Maybe I knew it was coming.
The Great Purge on Social Media, that is.
Or maybe I was just sick of Social Media platforms in general and their uncanny ability to suck the souls out of all who fall for their trickery.
Maybe I was sick of seeing random people walking down the street or even riding bikes in full zombie mode, glued to their phones, never experiencing what we used to call a quiet moment.
I was on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Disqus and several other forums and comment boards.
The question is why?
And why did it take so long to delete ALL my social media accounts after the novelty had worn off?
Part of the reason is that social media can be addictive, especially if you have compulsive tendencies. Another reason is that other people that use social media don't want you to leave! How dare you free yourself from the tyranny of collective madness!
The thing is... Twitter and Youtube were showing promise, each in their own way, even if just to build a presence and gain some points on my dystopian social media credit score. But the platform that was lining up to be a clear winner for me – or at least that's what I thought at the time – was... wait for it... drum roll... Pinterest!
Pinterest has proved to be a solid traffic generation tool for many a blogger. Some bloggers swear by it. And I was genuinely enjoying pinning boards of futuristic concept art including robots, cyborgs, mechs and other related imagery.
For a while.
Until it became a grind.
Until I realised that I was only going through the motions because I thought I was supposed to for the purpose of promoting a blog, or whatever.
When I actually stopped to think about what I was doing and whether I would naturally go to the trouble of pinning images for other people to gawk at, I was convinced that social media was the wrong way to go about attracting readers to my books and blog.
If anything, this revelation helped steer me away from science and robotics reality and towards science fiction and fantasy where cool robot characters could run amok. For that I am grateful for the social media experiment. The feedback was invaluable.
Other than that, there is something deeply wrong with the whole concept of chasing the numbers on social media platforms, that you are not genuinely attracted to, and only using for the purpose of promotion.
The keyword is... authenticity.
Social Media is not the Internet
Social Media is really screwing with all areas of life.
Once you understand that most social media is made up of environments where people simply want to hang out, chat, argue, troll, and scroll the day away, it's easy to see why users don't care about clicking through to your site or hanging around for long before bouncing away.
And of course, this behaviour has been accentuated even further with the advent of smartphones. I'm pretty sure that attention spans have been greatly reduced by these portable snitch devices. All I see is obsessive compulsive behaviour which users try to mask as best as they can just like any run-of-the-mill addict.
If you pay attention to numbers, an uploader on Youtube might have 100,000 subscribers but only a few thousand views per video. Others may fare a bit better but in general the number of subs and likes is pretty meaningless. All that matters is the number of views, and if you're running a business, then the amount of advertising revenue or sales of merchandise is the metric you care about.
That doesn't mean that social media can't be useful in other ways. For example, many people use Twitter simply to track certain trending topics and not as a way to grow an audience. Instead of using Disqus as a rather intrusive comment ecosystem people push comments off-site to Facebook and Twitter. I think that's a mistake, but then I'm addicted to reading comments directly under a post and don't appreciate being shoved off to a third party social media platform the likes of which have become so obnoxious that I don't want to support them.
I have entered a contract with myself to avoid these silicon valley companies as much as possible. Microsoft and Amazon would also get the chop if the alternatives were viable. I won't use Google Adsense or Analytics. I don't have social media sharing buttons on my site. I avoid data collection as much as possible so that I'm compliant with GDPR regulations and therefore don't need to stun my readers with a ridiculous cookie notice. What else can one man and his blog do to try and be nice to his readers?
You can add autoplay videos (even if the sound is turned off) and gobsmackingly uninviting paywalls to the list of obnoxious elements that I will never add to my site. There have to be other ways to make a buck online without pissing off the punters!
Something has gone horribly wrong with the Internet over the years and it's about time that a lot of these issues get addressed. Usability, ease of access, and a generally less corporate environment needs to emerge to counter all of the Black Goo that has monopolised the level playing field that it once was. Adblockers and browser-based privacy controls have come a long way in cleaning up some of the mess but a lot more needs to be done.
Censor Everything, Ban Everyone
You hone your appoach. Your numbers grow. More followers makes you feel like something is happening. Surely this will all translate into dollars at some point? Surely I'm not just adding content to someone else's site so that they get rich off of my efforts and then ban me when I say something they don't agree with?
Or maybe that's exactly what it's all about and what it was intended to be all along...
The Great Culture Purge was already swelling up in the background like a distant tsunami but was only on the radar if you followed conservative talking heads, Trump supporters, QAnon channels, and other "deplorables" in the new landscape.
It certainly wasn't the reason why I deleted all my social media accounts in the years leading up to the coordinated Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook purge of "undesirables" in 2020.
For me personally, I reached a point where I felt that pretty much all social media platforms were a horrible time suck even if some had value as promotional avenues.
Back in the day when I was testing a lot of social media platforms just to see which ones could be useful for promoting a blog or the novels I had planned, it was clear that I would have to narrow down to one... or none at all.
What do I mean by none at all?
Crazy as it sounds to social media addicts and all the online gurus teaching that you must be on as many social media platforms as possible otherwise you're missing out, there are other ways to reach your potential audience.
The alternatives include good old fashioned techniques such as emailing influential people or communities that would genuinely be interested in what you have to offer, organising guest posts on popular blogs in your online community, and hanging around on forums that are relevant to your subject matter.
And the alternatives come with a heap of positives that leave social media in the dust:
- You don't have to pretend that you're being social when you're actually just promoting.
- You don't have to meet a quota of daily posts to multiple social media accounts for fear of dropping off the radar and losing followers.
- You won't have to keep up with the latest social media advice from a bunch of gurus who are just trying to make money off your wide-eyed innocence.
- You won't have to pretend that flyby traffic artificially bumping your site views is actually worth a damn!
- You can focus your efforts on strategies that will be more efficient, less time consuming, and sanity preserving!
- You don't have to sell your soul and all of your carefully compiled personal data to third party corporations and governments while making the Social Media mafia incredibly rich in the process.
- You will find that you have more control over your content and more resistance to censorship and other abuses as you naturally nurture and build your own platform using services such as Ghost Pro.
That's all folks!
Enjoy your newfound freedom to use or ignore Social Media on your own terms. You are in the driving seat. Stay away from all of it or use one platform that clicks for you because it aligns with your values and you genuinely enjoy using the tool and supporting the people behind it.
For me, that means trying out a social media platform like Gab.
I respect the right to speak freely and to be able to interact with other like-minded people without fear of being banned or censored or ridiculed or mocked for your beliefs and ideas. This is where I make an exception because efforts have been made to provide a platform that is fair and open to all. People who are easily offended by ideas outside of their comfort zone can simply look elsewhere. That is what freedom is all about.
Bitchute has also gradually replaced Youtube for me but purely from a consumer perspective.
I recommend Telegram if you need a replacement for Whatsapp and for following activist channels although some countries are trying to ban it.
Too much free speech is obviously a threat to those who wish to rule over the masses. That's why we need more of it. We need a tsunami of truth and freedom otherwise we risk losing everything.