Social Media in the Age of the Shadow Ban

A discussion in the comments reminded me why I set up this website in the way it currently exists, namely a multi-subject blog.  Full disclosure, I’ve never had a Facebook or Twitter account.  I have a Gab account but I’ve never noticed much if any activity there, so I’ll generalize by saying that my presence on line has been mostly a matter of membership on various websites.  And this is an artifact of my generational identity.  My children are members of the cohort that interacts on Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, etc.  I never got around to all that.  So, for that reason, shadow banning isn’t something I have experienced.  But I do know what regular banning is about.  I have been on websites (specifically photography websites) that obviously took sides in the culture wars and allowed the lefties to bait the non-lefties.  And when these non-lefties responded in kind they got censored and eventually banned.  This is a demoralizing state of affairs.  Eventually I decided that if I wanted to have a place on-line where I could talk about photography or movies or books I would have to make a space of my own where conservatives could interact on a level playing field with the Left.

I was tempted to separate my political and non-political subjects onto separate web addresses but on further consideration I decided to keep them all under one roof.  I did this for a couple of reasons.  The first was, let’s call it, truth in advertising.  I wouldn’t want photography or science fiction enthusiasts to come to my site and not know up front that I sat on the right side of the fence.  Otherwise they might get comfortable but then one day discover that they had been tricked into associating with the unclean.  That would be a source of irritation for both parties.

The second reason was because I shouldn’t have to separate them.  Photographers assume that all photo websites are automatically politically leftist.  Almost all literary websites are rabidly leftist.  Trying to separate my subjects from my philosophical/political identity seems like an apology for what I believe.  And I don’t want to do that.

So, the interesting aspect of having a multi-subject website is the way it is handled by search engines.  What I’ve noticed is that Google will never link to any of my political stuff, period.  But I’ll get a substantial amount of organic search linkage for my photography content.  Interestingly, a good amount of that is from Europe and East Asia.  I’d love to know what these folks think of my political content.  The science fiction stuff is somewhere in the middle.  Because I review mostly non-leftist sf content I probably don’t get as much search activity as I could if I were more politically correct in my coverage.  But so be it.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that I am using this site as an avenue for pursuing my interests on-line without sacrificing my right to be myself.  I also hope to attract a readership that is interested in the subjects that I provide regardless of their political persuasion.  I think that discussing photography should be possible for both left- and right-wing individuals without resorting to character assassination.  Of course, on the political topics I assume there would be much more occasion for debate and even argument but I still contend that people can argue in a rational manner or at least agree to disagree and move on.  But most importantly, my point of view isn’t one that can be stifled by the powers that be.  I’ll get my say.

Interestingly, with the recent acceleration of social media acting as the ideological gatekeeper of the internet maybe it’s time for right-wing websites to once again become meeting places for those on the right who are tired of being threatened, brow-beaten and banned from the electronic town square.  Vox Day says we must build our own institutions and infrastructure.  This is my experiment in that direction.  We’ll see how the experiment works.