A new viral app has triggered the next social media arms race. Clubhouse, the app, gives a platform to the intimacy of the human voice by enabling its users to create and host public voice-chat rooms. Tech incumbents are developing their own clones, from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn, Spotify, Slack, and Discourse. As FSU Art BS ’14 Lawrence Weru writes for Slate, “People enjoy the way a real-time audio chat room gives their voice a platform. But as social media moves towards real-time voice, [he worries] that the millions of Americans who are like Joe Biden and Elon Musk will be silenced.”
Millions of Americans have a speech, language, or voice disorder. In his story, Weru illustrates the struggles that people with speech impairments experience as tech continues its progression towards spoken media without design considerations for users with speech impairments. Senior managers at Amazon Alexa and Google have shared his story, and it has been translated to Japanese and featured by Gizmodo Japan.
Larry Weru is a 2020 Notable ‘Nole and recently completed a postgraduate certificate in Media and Medicine at Harvard Medical School.