I’ve stopped using Facebook for some years, and I consciously avoid using other social media to prevent myself get hooked on the addiction of dopamine hit. This also help me to use my time more wisely on things that really matter.
About one month ago, I was introduced an app called Clubhouse by a friend. I heard it before, but at that time it was joining by invitation, and to me it’s just another social media so I wasn’t interested to give it a try. But this time, the friend told me that it’s a great platform to practice English, since there are many native speakers open rooms to chat with people all around the world, and some of them even provide useful information for further English learning. Because of that, I finally decided to give it a shot.
So, like most of the social medias, users are required to create a bio so people can know you better simply by clicking your photo. Then the adventure starts whenever I enter to the rooms titled “English", “English Practice", “English Conversation", and so on. I was like an avaricious reader in a giant library, trying to grab every books that I found interesting. (meaning, trying to join every club that’s related to practicing English.)
Then, after two weeks, after joining to some certain rooms on a daily basis, after chatting with some certain people on and off, something that’s similar to “friendships" formed. Slowly, I found myself trying to arranging my timetable around the rooms schedules so I can be up there with people that I feel familiar and safe to chat with. But the truth is, I barely know them, other than the words on their bio, the photos that normally are not showing the real faces, and the voices they uttered. And that also led me to alter my sleeping schedules a little bit, in order to join some rooms that normally open at late night in my time zone, but day time in other time zones.
Occasionally, people would ask for one on one talk, usually after some messages back and forth. That’s where I feel that Clubhouse is a bit dangerous than other social medias, like Facebook or IG. Because emotions can be expressed by voices, and that provides the room for developing the sense of intimacy. Plus the exchange of opinions and ideas, the conversations don’t always stick on the initial intention of “practicing English". It’s like building the relationships on the phone, without seeing each other. And to me it’s not a good sign, especially if all I want for using this platform is just for practicing English, but the one at the other end wants more than that.
I’m happy that I am sensitive enough to aware of this situation, and would like to proactively harness myself on using this app too often. There are indeed so many people up there from every corner of the world who are dying to level up their English speaking skills for all kinds of reasons, and to them, whenever it’s possible to talk to someone who’s an English native speaker or close to English native speakers, they will try their best to grab the chances and talk to them. I understand that, because I am one of them, but there’s potential dangers in it, and I believe we’ll need to be very careful.
“Do not give the devil a foothold." (Ephesians 4:27)