Every Monday, the WoW! community and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Is There A Solution for Censorship Of Views On The Right By Social Media?
The Razor: Yes my solution is to stop using them completely. I deleted my Facebook page years ago and don’t regret it. Twitter is moronic and masturbatory. All the others have limited utility.
If conservatives publicly left these platforms they would turn into boring echo chambers for the Left – and that’s pretty much what they are today.
So why even bother?
I’ve been playing around with technology since I was a kid. I once thought there wasn’t such a thing as too much technology, but then I tried buying a book on my Kindle and was told that I had already purchased it. Not only had I bought it, I had evidently read it – and I had almost no recall of it whatsoever. That’s when I switched back to buying books. I learned that we have reached a point where technology is like everything else: 95% of anything is crap. We now have to make some conscious choices how we use it, not just stare at our phones and walk blindly into traffic.
At heart I am still a technophile – but there are clear limits. I’ve learned that social media is neither: it’s anti-social and it’s not really media either.
I just got back from Costa Rica, a family vacation at an all-inclusive resort (not the way I usually travel).
The restaurants were filled with people taking pictures of their food and posting them on their FB pages or Instagram feeds.
People were also posting pictures of themselves on the beach or at the pool – likely to their friends and families back home with tags like “Wish you were here.”
It’s a form of bragging – some call it “humble-bragging” – and like all bragging ill mannered.
As a kid growing up in the 1970s I remember how painful it was sitting through the slide shows and 8mm movies taken by friends of the parents.
It was painful then – and it’s still painful now.
We need to stop living in an alternate reality where we are the center of the universe and we think people care what we ate on vacation.
They don’t and we need to stop thinking they do. What this superficial liking and thumbing-up or what-have-you is doing is superficializing our relationships. Instead of meeting our friends face to face and having them ask us about our vacation, we send them pics on Facebook which they “like” for politeness or in the hope that you will do the same to their vacation stills on their next vacation. It’s eroding our communication – and fundamentally our trust, the very foundations of our human relationships.
So there are better reasons to bail on the social media than left-wing bias. If we value our relationships it’s time we put down the damn phones and meet our friends for dinner, or visit the sister we haven’t seen in a few years. That physical interaction is priceless whereas what we have today with social media is about as worth as much as a million likes: absolutely nothing.
Rob Miller: I’ve never used social media for much more than building my traffic and always gave sites like Twitter and Facebook the bare minimum of info they required. I’ve never been the sort of person who wants my entire life online. Lately of course, those particular channels are far less effective, and I spent a bit of time messaging my followers on both channels advising them to directly follow my site, which many of them were doing anyway.
While I’ve discovered other channels and methods to boost traffic, the fact remains that there are very popular web portals that lean Left and promote those views while censoring views on the Right. Even Spotify linked up with the infamous Southern Policy Law Center to target artists with conservative views and vet content for political correctness, although they later reversed themselves, it seems, after serious backlash from subscribers.
Andrew Breitbart (Z”L) famously said that politics is downstream from the culture. As with many other things, he was completely right. While we can boycott platforms that censor views on the Right and who promote Leftist ones, that’s only half the battle. Like it or not social media is an important part of the culture, and one that can’t just be ignored in the battle of ideas. The real trick is to go on offense and beat the Left at their own game. That’s exactly how Breitbart,FOX News and talk radio carved out niches for themselves. There’s no reason the same thing can’t be done with social media, where victory means building better more interesting platforms where free speech is encouraged to compete. One site that is doing exactly that is Gab, a Twitter competitor that allows 140 characters and freedom of speech. They’re relatively new but growing by leaps and bounds as Twitter fades slowly but surely. There’s no reason the Right can’t create their own social media. Gab is doing it.
Dave Schuler: I suppose making assault or battery perpetrated against Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin misdemeanors punishable by a $5 fine is out of the question?
Not using Facebook, Google, etc. is the obvious answer but, sadly, it’s insufficient. It wouldn’t be effective. Starting their own Facebook, Google, etc. is another obvious but inadequate response.
The only thing I can come up with is to make their business model unworkable. “Personally identifiable information” means data that could be used to identify an individual. Make PII the property of the individual whom it’s about. Make it illegal for someone other than the PII’s owner to sell it without the explicit, personalized assent of the owner on a per-incident basis.
Laura Rambeau Lee: The Left considers any conservative viewpoint to be hate speech that must be silenced. They have managed to shut down discussion of any opposing views on our college and university campuses. Students become hysterical and protest anyone who attempts to speak about conservative beliefs and principles. Those working at companies such as Facebook have come out of this collegial environment and fervently believe in the right of free speech – unless they disagree with what the speaker has to say. Progressives have been working for decades within our education system indoctrinating our youth and it is not going to be easy to turn it around. They have all but destroyed our Western cultural traditions and beliefs. They mock family, faith and patriotism. Those of us who are students of history are seeing a repeat of what has happened over and over again, particularly in the last century, as this evil ideology takes hold in our own country. Is there even a possibility for a middle ground where we can work together? I would like to believe so, but the left seems to have taken hold of the Democratic Party and platform. It also appears to have infiltrated the Republican Party as there are very few true fiscal and social conservatives in the party. In addition the unelected bureaucratic elites in government are extremely progressive in their beliefs for the most part and are working towards a more socialist government and egalitarian society. The fact that a majority of our youth today believe socialism is a good thing should scare us all. We are on the verge of losing this battle to the left.
For one thing, we must get involved in our public education system and insist our school curriculum presents unbiased materials. We must insist on teaching civics and classes such as Americanism vs. Communism that many of us were taught in high school. Many public schools today teach American history only from the Civil War forward. We should be teaching our history from the very beginning of our founding, particularly the concepts outlined in the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.
As far as social media, it will require a lot of pressure from conservatives to change their policies. There does seem to be a growing backlash against political correctness from more people every day as the left is more out in the open and outrageous in their hysteria (which I believe comes from fear of hearing the truth) against opposing viewpoints. We should not tolerate the bullying going on in the name of free speech and expose it when we see it. We must keep talking and writing and sharing our values and viewpoints so that others will hear and hopefully come to understand the dangers of the left as much as we do. We have to utilize these social media sites to our advantage as much and as best as we can. It is up to us to expose evil whenever and wherever we see it.
Well, there it is!
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