What’s in a (brand) name?

Clubhouse recently announced that they would soon be changing their name to Shortcut.

My initial thought was that the name didn’t sound as good and didn’t give much away in terms of what the app is about.

Clubhouse was a great name, particularly when the app was invite only because it came with the feeling of exclusivity like a real club where not everyone can get in. I think perhaps with the app now open for anyone to use, the name Clubhouse no longer fits as well as it used to.

After reading the article and giving it some thought I realised that it actually doesn’t matter as much it might seem. After all, a name is just a name. The name of a brand doesn’t need to encapsulate everything that the brand is about, sometimes we just fall into thinking that it does.

Putting out good content

The 2 things you need to make money on YouTube through ad-revenue are 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of views.

If you’re in it for the short run, the work it takes might not seem worth it.

You might even feel like you don’t want to use your best work on a small audience, especially when you aren’t even earning anything from it. Of course some get lucky with a viral video but that’s not the case for the majority.

However, if you have a long term plan then whilst you are in the process of reaching those 2 milestones you’ll dedicate yourself by creating and putting out good content.

Then, once you start making money from YouTube, that good content can continue.

You don’t need to wait for a big audience to start putting out good work, start as you mean to go on.

Reasons to leave an online membership

This blog post is actually based on an online membership I joined earlier this year but recently cancelled my subscription for.

Prior to joining I was quite excited and I thought I would really enjoy the membership. It turned out that I thought the membership was pretty good and definetly worth the cost. However, it just wasn’t quite right for me.

But instead of cancelling when I came to that realisation I remained in the membership for a few more months. I wanted to give it a chance to see if I changed my mind plus I’d been a fan of this persons free online offerings for years so I felt conflicted that I didn’t like the membership as much as I thought I would.

In hindsight I should have just cancelled the membership staright away and then rejoined if I felt called to but instead I chose to trudge on. Looking back a key issue was the time difference. There would be interactive live sessions held in the morning but for me it was late the night before. It was difficult to interact with the content in the way it was intended because I was 10 or 11 hours behind.

The second thing was that some of the content didn’t quite resonate with me. It wasn’t that it was bad, it just wasn’t for me. It turned out that the stuff I liked the most was the stuff that was similar to what they shared for free. I came to realise that I didn’t really want all the other stuff from this person.

The last thing was that it felt a bit much for me to keep up with. There was regular short bits of content, 2 or 3 each week but after taking a break from the videos for a couple of weeks it felt like a lot to catch up with. This particular point is more that my commitment to keeping up with the content fell away and never really came back. Whilst other members were keeping up as new content was posted, I ended up viewing at my own leisure.

Despite all this it took me a few months to actually leave the membership*. But when I did, I didn’t regret it at all and I knew I wouldn’t be missing out on anything. Of course there would be great content to come but it simply wasn’t for me. I think I had a hard time accepting that because I didn’t expect it to turn out that way.

My main takeaways from this situation can apply to any sort of commitment made, it could be about work or something with a friend.

Sometimes in life, we put ourselves in situations that we think will be good for us. Perhaps we find that they are pretty good to begin with. However, it may turn out that somewhere along the line things change.

From the outside, the clear option is to leave. Yet when you’re the one in the situation suddenly it’s not so easy. You then end up staying in situations you don’t need to be in when you know that you should just leave.

Sometimes the issue is that we don’t trust ourselves enough in the moment when the thought first comes up. Instead, we give ourselves time to ponder and ruminate but more often than not we reach the conclusion that we already had to begin with.

* Another reason was because it was fairly inexpensive so it felt easier to keep paying whilst I made up my mind than to leave and potentially want to rejoin shortly after. I’ve been thinking and making notes about subscription services so expect more on this soon.

Other peoples numbers

Instagram now allows you to turn off the numbers (likes and views) on other people’s posts. I didn’t think much of it until I turned the likes back on.

I found that with the numbers off, I was solely focused on the content. However, with the numbers on, they were the first thing I looked at.

It’s interesting to see how many likes and views the videos and photos get. But, I think it’s easy to get distracted by other peoples numbers instead of just enjoying the content.

What do Instagram and mobile phones have in common?

They both began with having a single use but overtime have become multi-functional.

Those of us with smart phones may find that we no longer have use for: mp3/4 players, cameras, torches, home telephones, address books, calendars, calling cards for overseas calls, photo albums or even a laptop.

Instagram has done the same but instead with other platforms. It hasn’t made them obsolete but it has given them a rival and in some cases has become more dominant.

Instagram offers an alternative to:
Snapchat with insta-stories
YouTube with IGTV
Affiliate links on blog posts with the swipe up feature.
Blog posts with guides (but even just a feed carousel and a long caption is pretty similar to a blog post)
TikTok with Reels

Instagram is no longer just a photo sharing app in the same way that mobile phones are no longer just for making calls.

