We scream when our posts are censored by the various social media platforms. We cry “censorship” when our content is taken down on YouTube. It wasn’t until I took a good long look at my situation that I realize that I (and most people) secretly approve of being censored.
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Late one evening, I got a message from a friend of mine on Facebook. He recently had a post taken down because a meme that he shared was deemed “offensive” by Facebook. Out of frustration, he said that I should make up a social network where this type of thing wouldn’t happen again.
I admired his confidence in my abilities, but I don’t have anything close to resembling the type of genius and money to do such a thing.
I messaged him back, telling him that I would try to look for alternatives to Facebook and send the results his way.
Through my 5 minutes of searching, I found several sites that offered a Facebook-like experience and set up accounts on two of them.
It was in that instance that I realized a big truth about myself, as I had my problems with censorship on YouTube, and others – that we actually approve of being censored.
It took me all of 5 minutes to find many alternatives to Facebook as well as alternatives to Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Because of my problems on YouTube, I set up a user account on a site called LBRY (pronounced “Library”) where I can upload my video content and not worry about being censored.
In this instance, I took action. I’m still learning about the LBRY platform, but I made a conscious effort to make a change, but it’s a difficult one as I was used to YouTube. Now, I still have my channel up, and I still upload there. YouTube is a part of my business, but I wanted something where some of my content would get seen, content that the YouTube algorithms deem “wrong.”
Both ends are being played against the middle, and we’re in the middle.
The big 4 social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram) have been around for almost a generation. They have gone through their various iterations, and we have endured each one, kicking and screaming when the interface changes or new rules get put into place. We like where our “like” button is, we like the fact that we can share a Tweet, we like the seemingly infinite video content on YouTube, and we like our filters on Instagram – just like they wanted.
It’s kind of like a drug dealer introducing a newbie to weed – they give you a free taste, then charge you when you want more.
And we want more.
On one hand…
All of our friends are on the various social networks, and leaving them for an alternative would be very difficult to do. It would be like moving to another city/town and taking your entire community with you.
We’re also on auto-pilot with our various social media outlets. For me, I know exactly what to do on YouTube when I want to do keyword research to get a video seen. I know where my tools are in YouTube studio. On Facebook, I know how to set up notes, to share links, to “react,” to livestream, and all the other functions, and I don’t want to learn something new on a different platform – and it just doesn’t look the same.
But it’s not only the love of the familiar, it’s our community that we’ve grown accustomed.
But it’s on someone else’s “land,” and we have to obey the landlord.
On the other hand…
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram (owned by Facebook) is centralized and owned by corporations, and when you are there, you have to follow the “house rules.” Policies keep changing to reflect the companies ever-changing focus, and that means that things that were once “ok,” are not that way anymore. If you want your community, you have to walk the line, because they know they’ve got you hooked, and we’re willing “users.”
You also have to keep in mind that the various platforms that we’ve become accustomed to depend heavily on ad revenue. Money talks and a single instant where a pissed-off reporter got into it with the top individual YouTube creator. Because of the reporter throwing a hissy fit, he went to various companies, snitched on the creator (who wasn’t doing anything wrong) and the “ad-pocalypse” of 2017 happened, which changed the face of Google/YouTube and how creators are paid for their content creation. Money talks, and when a platform is paid by corporations, you can’t bite the hand that feeds you.
We secretly approve of being “controlled.”
I enjoy the platforms very much. There’s money in them, which means that the experience and things that I can do on each one gets better as time goes on. Facebook has become so common that “PM me”/”DM me” is understood to mean “contact me via Facebook messenger” by most of the people on the planet.
We don’t really want to leave, otherwise, we would have left by now.
It took me all of 5 minutes to find multiple alternatives to the various giants of the social media world, and to set up accounts on two of the Facebook look-alikes.
If I can do it, why aren’t others that complain about the various platforms doing the same thing? It’s because we really don’t want to leave, in spite of our complaining, and we post – ironically – our discontent about the platform on said platform.
We really do approve of being censored, because we won’t even do a simple search, set up accounts, tell people “hey, I’ve moved,” or anything else.
When you stop to think about it, they’ve got us. We can break free, but the real question is, do we really want to be free? It can be quite comfortable in our various cages, of which the doors are always open for us to leave, should we wish.