Arguments against switching your social media usage from Twitter to Gab are a flaccid mix of the sunk cost fallacy and justifying inertia.
Lamenting the loss of integrity of social media is a waste of time.
The other night on Halsey Live I was sparring with my colleague, Stefanie MacWilliams, over the value of Gab, the now-controversial alternative to Twitter. She made two points, both of which highlighted why I feel we are losing our way in the Culture War against creeping cultural Marxism.
The first point she made was the danger over splitting the social media sphere into ‘right-wing’ (Gab) and ‘left-wing’ (Twitter) social media. Each would become their own echo chambers. Stef’s frustration over Gab and its early adherents stemmed from some of them calling her out for not being ideologically pure enough.
And, fair enough, it sucks to be attacked from what you feel is ‘your tribe.’ But, those same Right Wing SJWs as Stef appropriately terms them, should not define what a social media platform is or what it’s purpose is.
Speaking Freely is Dangerous
And it was Stef’s feeling that Gab hadn’t done enough to distance themselves from the Andrew Anglins and the Richard Spensers of the world to attract a wide-enough audience making it worth her time.
But, that’s not Gab’s responsibility. And by making that argument she is actually making Twitter’s argument for shadow-banning, censoring and cancelling the accounts of those its leadership disagrees with.
You can’t make the world safe. All you can do is limit how you interact with it. In any event, only those across the political spectrum craving a better platform will migrate to Gab anyway and 1) they will drown out the morons and 2) will engage in thoughtful debate in the first place.
It sucks that we have to defend and share space with the Andrew Anglin’s of the world, but that’s the price we pay for the kind of freedom of association and expression we advocate.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
Gab’s CEO Andrew Torba has made it clear that all are welcome all the time. But, Gab is only going to police that content that is illegal, something Twitter and YouTube do not do.
Make posts calling to kill someone on Gab they will take the post down and report you to the police.
Be a Salafist Head-Chopper on Twitter, continue to enjoy freedom of speech you don’t have in your own country, ie. Saudi Arabia.
There’s No Avoiding Twitter Jail
The hypocrisy is blatant. And it should be infuriating to anyone who values intellectual and emotional honesty. And toughing it out on a platform that is actively looking to keep you from finding your maximum audience as a content producer is not only insane it is counter-productive.
Because the minute you are a big enough voice to have a real effect on the conversation they can and WILL take that away from you in a heartbeat.
And then what do you have? Nothing.
This is the ‘Sunk Cost’ economic fallacy of throwing more time and capital at a project that is failing simply because you’ve sunk previous time and capital into it.
A good analogy is continuing boarding up your house in the face of a hurricane strong enough to rip it up from the foundation. Another sheet of 3/4″ plywood is not going to stop the walls from caving in to 185 MPH winds.
In fact, it will help the process.
Another is the War on Terror, but I digress.
So, it’s imperative that as a conservative/libertarian/contrarian you build a social media presence that is multi-faceted. Use Twitter but don’t rely on it. Use YouTube, but expect to be banned.
Limit your time on them and divert some time to other platforms, building a reputation and a following there. Download and cross-post your videos on other platforms.
As a leader, and Stef is now a leader with nearly 11,000 followers, encourage them to move to Gab. Only 5% will do so.
After that, only a handful of those will actually begin using the platform. But, 20-50 active followers on Gab is a big audience. And relatively-speaking, it’s all she really has at the moment anyway.
These are also the first 20-50 people who will buy her first book, subscribe to her newsletter or simply throw her $5/month to continue being awesome on Patreon.
Moreover, as a leader, she legitimizes Gab in the eyes of those followers. By complaining about the Right-Wing SJWs she’s reinforcing the image of the Left’s image of Gab. And that’s doing everyone a disservice.
Nothing Grows in Stagnant Ground
The world you create for yourself on the internet is shaped by your habits. Breaking free of those habits and devoting 10% of your time to different platforms is valuable. If your presence there grows, divert more attention to it.
I see little value in micro-blogging platforms as a means of direct communication. I prefer real blogging platforms like this site and Steemit.
I see them as a vehicle to distribute real content, like this blog, my work at Steemit and my paid work to drive awareness and nothing more.
Gab, like Twitter, is a means to an end. It is also a place where I know that I will never be censored or have my time spent there taken away from me because I said some inconvenient truth.
It takes guts to walk away from a platform you’ve been successful on. It take perseverance to migrate off those platforms and take your engaged followers with you. They will resist. Google and Apple are making it difficult to do so.
The lack of a Gab app in the Apple Mobile Store is a real sticking point for people. But, if I’m valuable enough to my followers, they will figure out a way to go with me. And many have. Far more than I figured ever would.
Do I still use Twitter, Periscope and YouTube? Of course. But, I choose my level of interaction. My growth on those platforms is beyond my control now. I’ve gained more Periscope and Twitter followers in the past month by shaking up my routine than I did in the six months before that.
- Going on Periscope outside of my normal times. My regularly scheduled Gold Goats ‘n Guns Hour is now on GabTV, not Periscope.
- Inserting myself and my relevant content into twitter streams of ‘influencers,’ especially ones trying to take credit for my work.
- Creating content here that is picked up by other outlets, like this post.
- Engage, rarely, in a war of words with someone I disagree with.
Incentives Create More than Disincentives
Bad behavior on Social Media 2.0-style platforms is rewarded. Conversing with people who have no skin in the relationship is ripe for anti-social and ugly behavior. Twitter is a cesspool for the most part. But, is it really any different than the comment section of Zerohedge or the Huffington Post?
No. And that’s because reputation really doesn’t matter.
Platforms like Steemit and, soon, Gab actively reward thoughtful content directly through tangible value and don’t reward horrible behavior. No one upvotes a troll on Steemit.
And by having only so much voting power per unit time that voting power is valuable. It creates the positive feedback system of trying to impress the person you are talking with enough that they want to give you a reward for improving their life through your words and thoughts.
This is the way out of the Google/Apple duopoly and it’s why they are so threatened by Gab and the so-called ‘alt-tech.’ As people with something to say refuse to use their systems to say it there first the value of their platforms is lessened. It leaks away to these other platforms.
Content producers can then truly interact directly with their audience. Advertising costs are minimized. The owners of the system can skim the running costs of the network off the reward pool and the system becomes not only self-sustaining but capable of geometric growth.
But it takes guts to move off of platforms designed to make the owners of it rich and give you almost nothing in return. We are the ones producing the things that have value. Not Google. Google provides the platform but that doesn’t entitle them to 95% of the revenue for less than 1% of the work and cost.
That arbitrage is enormous and waiting to be ground into a paste. This is why both Apple and Google have become extensions of the government, to protect their duopoly, like good crony capitalists.
In fact, their network can eventually be completely replaced on the blockchain and those profits distributed to the people who generate them. But it starts with a complete shift in attitude by us to stop using the tools that chain us to their millstone.
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