The rise and fall of Clubhouse

Over the past few months I’ve written various posts about Clubhouse. I wrote about how it had had grown but also my thoughts on the future. Over the past month or so it seems that Clubhouse has fallen. I believe it to be because the app came out whilst many of us were in lockdown. We weren’t able to do the things we would usually do and so Clubhouse became one of the things we used to take up our time.

Whilst the creators were watching their invention grow and thrive, the users although using and possibly even enjoying the app, were also longing for ‘real life’ to return.

And so once restrictions began to ease, use of the app reduced. People no longer needed something to fill their time as they could get back to going to the movies, going for dinner, going for drinks, going to museums, seeing friends and whatever else they did pre-pandemic.

Plus, unlike other things that came about during lockdown, Clubhouse was not able to replace Instagram or Twitter and it’s certainly not enough to replace social interaction.

Words unspoken

Just because something is on your mind, doesnt mean it needs to be said.

It might seem like a radical concept but not everything needs to be shared.

That idea might seem so far from where we’re currently at because when it comes to social media it often seems that we should push the boundaries and share more.

Clubhouse probably won’t become the next Instagram

We already have Instagram, it can’t be replaced.

It’s more likely that other apps will copy it and it will die out or become less popular, like snapchat.

When it comes to the growth and longevity of Clubhouse, there is a lot to be considered.

Firstly, there is likely to be a period of rapid growth once it becomes available for android. However, when it comes to longevity in the next 3 months, 6 months or even a year I think that things are much less certain.

Once the app becomes more easily available the amount of users will increase for a period of time as people that didn’t previously get access can now join and see what the hype was about. There is likely to then be a decline in users as some will lose interest in the app after a few weeks.

In terms of how long the app will last, unless we all become addicted like how we are with Instagram I think it will be a question of ‘Is what I gain from this going to be worth more than the time that ends up being wasted?’ or ‘Is what I can gain from this different from what I already have access to through youtube, podcasts, IGTV, books, articles etc? and lastly ‘Is what I can gain for this better than the alternatives on apps I’m already familiar with?’

I think there is something to be said about being on the cusp, on showing up in the early stages because you’re interested, not just because something is trendy or popular.

The reason why I think clubhouse is such a big deal is because it’s very rare for a new social media app to show up and gain such traction in such a short space of time, especially because it has resulted in 2 of the biggest social media apps to add a similar features so that they can compete.

I also think it’s great that there are so much options for what you could do with the app: read a play, discuss pop culture, live podcast, talk show, etc that it can appeal to a range of age groups.

I’m looking forward to see how the app grows and develops in the future. Will it last, will Twitter/Instagram/Discord alternatives force it to die out as people already have followings on those platforms? But also what new features will it have and once things go back to ‘normal’ will we still be interested?

In search of community

I think a key part of being creative is doing it as part of a community.

Community is really important. You don’t need to be working on a joint project you can simply work on your individual projects together. Being part of a community can help keep you motivated and accountable, give you people to bounce ideas off and act as a sounding board. Plus, you have people to share your progress and growth with. All those things you can gain are also the things you’re able to give.

There are the kind of communities that you pay for with a monthly membership fee. There is usually some sort of leader or overseer even if they don’t interact with the members directly.

But there is also community formed when a few people (sometimes total strangers) decide to come together. In this case, there is no leader or hierarchy. This is what I’m currently in search of.

I’ve been sharing my work online for close to a decade and it has always been a solitary pursuit. However, lately the idea of community has really appealed to me, both online and offline.

Writing for the moment

I recently realised that I enjoy writing about current events.

One of my most read posts is about Instagram guides, I think I published it a day after guides became available to everyone, it was a hot topic.

If I’d written the post a few days or even weeks later it would have no longer been relevant. Of course the post can be read at any time but it was written for a particular moment in time.

Yesterday, I published a post about Clubhouse. I first drafted the post over 2 months ago and at the time it was over 1500 words, significantly longer than what I would usually post. For various it took a while to make time to edit the post to something I was happy to share.

But, what I noticed was that each time I went through the post, things had changed. Things like the number of users and the other apps that had added an audio feature. I regret not publishing the post sooner as with any hot topic, sooner is always better than later.

I think it’s fair to say that Clubhouse is still very relevant and will continue to be for the months to come. However, the post I published yesterday is very much of the time. That’s the issue you face when writing about hot topics, they don’t always last.

In contrast, the posts I’ve written that focus more around life lessons, career and self-help are what I would consider evergreen. They will be just as relevant today as they will be 12 months from now.