I’m sure you’ve seen or heard the rallying cries; “I hope everyone’s moving their platforms over to MeWe!” or “Get started up on Minds while you still can!” “Facebook and Twitter are cracking down, it’s only the beginning, if you were smart you’d abandon the mainstream social networks and get on alternative social networks.”
These are great ideas, I agree. However, I don’t think they’re great ideas for the same reason that everyone else seems to think they’re great ideas. These alternative networks seem to be well and good for avoiding the shame that comes with getting smacked down by the unforgiving hand of Zuck, getting on these platforms now makes you an early adopter, and that can come with its benefits. It will give you more to do that you won’t get paid for, and if the platform ends up catching on in the future, it’s nice to be an early adopter with a big audience (especially if you run an online publication looking to spread awareness to spur growth.)
Advocating that everyone jumps off Twitter and Facebook ignores a key reason that most people are on Twitter and Facebook: Everyone else is on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, things are easier in discourse and debate when I don’t have to deal with people that have different opinions than my own. That is also not real life. In real life, being a libertarian is a constant battle against people who just don’t agree with your opinions or ideas. It gets us battle hardened in the arena of ideas. It makes us question and refine our own positions, and that’s a good thing.
I don’t think any libertarian is going to tell you that convincing people that libertarian ideas are the way to go is the easiest thing in the world to do. At the same time, I don’t think there’s many libertarians out there that aren’t trying to actively share libertarian ideas with people who aren’t libertarians. Many of these outlets are all doing the same thing: Making memes, or creating content (usually through a website or an RSS feed, or Youtube channel, etc), and then sharing the content outward in hopes to get non-libertarians to notice.
Let’s say that this worked, and every libertarian made the move over to alternative social network platforms. Is this *really* what we want? A libertarian-only online space where we can sit around repeating how taxation is theft and good ideas don’t require force, while other like-minded libertarians pat us on the back for saying things that every libertarian has already heard 50 times?
There have been knocks on the liberty movement, knocks that often describe the movement as an echo chamber of people who just hate roads. That really isn’t the case (the echo-chamber part, we *do* in fact hate roads.) All of the libertarian pages that I’m aware of, are all engaged in pushing content in hopes of it being seen by “normies.” I know that’s our goal with Think Liberty, and always has been. The whole “it’s just a right-wing white male echo chamber” narrative really doesn’t hold water. Just go to the posts from pages like Being Libertarian, or Think Liberty, there are people there constantly arguing about the libertarian positions being presented. Those arguments, are exactly what the pages are hoping to generate with their content.
Those arguments, and that outreach is also exactly what will be missing if this great migration to third party platforms (and boycotting of popular social media networks who are actively censoring content) goes to plan as some assume. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and jump on Gab. What is it? An echo chamber. You can tell quite obviously that Gab is turning into a place that people have decided to go because Twitter isn’t a fan of racist or hateful content. This is clearly evidenced in the sheer ratio of hateful/racist content. If you can jump on Gab and go 10 minutes without reading about “dindo’s” or (((them))) – then you are certainly catching the alternative social network on a good day. The small handful of times I’ve tried to spend any amount of time on that platform, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d just walked into a digital Klan meeting.
So, what’s the answer? Learn what is getting people or pages nuked by the popular social media networks, and if you have any desire to continue pushing your message, and spreading your ideas, you have to find out what people are doing that is getting their pages taken down, and try to figure out how to not do those things while also not sacrificing the integrity of your message. I’m not saying everyone needs to go and just cuck-the-fuck-out to appease lord Zuck, but they do have things they look for, and there are ways we can make sure we’re avoiding some of these practices that kick up red flags. For example: Having sock accounts connected to your pages as admins (that was something that made FB look critically at certain pages.)
Is it rad to be powerless to the actions of Zuck and company? No, no it’s not. But until everyone and their grandparents decide to go somewhere else, these popular social networking sites are where the audiences we want to reach are. And if you’re in the business of trying to perform successful outreach to new audiences, it’s probably best you try to make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your brand where those audiences spend their time.
You can read more from Vinny Marshall on Think Liberty here.