spaces and virtual worlds into as-yet-undreamed-of and unanticipated areas. Nobody can predict what the metaverse is going to look like.

UPDATE 7:32 p.m.: If you are interested in learning who the most influential (i.e. most followed) people are on Clubhouse already, well, there’s actually a handy website for that, just for you people with your noses pressed against the window, waiting to get in!


And I also wanted to quote someone’s hilariously snarky opinion of what Clubhouse is currently like, taken directly from the r/ClubhouseApp community on Reddit:

The #Clubhouse crowd is

• 25% Venture Capitalists VC-ing
• 25% Founders foundering
• 25% Scammers scamming
• 25% Wannabes wannabe-ing

And somebody else shared this funny picture, which perfectly sums up the current difficulties some people are having in obtaining a highly-desired Clubhouse invitation, in a Reddit thread where some entrepreneurial souls were peddling Clubhouse invitations for up to $50 each:

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free Skin Appliers from Amara Beauty for Catwa, Lelutka, and Genus Project Bento Mesh Heads

As part of the week-long #TogetherAtHome promotional initiative by a number of Second Life retailers, Amara Beauty is giving away several skin applier gifts, for Catwa, LeLutka, and Genus Project Bento mesh heads:

The Brielle skin applier works for all Genus Project heads, including the free Strong Face group gift that the store recently gave out! In addition to the Brielle, Madelyn, and Ivy skin appliers in six different skin tones, you can also pick up the so-called Slender body appliers for Legacy and Omega-compatible mesh bodies for free, as well as additional Bakes on Mesh layers to fix the hands, feet, and cleavage on your skin.

Here is the Brielle skin applier in the beige skin tone on the freebie Strong Face Genus Project head and the dollarbie Meshbody Classic body (each skin comes in a Bakes on Mesh version with three eyebrow options—dark brows, light brows, and no brows—and the Genus head skin applier comes with four eyebrow options—dark, brown, light, and no brows, for you to apply your own preferred eyebrows separately).

I think you’ll agree that this is truly beautiful skin, and it’s well worth the trip down to Amara Beauty to pick up this generous, free group gift before it’s gone! You don’t even need to join the Amara Beauty group.

This particular avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: the Strong Face Bento mesh head from the Genus Project (a former group gift which, unfortunately, is no longer available)

Mesh Body: the Classic mesh body by Meshbody (a dollarbie group gift; more information is about this body can be found here)

Skin Applier: Genus head skin applier and Bakes on Mesh body skin Brielle in beige, from Amara Beauty

Hair: Iris by D!va (free group gift located on the other side of the wall behind the front counter; the group is free to join)

Dress: Lucia dress from Ello (previous hunt gift; this store now appears to have left the grid, but they are still on the SL Marketplace)

Shoes: Wales pumps from Essenz (the group gift for April; the Essenz group costs L$350 to join; the Classic mesh body has Legacy-compatible feet; more information about the shoes is here)

Animation Override: This is a graceful, old AO for empire-waist gowns by PixelDolls (remember them?), a store which has been long gone from the grid, but still exists on the SL Marketplace (it comes included with the Innocent Dans L’Amour gown for L$150, and I find I pull it out of my inventory and use it all the time with wider, “poofier” dresses and skirts).

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR LOOK: L$501 (L$150 for the PixelDolls AO, L$350 to join the Essenz group for the pumps group gift, and L$1 for the Classic mesh body)

Here is your taxi to the Amara Beauty store! Happy freebie shopping!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: A Fifteen-Minute Female Avatar Makeover for Free!

Time for another fifteen-minute Second Life avatar makeover!

Here’s the before (the starter Maria avatar; not bad, but definitely looking a bit dated):

Before 8 Sept 2018.png

And here’s the after (now she’s all set for a night on the town!):

After 8 Sept 2018.png

Here’s a rear view to show you the lovely detail on the back of this daring little metallic minidress:

After 2 8 Sept 2018.png

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Avatar Head and Body: Altamura Jenny (free from the Freebie Megastore in London City)

Hair: Leah hair in ash by Zalea (free gift); the HUD has 36 colour choices!

Dress: Faith gold metallic minidress by Justice (free group gift if you join the SL Frees & Offers group for free); the Maitreya Lara version of this dress fits the Altamura Jenny body well. The dress comes in three colours—gold, copper, and rose gold.

Shoes: gold Olivia heels (free gift from Ello); the Altamura Jenny body has Slink-compatible feet

Animation Override: Lucky Girl AO Basic Bento Mocap by Tuty (free)

Ankle Lock: by Baby Monkey (freebie from the blue bag on the reception desk)

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: FREE!