I thought I would share my initial impressions of Truth Social compared to Telegram and Gab now that Truth Social has fully launched for Americans.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with my thoughts on social media, I quit Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter long ago and never really liked any of them for different reasons. I’ve written quite a few posts about quitting social media. But I have tried out a number of more “conservative” social media sites and have written about what I learned from going back on conservative social media.
Right now, Truth Social has basic functions and the content is almost all about elections, politics, etc. It feels like a prettier version of Twitter. I never liked Twitter so Truth Social will have to significantly change and add more features for me to want to be on it.
The lack of a “Save” function on Truth Social is a deal breaker at this point. I constantly use the private “Save” option on Telegram.
I’m adding a little non-political content to Truth Social, but have zero interest in engaging in discussions on there. (I felt the same way about Twitter.) Yesterday I actually unfollowed all the political accounts I was following (including Dan Scavino – gasp!). At this point, I can basically get the same info on Telegram (and Gab) since most of the helpful people are still posting on both. If a bunch of them leave Telegram for only Truth Social, then that would be significant and I might have to rethink things.
Overall, Truth Social is a work in progress, but if it’s going to be primarily politics and elections, then I’m not interested unless forced.
I joined Telegram after the January 2021 Twitter purge since it seemed like a good place to keep up with happenings. It’s been great for that. It’s also great for quick updates and privately saving info for future reference. I started a channel for sharing current events information and embedded it on my website. I also have another channel for home and family type themes. The ability to embed a widget is a great feature. It’s unfortunate Gab doesn’t have a widget option like this. I imagine Truth Social will eventually since Twitter has one.
Telegram also has private messaging which I do use and appreciate.
The negatives? They are shadow banning channels. Mine do not grow and at this point it’s not believable. There is also a huge bot problem so the ability to have conversations is poor. I mean, the functionality is there but it’s basically not functional without moderators to deal with the endless stream of bots. I don’t have time for that so I’ve never started a chat for my Telegram channels.
I thought I would give up Telegram once Truth Social started, but not at this point. Telegram is more useful to me right now even with its negatives.
I like Gab and have paid for a PRO membership twice. The functionality has come a LONG way and offers so many features. I had hoped the monetization options would be further along by now, but that’s fine. Things take time and I understand that, especially when you are building something that is pay-as-you-go and not funded by billionaires.
I enjoy the fact that there are many topics on Gab. I can always find something interesting to read. Seriously. I could spend a lot of time on Gab every day just reading if I wanted to do so. There aren’t a lot of conversations compared to other platforms (like Facebook groups), but there’s always interesting content.
The negatives? I think some of the content in the Explore feed will scare people off if they are stopping by Gab to check it out. I think the platform would grow much more quickly if there was a greater variety of content in the Explore feed. There are some topics that never make it into the Explore feed so it looks like the same types of things day after day (politics, covid, government corruption, race, elections, etc.).
What concerns me the most is I observe things that potentially undermine the platform in terms of its long-term viability. This is partially by people who want to see it gone. There is ZERO doubt in my mind that there are lots of traps being set by a variety of people and groups. (I’ll leave it at that.) Early on I found groups and accounts that all had roughly the same number of followers and the numbers never really grew. (I know because I kept track of several over a few months.) It looked as though people had set up a variety of groups and pages all closely related to certain controversial themes, but with different approaches to draw in different people (men, women, hobbies, locations, etc.). I think a lot of the most controversial content is put there by people trying to make trouble and take down Gab for hate crimes type things. Not all, but a fair amount. (I’ve also observed some similar things on Telegram where certain accounts seem like traps.)
But, more importantly, I’m also concerned the platform is being undermined by prominent Christians on there who can’t seem to find a way to take a stand for Christ and the truth without being unnecessarily offensive. The Gospel is offensive. I realize that. But I’d like to see greater discernment among those who proclaim Christ and have a significant reach and high profile on there. I think it turns people off unnecessarily and drives them away. I know this because I’ve seen discussions about it in other places. It really does turn people off, especially the constant Trump bashing by some prominent accounts which is frequently mentioned in these conversations.
I also wonder if Gab grew in popularity because it is a staunchly free speech platform and so people flocked to it when free speech was being suppressed elsewhere. Now it is time to see how many people will stay when other options such as Truth Social open up. Truth Social doesn’t claim to be a free speech platform like Gab does (and is), but it might be free speech enough to siphon people off of Gab permanently. They really are completely different types of platforms at this point so in some way it is comparing apples and oranges. But both appeal to people who are staunchly free speech to varying degrees. Only time will tell if people saw Gab as a short term stop-gap measure or something people want to invest their time in long-term.
All of it frankly makes me hesitant to rely on Gab long-term if I’m perfectly honest. This matters to me because I have used Gab TV for my videos which I embed here on my site (among other things).
This post is another example. It was much shorter and I put it up as a post on Gab this morning. I realized after a few minutes that this was too much content to just put on Gab where it will be in my Gab feed for a few hours and then buried in a week. So I deleted what I had written on there, move it here, expanded it greatly, and am now publishing it here as a post. It makes far more sense.
So as much as I think Gab has a lot going for it and is by far the best of the three, I find myself hesitating to put a lot of effort into Gab because I’m concerned how long it will last. Not so much because another platform such as Truth Social will defeat it as much as Gab will defeat itself.
So those are my thoughts. If you are using any of these platforms, what has your experience been so far?