2016/02/27

Earth vs. Twitter: This Time It's Personal

Twitter jail

Twitter's suppression of conservative and libertarian users has incited an exodus of high profile figures from the embattled social network. It's been rightly said that Twitter, as a private sector corporation, is free to ostracize any user demographic it wants. Targeted users are just as free to leave the platform.

While I understand and support the recent defections from Twitter, there's a side to this controversy that's been lost in the shuffle.


When elephants fight, the grass suffers
The big names whose exit has garnered the most attention have big web sites, major publishers, and hit TV shows for which Twitter is just one marketing channel. Yet their thousands of followers don't.

One defining feature of any social network is the ability to connect like-minded people. As in the real world, building relationships online with leaders in your field is vital to success. Particularly in the arts, where visibility makes the difference between life and death, signal boosts from people higher up the ladder are indispensable.

Twitter knows this. You can also be sure they know how the old media stacks the deck against dissenters from the narrative.

Author Nick Cole recently spoke to Geek Gab about his banishment from Harper Collins. He already knew that big publishing was biased against anyone who doesn't share the NY elite worldview. Still, he worked with them based on the assumption that they were whores. To his (short term) cost, he found out that they're actually fanatics.


Twitter is actively de-platforming dissenters
Almost every institution in the Western world has been seized by fanatics who only care about one thing: subverting those institutions into propaganda organs. They can't win an open debate on an even playing field, so they focus their efforts on kicking their opposition off of the platform.

If you're inclined to question how well this de-platforming works, take a look at Washington, D.C., the EU, corporate America, academia, Hollywood, and traditional SF publishing. Social networks are just following their lead, with equally grievous offenders Facebook and Goodreads joining Twitter.

It's a familiar story: Twitter makes its user experience miserable for conservatives and social libertarians. Being individualists, many of the targeted users leave. Exiting users with large followings create a vacuum of leadership and support.

Which is exactly what Twitter wants.

Think about it. Group action is collectivists' single greatest advantage. They thrive on isolating dissenters from support; making them feel alone, and swarming them into submission.

And we're all too eager to oblige. Individualism's biggest drawback is its adherents' tendency toward atomization, which leaves them vulnerable to divide and conquer tactics. Smart, inspired individuals can achieve great things, but this enemy's position is hardened against the Lone Ranger approach.

Lone Ranger

Hitting me where I live
This isn't just abstract theory. The last two months have given me direct, personal experience of how Twitter's thought policing is fucking things up for the little guy. Here's a recap.
Just to give you an insight on how Twitter's rampant douchebaggery can seriously put the squeeze on small-time operators like myself, each of the incidents above had a direct negative impact on my business.

Twitter chose to devarify Milo five minutes before he was scheduled to join us on the Superversive livestream.

We were luckier with Adam Baldwin, who did appear on Geek Gab before he got fed up with Twitter for good. I was ecstatic when Mr. Baldwin started sharing some of my tweets with his considerable following. That's a massive audience that Twitter's politicking has now effectively cut me off from.

Ditto with the International Lord of Hate, who'd actually followed me just prior to jumping on the same chopper that airlifted Adam Baldwin to freedom from the Twitter swamps.

Disclaimer: Nobody owes me anything. I remain unspeakably grateful to Milo, Adam, Larry, and all of the big fish who've deigned to give me the time of day.

Likewise, I'm not the Twitter police, and it would be a monumental delusion to think that anyone's social media preferences are subject to my approval. For what it's worth anyone with eyes and a working sense of integrity knows that the gross mismanagement on display amply justifies walking out on Twitter's passive-aggressive bullshit.

Meanwhile, me and many others who are left behind will keep sending out proverbial tweets in bottles while hoping that our blogs eventually get big enough to replace Twitter as a means of reaching readers.

Or some of those ruggedly independent entrepreneurs among the Twitter exodus could get together and create the truly open alternative social network that the thought police have unwittingly created a massive demand for.

Your once and future followers would really dig it.

2 comments:

  1. I think it'll happen. I think a new distributed social network is already being developed, quietly, somewhere out there. I know a lot of *very* bright guys who could probably design such a thing in their sleep. When it shows up I'll jump, no regrets. The people who'll jump with me (and with you, and Adam, and Larry, and all the others) are the people who are most likely to buy our books. What Twitter is doing, ultimately, is concentrating our audience for us. Yeah, we'll lose a year or so, but ultimately it'll all be for the best.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the encouraging words, Jeff. I'm glad we've still got you :)

      I'm inclined to agree with your prediction, and not just out of wishful thinking.

      Twitter has created a huge unserved market that's just waiting for the right people/product to totally dominate it.

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