Tales From Testflight : Some Creator Mischief Involving Taylor Lorenz
How with the help of Clubhouse's first creator group, I trolled the New York Times (and avoided a hitpiece!)
While the following tale did not explicitly occur prior to Clubhouse landing on the public app store, I think it perfectly embodies the Testflighter spirit. It does, however, fit into the category of ‘things you can’t do on Clubhouse anymore’ due to rule changes. It was also during a post-algorithm’d hallway time, but when you could be reasonably assured most of Clubhouse would still see your room.
Swexit’s Reality Show
Opening Clubhouse and scrolling the hallway, I noticed that Swexit House was doing a room. Before collectives and creators, Swexit house was probably one of the first creator groups that existed on the platform. A play on Sway house, it was comprised of a lot of early Clubhouse users, was heavy on parody, and their rooms were usually a good time. Tonight, the Swexit room was about auditioning for a Clubhouse reality show.
I popped in, and heard the Swexit boys going over the structure of the reality show and calling for auditions. As someone with a penchant for Very Online drama, it seemed as though my time to shine had arrived. After listening to a bunch of Clubhousers give their best shot at doing their best MTV’s Real World impression, many of which were quite impressive, my turn was up.
At the time, I felt much like a teenage girl in developing a sense of how to deal with the effects of hormone replacement therapy so it wasn’t much a stretch to completely slip into character. I put on my best Mean Girls performance, replete with references to my beauty, how lucky everyone else was to be in my presence, and a few good natured but cutting jabs at the other people on stage.
At the end of the room, Swexit let us know that they would be in touch regarding who made the cut. My performance had received the equivalent of a nod of approval, and while that was positive feedback I really felt that my penchant for drama was not really appreciated.
Ivy and Her Mischievous Nature
My inner Machiavelli asserted itself, and I resolved to make a room that would surely create more drama than all of Clubhouse could handle.
Thinking for a few minutes, I happened upon the perfect room title: Swexit House = Super Problematic, Interview with Taylor Lorenz. Known for less than positive coverage of the platform, surely this bit of Clubhouse clickbait would attract many.
I also made a fateful decision: I had Taylor blocked at this point for one reason or another (in the original battle of Clubhouse, I was Team Balaji). I decided to unblock her just in case that might play a factor in what was to unfold, and it most certainly did (in a mostly good way).
I opened the room, and a few of the Swexit / other early Clubhouse people came up on stage, all of whom at this point were certainly in on the joke. We did some marvelous play acting, and were quite convincing as witnesses to a deeply problematic event involving Swexit that we now needed to discourse about. I made some reference to Taylor being late for the interview, figuring we would keep things going for a few more minutes and then shut the room down.
In the interim, another early Clubhouse person who was certainly not in on the joke came up and tried to play peacemaker which caused me to giggle quite a bit (on mute, of course).
Life Imitates Clubhouse Clickbait
Then, something occurred which I didn’t actually expect. A notification popped up that said ‘Taylor Lorenz would like to come up to speak’. I hadn’t even noticed her join the room, I hesitated for a minute or two as I was actually unsure as to what I would say until a few of my on-stage collaborators DM’d me on Twitter saying that I should probably invite her up.
Taylor was, as you might expect, not exactly pleased. I don’t recall her exact initial words, but it was something to the effect of that she likes a good joke as much as the next person but if we were going to repeat tonight’s events, to let her know next time as people were texting her about the room.
After a few seconds of silence from the group I let her know that we would (we were never going to do this again). She left and we shortly ended the room, it took about 15 minutes for my heart to stop pounding. I was, however, pleased that a Clubhouse prank had gone off so well; mostly owing to Taylor being a good sport about the night’s events.
Some time after this occurrence, the Clubhouse community guidelines were changed so that calling out another Clubhouse user by name was forbidden. I’m not actually sure if this change came about because of my room, but I’d like to think it at least played a small part.
Swexit house also came out on top, as they were given permission by Taylor to use one of her quotes, which was something to the effect of ‘I was like wtf I didn’t even know what was happening haha.’
All in all, this bit of mischief went swimmingly and is one of my more fond Clubhouse memories. The burgeoning creator ecosystem got a pretty solid endorsement, I escaped a New York Times hitpiece, and Clubhouse got a night of solid entertainment.