Fear is back with the deadly combination of pandemic politics and a vicious variant. The good news is that if enough people took the photos, we could reduce the damage to something manageable. The other good news is the progress on Trump’s dual issue and social media. In either case, a semblance of balanced rationality permeates public discourse.
The first is the former president, who has already done as much damage as possible. Joe Biden is doing a good job of bringing Congress to a certain level of productivity. As The Gang talks about this episode and the next, it looks increasingly likely that there will be a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Republicans and especially Mitch McConnell can still shut it down, but Democrats see the budget reconciliation process as a closed card to spur a semi-partisan bill between the two parties. Biden’s strategy is not only to force the right to come to terms with a center victory, but to prevent a major cavern from centrist Democrat Joe Manchin on filibuster. This may have some value if Congress gets a hold of the voting rights or tries to destroy them.
Something similar can play out on the social side. Facebook and Twitter seem to be surrounding themselves as Congress imposes antitrust stance. With the courts giving Facebook a little leeway on the operational description of what a monopoly is, Twitter has reported some solid numbers that beat the streets and make Jack Dorsey’s feint towards bitcoin and the creator economy more easy to swallow when the smoke clears. Media newslettering gives social media some credibility as Congress tries to force Facebook to grow. Blocking an MGM deal here and a Section 530 exclusion there seems possible, although more likely right at the start of negotiations.
The big battle is over the shape of the post-COVID work and lifestyle negotiations. Vaccination reluctance is a fire of five alarms, but the midpoint of 2022 may well be disputed over the intersection of climate change and the speed of recovery driven by the accelerated digital economy. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that returning to work and a manageable ecology are deeply intertwined. Silicon Valley can say whatever it wants to invent the future, but desperate consumers seek real answers from tech leaders who understand the future ahead in a constantly unstable weather crisis that is turning a West Coast into fire in a stifling rest of the country.
Vaccination mandates are a fierce predictor of what is to come. In a country under the constant threat of a constitutional crisis over electoral fraud by one of the two main parties, the federal response may be limited but labor-level rules cannot. These are serious privacy and human rights concerns, but in the short term, the move towards practical mandates will be rapid at the state and corporate level, and supported by sound polls. Do you think some version of the job anywhere will be linked to double vaccination? As a mandate, it is not a done deal; as a choice, this seems like a popular way to reduce the crisis from the current 35% to something approaching too high a deadline but ready for the 15% winter where hospitals and state economies need help, red or blue. And those numbers could mean the difference between a major crisis and lockdowns crushing the economy if an even more glaring variant emerges.
This is also where social and security meet at a crossroads. Are we ready to cede an unfettered Facebook to fuel the scourge of disinformation, or are we going to seek help from the creator economy to bypass the fallow mainstream media stuck in their business model fueled by the controversy rather than a scientific, evidence-based approach to breaking through the back end of this turgid political cycle? We can see the outline of social media courage as part of a newsletter, coupled with stakeholder conscious ethical values and economic leverage.
Less obvious is the path for Clubhouse and its competitors. The Andreessen-Horowitz-backed mobile app was released from an invite-only beta and added an internal instant messaging layer to handle moderators, speakers, listener questions, room onboarding, and comments . But the big problem remains why this simple feature of a live streaming podcast app bolsters the startup’s high valuation. And this from Michael Markman:
I have largely lost interest in Clubhouse. It might not be a big data point, but I’m no longer fascinated… The thing is, I sometimes find myself in rooms where I was learning something or getting points of view. that hadn’t occurred to me. But usually I would listen to very frustrating conversations that got nowhere.
Yeah, it would. But the biggest problem is the denial of allowing recording as a UI feature. Twitter Spaces won’t, Facebook is really a win-win newsletter subscription model (Substack) grafted onto, and Spotify has already enabled recording on Anchor, its podcasting tool. It’s probably creating an app that Spotify will go for, but the problem is that podcasting is only considered an audio product. So what ? Add cross-platform video streaming like ReStream to the social audio / podcast / recorder / newsletter hybrid and we’ve got something. What is the hold-up?
No recording started out as a nod to privacy, a differentiator between creators and listeners. The idea was to create a unique quality of serendipity, discovery and credibility. It is reminiscent of the theater’s fourth wall, where the characters step out of their situation to speak directly to the audience. It’s exhilarating to experience, a hybrid between writing and improvisation that is largely an illusion. Illusions are no less valuable simply because they elegantly transcend their apparent limits. Clubhouse spoke directly to our feeling that we had strayed into the insidious virus of science and truth.
In the decadence of the Clubhouse model, we feel that the designer economy is all hat and not cowboy enough. Brent Leary:
I see this as just another way to speed up the fact that a few get most of everything with everyone getting leftovers. You’re going to hear all these stories about all the people, all the people doing it big, but they’re going to be like an infinitesimal fraction of everyone trying to do the same thing and not being able to do it.
There is so much attention you can give. And the people who know how to use that stuff and set up a good process and find a way to really make a well-oiled machine; they’re lucky to be in that top echelon of creators who get the most money. But everyone will be there to try to spin the wheels because it’s just a continuation of what we’ve always had.
The registration and a calendar page will make the difference, if only to bring a vote to the floor. Is this something to look forward to, a social version of Andrea Mitchell or Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC, a recording system for the issues that matter in economies anywhere, from creator or leader of? opinion. Markman’s question on the viability of the Clubhouse is a broader coverage against the tendency of social media to make problems worse rather than alleviate them. Recording is really a time-shifting tool for user control and a driver for ranking metadata to annotate a live or personally managed schedule. In theory, the Clubhouse should work, but in practice, without registration, it could be called another sit-down convention.
from the Gillmor Gang newsletter
The Gillmor Gang – Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant, Brent Leary and Steve Gillmor. Recorded live on Friday July 16, 2021.
Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor
@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @brentleary, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang
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