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 (now closed) 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 – (Now closed) 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.
Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another… Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:25, 29
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.
I have very mixed feelings on FB, and am not quite sure what I want to do on it. In part, I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to, but at the same time, I have the same frustrations you have with it.
I’m in a rather pleasant bubble of Twitter, so I don’t see most of the ick from it, but it’s still rather questionable.
I think a lot of people who still use Facebook have very mixed feelings about it. I believe the fact that people feel that they must keep it even when they don’t like it is really telling about the insidious nature of it and how it has captured the lives of so many.
I still pop on a few Twitter accounts to check for news tips. That place is a ghost town from what I can see. Crazy.
Good to hear from you!
You know I considered leaving Facebook myself. I decided to stay, and even decided to start using Instagram more. But what it came down to for me was this: formerly, I used FB and IG for a mixed bag of reasons, but after my consideration period, I decided to use them *just* for business. I have a great FB group for Tea and Ink Society that serves my readers well. I’m part of the AdThrive FB group which is invaluable for all the blogging/business questions, and I’m in a couple of groups for subscription box owners (since I started that business venture!). Also a local healthy moms group. But I don’t use Facebook to share my life (outside of these business-related things). I don’t post pics of my kids, share my goals/frustrations/plans/musings. I don’t like Facebook for those things. I don’t trust Facebook for those things. I’m planning on taking up journaling again, and that’s where those things will go. Sure, the audience will be smaller, but the breathing room is much bigger(:
It sounds like you found a good solution for your situation. I agree that I would not trust Facebook for those things. Of course I’m typing this on a website where I give up many of the same details about my life so I’m not sure at this point it makes much of a difference. LOL!
I have been thinking about journaling as well. I stopped many years ago. I do keep a daily gratitude journal for myself, but most of the entries are so short that they really don’t capture much. It’s more a practical exercise of choosing to focus on the good each night before I go to bed.
Good to hear from you!
I’m still on Facebook but I always limited my number of friends so there isn’t much of a problem there. So far! I was never on Twitter. However, more and more people I admire have had their YouTube accounts threatened. Many ministries have started using their website or developed an app for their videos.
Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram for reasons other than when they changed their algorithm (which is loony). I love beautiful photos, especially of scenery. However, many, many favorite authors and online friends shocked me at their hatred of Trump and many voted for Biden. I ended up unfollowing a lot of people, some I had known for a long time. If they didn’t have any more discernment than that, I could no longer respect them. The election did divide the wheat and the chaff I think.
It’s good to see you! The YouTube thing is a real issue. I think in the end it will be for the best. The decentralization of video is much to be preferred than one company controlling almost all of it. It does make it more difficult to find new channels, but healthier in the long run. Hopefully the next few years will see a handful rise to the top and it will be easier to settle into finding interesting people in better places.
I hear you on the issues regarding the election. One of the most distressing things for me was Christians repeatedly sharing lies that had been debunked over and over again. If they don’t like him, fine. But spreading blatant lies crossed a line for me. It was really eye-opening to see how people can be swayed to openly hate someone based on a false narrative.
I think we’re seeing a lot of wheat and chaff sifting right now.
Hugs to you and say hi to your hubby for me!
I’m off of the social media train for the moment. Actually for the past 9 months. Things are wonderfully and measurably less stressful. I do still read blogs, and I watch some content on Rumble, but that’s about it. I honestly can’t see myself returning, even on conservative social media platforms. It seems, even from your assessments of the “new kids on the block” that there is no reason to believe that these new ones won’t turn coat at the drop of the hat. I am really enjoying the freedom of not sharing my personal information or any aspect of my private life with the cyber world. I don’t see it in a clearly delineated “this platform is good/this platform is bad” sort of way. People are people, and we’re all capable of going against what we profess to believe to make a buck. I know I’m showing my age, but I’ve seen it happen too many times. As, for making a difference for the better, I’m sorry, I find it hard to see that.