When #tuttle was attracting a crowd of about 80 people every week at the ICA, the old-school networking entrepreneurs came a-sniffing. “How can you do this?” they asked. “You’re supposed to keep people out, that’s how you make people want to join, then when you’ve created sufficient demand, people will be eager to pay to get in, but still you keep it exclusive and the demand and the prices grow and grow.” And I just said “I don’t know. I can’t be bothered with all that. If people want to come, let them.” And they continued to make a living at it and I didn’t make a bean. And I’m happy with that.
On the other hand, there were people who came and said “Oh, I know how to get you more people here. You should be having speakers and a theme every week and have a website so that people can join in online.” And I said “No. That’s not what I’m interesed in, thank you. If people want to come who can’t come, then they can start their own.” If I was feeling polite.
I’m still attracted to the idea of a club that’s just as big as it needs to be. It’s not for everyone and it’s not trying to be. But it’s also not keeping anyone out if they want to be a part of it as long as we’ve got space in the room. And if we don’t have enough space, perhaps we need a bigger room or another branch.
I’m thinking about this because I’ve been looking at ello which seems to want to be Facebook, but nicer, without the ads, but with no clear sense of what’s going to support mass participation other than ads and avoiding the question of how the current investors are going to make their money. There was quite a kerfuffle when it arrived, because we do seem to want something other than Facebook and Twitter and the rest, but this really doesn’t seem to be it.
And then along comes tilde.club which feels much closer to #tuttle territory. It’s not meant to be a social network. It’s just a server with a bunch of user accounts, like the account I had at University until 1996. Many of the users are re-creating that early web vibe, but others are just using it for writing again and the social aspects of simply writing and linking to other people’s writing are being explored and rediscovered. All just on one server. And only restricted because there’s only so many people you can support. If you want to do your own, then you can do your own.
When I suggested we call the London Social Media Cafe “The Tuttle Club” there were a few people who bristled at the word “Club” but I think it’s what I want. A club that has me in it. And my friends. And some people that I don’t know yet, but might find interesting to talk to.
So I bought the tuttle.club domain name. And it’s making me think.