They don't like how I say it.
This is obvious from the number of social media platforms, blogs and forums I’ve been kicked off of. They include:
- The Amazon KDP Forum;
- Copyblogger (when they had comments);
- The Passive Voice;
- And several Facebook and Google+ Groups.
Now, why do people get kicked off of those platforms? Well, many times those people aren’t liked. Let’s not beat around the bush here. People don’t like what they have to say, or the way that they say it.
Isn’t that it? I mean, delicate sensibilities are being offended here! And that, my friends, is much more important than freedom of speech.
But wait a cottin’-pickin’ minute here! Don’t sites like those listed above, aren’t sites like that…well gosh, can’t they do what they want?
Yes, they’re free. They can say what they want and allow others to say what they want as well. They can also stop people they don’t want from saying things…well, you get the idea.
I was thinking about this recently because of two things. First, the massive decline in the number of comments on The Passive Voice since they instituted their selective-commenting policy last week. Next, a Google+ group that told me to leave in so many words.
And that got me to thinking on all the social media mishaps I’ve had as well as what freedom of speech is online, and if it’s even important anymore. Let’s take a look.
The Passive Voice
So if you’ve got a lot of responsibilities like running a company or writing a book or juggling a 9 to 5 job – and maybe talking to your kids too – then this might help you manage what’s going on in the world and in a timely fashion.
Recently, however, there have been some spats in the commenting section. This was clearly seen a couple weeks ago when two authors began going back and forth. Then last week one of my comments in reference to a Hugh Howey post got removed. Since then I can’t comment, and judging from the site, this is a fate that’s befallen many.
On the Passive Voice there is no advertising revenue that I can see, but there is a certain level of decorum and respectability that’s expected to be followed and maintained. Now we’re getting into battlefield ethics in this war we call the internet. Yes, Trollism.
It’s very easy to call someone a troll or say that they add nothing to the discussion or even that they’re having a bad day and shouting and not making any sense. This is fine – corrupt political regimes have done it since ancient times to silence their critics. Is it such a stretch to imagine it’d happen today, when there’s something far more important than political equality or human rights on the line? Yeah, we’re talking about profits. And what’s driving profits today is traffic.
Late last year the content marketing site decided to stop all comments on its site. In reality they’d done this much earlier to a select few individuals that they deemed troublemakers, trolls, or just impediments to them making a profit. These sorry individuals’ crime? You guessed it, speaking their mind.
Yeah, challenging thoughts are not what’s wanted in today’s business community. Instead we want followers.
Followers stay behind us, don’t rush ahead and don’t question. They also don’t see a lot of what’s going on in the distance, because you see that first so that they won’t know about it until you tell them. This gives you power and control and ensures you’ll be important to them. If one of these folks should ever get out of line and think to speak for themselves, well, watch out…they’re gone in a heartbeat.
So who can be a follower? Well, that’s easy – anyone that says our message and doesn’t say the other guys’. And someone that questions that message is bad. They make it harder for us to make money, which is the whole reason we created the damn message in the first place!
Amazon KDP Forum
Yep, I did that a lot for awhile, and I’d routinely post links to my marketing books when authors asked for marketing help. Eventually I got enough warnings and complaints where I was booted. I was saddened, but moved on, and now I don’t even remember what that place looked like, other than that it was in the 90s.
Well, he was friends with the moderator so that was that. I just stopped going because, really folks, I’ve got about 30 Google+ groups and it’s damn hard to keep track and one less don’t sound all that bad.
Anyways, I decided to go back there on Sunday and post a link.
Fucking-A, holly hell not that!
Yeah, posting a link to someone else’s article on the subject of writing that I thought might help some other authors. The moderator came and posted saying that this was not allowed and gave me a whole copy/paste jargon-filled box of text to look at. I just threw in the towel on that group.
Is Freedom of Speech Important Anymore?
Make no mistake, this is tyranny. It’s also ethical and it’s also good business. It’s great for politics, especially when newspapers remove their commenting section entirely. I mean, as we’ve seen with Copyblogger, that’s a lot more effective than just shooting down one or two troublemakers here and there, or that silly bastard that gets off message.
But freedom of speech isn’t really important today, is it? You can say whatever you want on Twitter or your own blog or whatever. That’s great. Those people that used to fight for freedom could rant and rave in their living rooms as well, but no one was listening so it was practice at best and a waste of time at worst.
When you have no platform to exercise your freedom of speech you pretty much are wasting your time. Blogs, forums, and newspaper commenting sections are our street corners and busy squares. This is where we put down our soapbox and cry to the heavens, a voice in the wilderness for all that will listen, and many that won’t.
Thomas Jefferson said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Marshal McLuhan said that the price of eternal vigilance is indifference. How indifferent are you?