The concern over big tech’s interference in the elections is not overblown. Between the main stream media and Facebook/Twitter’s “fact checking” – not to mention the unspeakable tortures that have no doubt been perpetrated upon Google’s algorithm’s – getting and sharing good information has become difficult if you are politically conservative. In the week following the elections something like 3.5 million people signed up for Parler. Many of my friends on Facebook posted their Parler handle so others could follow them.
Let us grant, as all reasonable people must, that big tech is not to be trusted with…anything. Technology is wonderful, but it is managed by people who are not referees, but players. Facebook is a political player and any pretense at being an impartial referee is so ludicrous as to defy belief. Since you asked, the answer is yes, all of the following are political players: pollsters, CNN, and Twitter. And they all have the same political bent.
The Left’s concern over Parler stems from their deep insecurity that someone else could function as a gatekeeper, but that does not mean that their concerns are completely unfounded. It only stands to reason that those leaving the current Social Media (Drama) Queens would be those disenfranchised by them, and since those entities target Conservatives and not Progressives, Parler will be home to more Conservatives. Which means that Parler will be an echo chamber for Conservatives where many unfounded and unproven and undeniably false narratives will be pitched about like hot rolls at Lamberts. It may even rival the public school system for sheer number of falsehoods bandied about, albeit without the impressionable audience and the public tax subsidies.
So here’s where I am at. First, I am very concerned about Big Tech’s stranglehold on information. Secondly, I think social media is prone to misinformation, so without some level of censorship it would be hard not to let misinformation run amuck. So here is my alternative to Parler:
Use Social Media less.
That’s right. Post cute pictures of your kids. And dogs. And if you must, cats. Get rid of the FB app on your phone and just log in once a day to see if any of your friends have posted something interesting. There is no actual need for Facebook or Twitter, so they live and die financially on their ability to get you to browse, like, and click. Instead, bookmark the sites that you find valuable and visit them directly. This avoids the choke points caused by using Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Often I find articles I want to read via daily/weekly round-ups such as Tim Challies A La Carte page.
Since I have been blogging I have had a couple posts go over a thousand views (which is a lot for me). The vast majority of those hits originate on Facebook. I have not included a pop-up on my blog asking for people to sign up via email, although I think that I one day may. I do have followers via email and the WordPress app. But at the end of the day, exposure is still coming through social media.
There are some folks within the Christian/conservative landscape who are doing things that I like. The Gospel Coalition has capitalized on big names (by Evangelical standards) producing regular content on a variety of topics. Since many contributors are academics, pastors, and writers, they can engage in a lot of friendly promotions about upcoming books, lecture series, or conferences. I’m not all that crazy about most of the content, but I admire that they have created a virtual space that attracts people directly to the site. Desiring God has done something similar using the work/name of John Piper. Again, there is a lot of high quality content across blogs posts, sermons, and videos that brings people back to the site.
Perhaps no one has been more aggressive than Doug Wilson and the folks at Canon Press, who recently launched the Canon app. Doug has capitalized on being known for inflammatory remarks by burning couches and trucks as promotional videos for his blog, particularly during No Quarter November. They produced a series of interviews called Man Rampant that were on Amazon for the first season, and are now available on the app, along with a bunch of other content.
So look, there’s no way that I can aspire to any of that because I have a family to care for, a church to pastor, and a full time job to maintain. But I would love to be part of something, so if there are 3 or 4 people out there who actually read this blog and want to do something…hit me up.
One thought on “An Alternative to Parler”
You might be on to something…!