— Jan 05, 2022
I haven’t posted much online in awhile. My last post here was mid-2019. You see, 2019 was a transformational year for me. I backed off from speaking and travel and focused my time and attention at home on my family. It has been wonderful! As the year progressed, I realized that another significant source of distraction for me was social media. It wasn’t doing me any good (and I didn’t yet full appreciate how much bad it was doing). So I signed out, deleted apps, and stopped using the services completely as the year rolled over to 2020.
https://twitter.com/iamvery (apparently now squatted by someone else)
You can still find me at:
On the subject of social media…
In my opinion social media is more bad than good. I sensed this was a generally accepted sentiment way back in 2019 around the time I scaled back. However, the past couple years have brought to light how insidious major tech companies can be, not to mention the power they wield. In this amount of time, we have seen content moderation go from something you occasionally hear about in regard to (terrible) things like pornography to significant personalities and businesses being wiped off platforms for violating website “standards”, citing violations of sharing certain information, the basis of which changes over time.
Perhaps particular situations come to mind. Perhaps they are controversial to you. Try to put our opinions of these specifics aside. Can we agree that having these major tech companies move (sometimes in unison) to silence individuals and businesses is problematic? Would you consider it problematic if it affected information you agree with? Can we agree that this is a form of censorship? And can we agree that there’s a notable bias in those who have been most affected? Is that really OK?
I remember how my skin crawled when I read that Parler had been wiped off the Internet, and it’s worth noting that I had barely even heard of it beforehand (I was not a user). I wanted to hop into my company’s chat and share my outrage with my coworkers. I wanted to post again on Twitter and other social media accounts. Heck, I even wanted to shout on the street corner… But I didn’t. Instead, I was quiet. Honestly, I was concerned about the chance that my perception was wrong and someone would disagree with me. Perhaps I would get some unwanted attention. I was afraid of what might happen if someone disagreed with me. It was fear, and fear is not a virtue.
You have perspective. You have opinions. You have a voice. And you have a choice of when to speak, when to be quiet, and when to listen. Your thoughts matter, and they should not be silenced. But again, it’s your choice of how you use this voice, and there are consequences for the words you speak.
Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life, and the talkative person will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 TPT
I have decided that social media possesses no value for me personally, so I will instead focus on those around me, the ones I do life with: my family, my friends, my coworkers, etc.
It’s probably worth investing real energy into researching and putting together a dedicated post, but I want to at least mention how important community is in our lives. This is the people around us. Those we do life with. Those you have influence with. You can have real, heartfelt debates with people face-to-face. Not yelling into the void of the Internet where everyone feels safe behind their keyboards. In person, having discussions with respect and love is a life-giving activity even when you do not agree. It helps us understand the perspective and opinions of those with differing views. This is important. We should be able to and even celebrate disagreement and more generally different points of view without villainizing and labeling people. It’s how we learn from one another. It’s a way of loving one another.
What are we to do? I can’t tell you that. I decided to leave social media, because it serves no purpose or value in my life. I do not have a large following, and at this time I do not have any notable influence online. My influence is in my community, and I believe that is the best place for me to make investments. Your situation is different, and I would implore you to really consider the “why” of your presence online, and if it’s right for you then give it all you got! When it comes to these services online, I do believe something needs to change. The reality is that these companies are more likely to “feel” the affect of people migrating to other services than resigning en masse. Healthy competition; free market. Either way, make sure you know why you are doing what you are doing and do it (in love).
At the time, I didn’t have a great understanding of how tech companies were able to get away with censorship, and perhaps I still don’t. It seems to all come down to the so-called “Section 230”.
Section 230 is a section of Title 47 of the United States Code enacted as part of the United States Communications Decency Act, that generally provides immunity for website platforms with respect to third-party content. Wikipedia
That “immunity” seems not-good, but I’m no lawyer, so I won’t try to explain or pick it apart. However, it does call attention again to the power of certain companies. While they may not be held legally liable for their users’ content, they may themselves act like “the law” and act in unison to bring another company all the way down, e.g. Parler. My best guess is they explained the removal of this app by saying that “it violated our standards”. So they are able to hold their “citizens” liable for its users’ content, but their own not so much because they happen to own their infrastructure. Interesting. Is that fair? Is that OK for services so fundamental as social media have become? What if AT&T were to decide to cut off tower access to Boost Mobile, because some Boost customers were using their phones in a certain way?
I probably won’t be back on any of the social media sites any time soon, so if you’d like to keep in touch you can send me an email at [email protected] or better yet let’s see one another in person somewhere. ❤️