Martin Gurri watch

Megan McArdle writes (WaPo, paywalled),

The media’s pronouncements about fighting “misinformation” often sound perilously close to declaring that the common presumptions of a handful of major media outlets should define the bounds of accepted truth for everyone. That’s both arrogant and impossible, and I don’t blame anyone for recoiling. But I do question those who have reacted by casually (and publicly!) suggesting that they’ll use their entrepreneurial mojo to destroy journalism and replace it with something better.

She refers to discussions on Clubhouse. I have observed the same thing. In fact, her description of Clubhouse as like a big conference with lots of panel discussions going on fits with my experience.

In rooms discussing media where tech people are on the panel, the tech people complain about journalists of having abandoned objectivity. In rooms with mainstream media on the panel, the journalists complain about consumer having abandoned tradition news outlets for social media and fake news. I see both sides as trying to click their heels together three times, hoping to be transported back to the 20th century. I want to shake everyone by the collar and make them read Martin Gurri’s Revolt of the Public, or at least his essay about the NYT.

As an aside, Bret Weinstein seems to have observed more dramatically the militant black-power element that first struck me (Dick Gregory’s Clubhouse).

Also, listen to Heather Heying’s take in the podcast with Bret. I personally place her above Bret in my FITs rankings. Bret reminds me of the story I read about the KC quarterback in the Super Bowl racking up 497 yards behind the line of scrimmage, running back and forth to try to evade defenders. She instead runs straight at you. I would draft her to pick up some W’s.

As another aside, room population size on Clubhouse is a great illustration of an autocatalytic process. The more people who are drawn to a room, the more additional people will be drawn. If you have only a handful of people in the room, you are going to be stuck at a low level. If you have close to 1000, you room will keep growing. That is because of the way the “feed” algorithm works. You get alerted when people you follow are in a room. So if 1000 people are in a room, it is much more likely that one of them is someone I follow than if the room has only 5 people. In addition, other things equal it seems that the algorithm shows rooms in population-size order. So if I am just scrolling through the rooms, the first one I see will be the one with the most people.

I can easily imagine a dynamic where if someone with thousands of followers leaves room A and goes to room B, then room A pretty much empties out and room B fills up. This could be regardless of what the panel discussion is like in room A vs. room B.