I hand-assemble ephemeral quartets of compatible people. For one-hour video chats.
A little background.
I’ve been sending potential friends out to eat, for the pure fun of it, since the mid-Eighties.
Connecting potential friends is a passion I inherited, probably genetically, from my mom.
Read more about my mom's influence.
It’s hard to overstate my mom’s influence on my friend connecting.
She spent her whole life sprouting, fertilizing, and pondering friendships.
She’d also hold frequent, reliably over-the-top friend-connecting parties, complete with presents for attendees.
Now, with COVID-19, I’m switching to connecting folks online.
How it works.
Each morning I text all Cloud Klatch members two things:
- A conversation starter — an article, video, tweet, meme, photo, news story, Instagram post, aphorism, podcast episode, word cloud — you name it.
- A set of time slots for that evening.
Interested and available members sign up for a time slot.
Then I go through the list of members available during each time slot and put together compatible groups of four, taking special care to reunite members I know have already met AND hit it off.
There aren’t any.
Some members participate in these conversations every day, like clockwork. Some participate sporadically, every few weeks. It’s up to them.
Folks I invite to become members can participate in two video chats, for free. After that, membership is $28 per month.
Wanna hang out online with people you'll like?
Frequently asked questions.
How is this different from the rest of the social Internet?
The people. Full stop.
Every conversation is between four hand-picked, hand-matched people. You’ll be surprised by just how much you like the folks you meet.
How many members do you have?
As of this morning, 312.
What are the criteria for membership?
The goal is to connect folks who’ll resonate. So, when someone new shows interest in Cloud Klatch, the question I ask myself is:
“Will this person resonate with enough of the existing members to guarantee they can participate in our groups as often as desired?”
If my answer is ‘yes’, they’re in.
Is there any science to the vetting process?
None. It’s 100% subjective and unscientific.
What problem are you trying to solve?
The vast majority of us don’t try (nor succeed in) using the Internet to meet people we’d resonate with.
They’re out there, of course, just a few keystrokes away, but…
- Meeting folks online seems like something only nerds and extreme extroverts would enjoy. To the rest of us, it feels odd.
- There’s no tool or app that allows you to meet resonant folks quickly and easily. It still takes concerted time and effort.
- There’s a non-trivial amount of danger in putting yourself out there. Though they are in the minority, weirdos, narcissists, and sociopaths are all over the Internet. If we reveal our true selves — our ideas, feelings, associations, names — online, there’s no way to unreveal them.
Why isn’t membership free?
Like everyone, I have limited personal bandwidth. For this to continue to grow, I have to have a professional staff to help me. And I am not comfortable covering payroll by advertising or selling user data.
Who are you / what do you do for a living?
It's a bit like Reddit, no?
Indeed, with a few key differences:
- You’ll be comfortable around the people you meet.
- Conversations are ephemeral. They are not recorded.
- It takes place over video chat.
- Each time you decide to participate, it’s a finite, one-hour commitment.
What time during the day do groups meet?
Typcially in the evenings, Pacific Time to Eastern Time.
Why don't groups meet regularly?
That’s not a bad idea.
However, I don’t want to make work for the members or interfere with anything else going on their lives.
Assembling groups that are meant to meet regularly would put pressure on the participants to say ‘no’ to other things so they can say ‘yes’ to talking with their group.
I don’t want to impose that kind of obligation. Especially in this crazy era we’re living through.
Can I just meet folks in my city?
That’ll be an option down the road, so you can get together with other members in person. But, for now, during the COVID-19 crisis, I’m just mixing people up, geography be damned.
Why do the conversations last an hour?
It seems to be the goldilocks duration that works for most of our members.
How often will I get invites?
Daily, most likely.
Can I limit the number of invites?
Of course. Happy to limit the invite frequency to whatever maximum interval works for you.
Are invites always same-day?
Yes, for now.
This way members don’t have to do any advanced planning. They’re interested and available or they’re not.
Also, same-day invites allow the members to discuss current events while they’re still current.
Can I send someone your way?
Why groups of four?
- More than half of our members are introverts. They don’t want to talk in big groups.
- Four is really the most people who can carry on a single conversation without it starting to feel like a roundtable discussion.
- There are six potential two-person friendships in a group of four. Any more people and it becomes really hard for me to put fully compatible groups together.
What tool do you use for video chat?
Can I avoid discussing COVID-19?
The best thing to do, if you’re not up for discussing COVID-19, is to let your fellow group members know, at the beginning of your video chat.