Writer's Cafe in Spatial Chat

An always-on place to write with others
March 31, 2021

Another Write of Passage cohort is coming to an end. It's that time where everyone is scrambling to find a writing group to keep consistent over the months ahead. I've kept up with a Zoom writing group since August last year, and it's been the single most important thing to stay on the wagon.

As valuable as these private groups can be, it's easy for them to fizzle out, and sometimes hard to find a new one. I'm inviting writing groups to meet up within my public Spatial Chat "venue" instead of a private Zoom link.


Why Spatial Chat?

1. Persistent Link // Bulletin Board

The link above is persistent and live 24/7. Anyone can pop in for a "spatial" video call. You can move around the screen, and have conversations with the people near to you. You can even embed media or share your screen. It's like a digital venue with the front door open. It's a bit of an experiment, and I'm excited to see where it goes. (Please, let me know if you want to throw a rager)

The initial use case of this experiment is to create a single home for multiple writing groups. It will change the paradigm from a "private study group" to a "24/7 writer's cafe on the Internet."

A single public link can act as a beacon for anyone looking to get into a consistent writing routine with others.

In the lobby of this venue will be a "bulletin board" that lists the meeting times of all of the active groups. If your group fizzles, you can return here to glimpse at all the active groups and their meeting times. A public venue like this combats the fragility of small private study groups.

2. Drop-In // Spatial Audio // Organic Breakouts


The experience of writing in here will resemble that of an in-person cafe.

Maybe you show up with some friends, or maybe you go alone.

Maybe you approach an existing group, or maybe a stranger approaches your group.

Writing within a private group generally means a consistent set of people. But a public cafe means that new faces will cycle in and out of core groups. If a group gets too big on Zoom, it can get overwhelming. But Spatial Chat gives a group the ability to organically divide into smaller sub-groups on the spot.

Spatial Chat's novelty is in "spatial audio."

You're video feed is an "avatar" that has the ability to move around the screen. Spatial audio means that you only hear the people within your proximity. This means within a 50 person event, you can step to the side and have a 1:1 conversation, while still having visibility of the whole venue.

There is no divide between the "main room" and the "break-out rooms." Within a single space, you and others can position yourselves to have a "local" conversation within a global event.

It's like Clubhouse, but the audience is unmuted, unchained, and socializing at a happy hour.

If no one shows up to your 8:00 am writing session, you can pop into a 2:00 pm session and work with a new group of writers for that day. Maybe there are two groups running at the same time on different sides of the venue. Or maybe a group has around 12 people on average, and each day, they break into random pods of 3, depending on their goals.

A public link like this severs the boundaries between "my group" and "your group." It creates an opportunity for everyone to have visibility into a community, with the flexibility to discover a writing squad and format that feels right.


3. Venue Design // Emergent Use Cases

Within our public venue, we have the ability to host multiple rooms. Admins have the ability to set the parameters for each room.

One room can have microphones disabled, which will cut out any background noise or chaos. (Imagine being able to mute the music and background chatter at a public cafe).

Another room can enable images, which could result in this organic collage of people posting memes, essays, and YouTube videos. CHAOS.

We can host a "stage" room, which let's up to 250 people watch-in on a conversation between speakers. Maybe 75% are watching the event, but some people linger in the "hallway" for real-talk.

There's no way to know how a community might grow and evolve with a technology like this. We're one of the first to try it. I've been using this platform for private corporate events, but I want to see what happens if we unleash it to creative people on the Internet. We have the tools to design a digital venue based on whatever emerges.

If you're looking to start a daily or weekly writing group, let me know how you'd like to format it, and I can build out a room for you!