A few years ago I quit Facebook and then subsequently deleted my rarely used Twitter and never used Instagram accounts. My motives were two. One, I thought they were dangerous companies who were doing real damage to our culture. Two, I thought that social media was doing real damage to me. I wrote about those thoughts extensively which you can see in posts tagged with Quitting Facebook and Social Media.
Over the past six months or so I’ve had the opportunity to try again with social media. What made it different this time is that I utilized platforms that were not controlled by Leftists. Instead, I used platforms that were either explicitly pro-free speech or they were not actively censoring conservative views. As I mentioned to someone this week, it’s been a very good experience to re-engage with social media from a different perspective. This time I’ve been able to simply interact and observe social media for itself as a tool of communication and interaction without that additional negative layer of censorship and control over it.
The platforms I’ve been experimenting with included:
More on those in a moment.
I also started a private group on Locals (Christian Women Seeking Truth). It is very much like social media in terms of how it is set up. It has an app, a feed, etc. I chose that particular membership platform over others (Patreon, etc.) because I trusted the man who owns the company (Dave Rubin) as someone who is committed to free speech. I was not concerned I would lose my group over First Amendment issues.
It has honestly been an interesting experience to navigate these different platforms after having left social media in the past. I think the use of social media is a significant issue for people who wish to live a simple life and follow Christ. Before I explain how using social media again impacted me, let me give you a summary of where I am with each platform.
MeWe – I had this account for a few years, but rarely used it since I simply wasn’t all that interested in social media. I gave it a go again recently, but when it was revealed that the owner did not support the First Amendment and was shutting down conservative and pro-Trump groups, I deleted my account. By that point I had discovered Gab (which I vastly preferred). That made the choice fairly easy since I have no desire to manage many social media accounts.
Parler – I had an account, mostly out of a desire to support a Twitter alternative that didn’t censor Conservatives. I used it for a bit before Amazon, Apple, and Google maliciously nuked the platform. I never liked the Parler interface, especially the font. When it was shut down, I didn’t feel any great loss. I don’t expect the platform to survive because the owners have capitulated on the First Amendment and have made some moves that seem rather shady. In the process, they alienated many Conservatives who were using it who will never go back. I still have an account, but plan to delete it when I get the chance.
Gab – I really like Gab. I like the interface. I love that there is free speech. There is no algorithm either so whichever people or groups you follow, you see them in your feed in real time – the way it should be. There are no ads since it is user supported. It’s also been fascinating to use the platform while watching the media trying to discredit it and the founder. I’m on there every day. I know what the platform is like and it isn’t anything like the media is trying to paint it. I want Gab to succeed enough that I paid for a full year of Pro membership. I plan to continue using Gab for sourcing current event information and sharing my own content on my own timeline and in a few groups (such as homeschooling groups) in order to bring more people to my website. I played with the idea of starting a Relaxed Homeschooling group on there and changed my mind. (My Gab profile.)
Telegram – Telegram is more of an instant messaging app than it is social media, but I really like it. I downloaded it when President Trump was removed from Twitter and many accounts I used to source information that were also being deleted moved to Telegram. I use it to quickly source news and keep in touch with a few family members and friends. I follow a limited number of accounts so it isn’t overwhelming, but actually enjoyable and fun. I don’t participate in any group conversations on the app. I’ve watched people start to use it for ministry and have wondered if the Lord would have me use it in some way. I have no ideas about that right now, but I can see how it can be incredibly powerful. It is a free speech platform as well. Hopefully it stays that way.
Locals – I have a love-hate relationship with Locals. It has nothing to do with the company. I think there is room for improvement with the app and platform itself, but I would expect that with any new platform. No, my love-hate is that it is so easy to use but it is so horrible for keeping information organized. This is one of the things I disliked about Facebook groups and pages. It’s so incredibly awful for information. Facebook is about keeping people tethered to an app, constantly adding more information for interaction. Locals is different in that there is no algorithm, but it still has that same scrolling and accessing format which I really do not enjoy. After five months of using Locals, I’m at the point where I need to either make a commitment to keep using it or leave. It does provide me with a very small (but helpful) monthly income from the membership. However, given the amount of time I put into the group I’m literally making probably $2/hour. I have been seriously considering for the past week or so the idea of moving it back to my own forums.
So that’s where I am with the different types of conservative and free speech social media I’ve been experimenting with. I plan on keeping Gab and Telegram since they serve a very useful purpose. I don’t really use them in a social way, but more for information. I don’t find them stressful because there is no censorship. I also am not interested in chatting with people on them so they aren’t a time suck for me. I’m not sent friend requests on Gab and I’m so thankful for that. I found that aspect of navigating Facebook really stressful. I do not miss that at all. I’m thankful that isn’t a part of the Gab culture.
Being on more conservative free speech platforms has confirmed something for me. I truly don’t understand how people – especially Christians and Conservatives – can use social media that constantly censors what they are viewing and posting. The overlays, disclaimers, fact checking, blocking, etc. is absolutely Orwellian. I am truly astonished that people continue to use platforms that lie to your face when you post something you know is factually and demonstrably true and they “fact check” it as false. It’s a form of psychological warfare. Truly. I am thankful there are social media platform alternatives now that don’t do that.
I also think it is very concerning that people constantly self-censor on these Leftist platforms out of fear. This came up quite a bit at first on Gab when there was a huge influx of new users. It’s such a mental shift for people accustomed to Facebook’s constant censorship. Twitter refugees also mentioned on Gab how strange it is to be free to say what you think and not be afraid that you will be penalized or lose your account. It’s not healthy for the individual and it’s not healthy for the culture for people to live this way. I do believe using social media platforms run by the Left are incredibly damaging. I wish more Conservatives and Christians would realize this and leave.
Mike Lindell (Mr. Pillow) is launching a social media platform in the next month or so that he says will be a combination of YouTube and Twitter. If he can scale up something to effectively battle YouTube, the entire online world will change. I’ve watched so many people lose their channels, get put on a strike for a week, etc. over the past several months. (I deleted my YouTube channel several weeks ago and avoid YouTube as much as possible now due to their rampant censorship.) A large video service that offers the ability to livestream that can rival or hopefully replace YouTube is what is desperately needed. So many platforms are trying, but they don’t have the capital to scale up enough to grow exponentially and offer the very important livestreaming ability. Hopefully Lindell’s platform will allow for that out of the box.
So after a few years of being off social media and with some trial and error, I’ve found a couple of social media platforms that work for me. Because they align with my values, they are enjoyable to use. How are you using or avoiding social media right now? I hope you’ll leave a comment and share your thoughts.