This article at Wired (‘It’s the (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age of Free Speech‘) hits on two areas that I’ve been thinking about a lot.
There are, moreover, no nutritional labels in this cafeteria. For Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, all speech—whether it’s a breaking news story, a saccharine animal video, an anti-Semitic meme, or a clever advertisement for razors—is but “content,” each post just another slice of pie on the carousel. A personal post looks almost the same as an ad, which looks very similar to a New York Times article, which has much the same visual feel as a fake newspaper created in an afternoon.
VISIT US AT THE UNSAFE FOODCOURT!
As a white male on Twitter I can expect to not be harassed, doxed, or threatened. So I’m not worried when I visit the social media food court.
I can walk in and not be cat called. No one will question my knowledge of the band shirt I’m wearing. No one will stare at me as if I don’t belong.
Promoting my wares on a website that does little to address its harassment and nazi and racist problem makes it hard for me to reach the very people I love. I am effectively hanging out at the ‘Make The Food Court Great Again’ food court, and wondering why most of my customers all look like me.
OUR STUFF LOOKS JUST LIKE RACIST GARBAGE!
The words on social media look the same, whether you’re a humble dad in Nebraska or a Holocaust denying politician in the deep south. And either can be faked, because the playing field is leveled.
SO NOW WHAT?
We dust off our websites. Clean ’em up a bit. Get rid of any nasty 3rd party ad tracking. Get rid of comments (since anyone can appear and dirty up the place). We treat our space like our own little cafe.
We won’t have the same foot traffic like a the mall (not yet), but the people who do show up are signaling that they want what we have. I know, losing that 2000+ followers is a bummer, but remember you’re probably only reaching 10% on a given day anyway.