Building Deserted Media Empires – One Microblog at a Time
As his final Labor, Hercules was instructed to bring the hellhound Cerberus up from Hades, the kingdom of the dead. The first barrier to the soul’s journey beyond the grave was the most famous river of the Underworld, the Styx. Here the newly dead congregated as insubstantial shades, mere wraiths of their former selves, awaiting passage in the ferryboat of Charon the Boatman. Charon wouldn’t take anyone across unless they met two conditions. Firstly, they had to pay a bribe in the form of a coin under the corpse’s tongue. And secondly, they had to be dead. Hercules met neither condition, a circumstance which aggravated Charon’s natural grouchiness. But Hercules simply glowered so fiercely that Charon meekly conveyed him across the Styx.
By now almost everyone is aware of Twitter’s purge of prominent AltRight accounts over what appears to be strictly ideological reasons. In the past, Twitter would ban people for aggressively trolling or attacking other users, but so long as you weren’t constantly tweeting slurs at people who had enough followers to mass report you or just happened to piss off the wrong person at an unlucky time, they pretty much left you alone. The most obvious example that Twitter has decided to pursue a more aggressive policy and clamp down on speech for ideological reasons is the recent banning of Richard Spencer. Spencer was a mild mannered user and didn’t engage in any kind of aggressive behavior. He was banned for having pro-white opinions, nothing more or less. As Reactionary Tree pointed out,“they even banned the Washington Summit Publishers twitter account which is the publishing wing of NPI,” which hadn’t posted a single tweet in the last 10 months. There are of course many other examples of AltRight accounts which have been purged in a very short period of time, such as Spectre, Ricky Vaughn, Genophilia, AdolfJoeBiden etc. These accounts were confrontational and “offensive,” but their ideological opponents were equally aggressive and yet remain unbanned.
I’ve said this before, but I think it’s important for anyone involved in alternative politics to maintain a blog or some other kind of independent web presence outside of social media. I notice that a lot of the most interesting and astute thinkers are very prolific posters on Twitter but don’t have a blog or any kind of web presence. The most obvious problem for these people is that their entire brand and thousands of cogent expressions of thought be wiped out with a keystroke, pulling their platform entirely out from under them. However, there are other things to consider as well. Think of posting on social media as being like working for any other big corporation. What smart people do when they work for a company is make as many connections and gain as much knowledge and influence as they can with their within the organization, building up their “personal brand” reputation. Ultimately though they slowly work to use the leverage they’ve obtained toward building a business for themselves at some point, where they will wield all the power and control which can be used as a force in the industry as a whole. So basically, as you post on Twitter you direct people toward your own site, which will network with other similar like-minded sites, which will promulgate into a kind of mini media empire. Such mini empires can and should be marketed dually through existing social networks, but you’re not gambling your ideas and brand by participating in them. You’re contributing to building something. Alternative platforms like Gab are great, but still ultimately belong to someone else…another emperor’s virtual kingdom which could vanish tomorrow. Where is your machine? Where is your cog in this wheel?
Why should you or I even care? Well, many of us look around at a lot of the new media, and we find many of the figures and outlets don’t really align with our views. For example, I’m not a huge fan of the manosphere, yet sites like Return of Kings have grown to where they rival mainstream feminist media outlets in terms of traffic and influence. Imagine if Roosh had never built a site or written an ebook and had done nothing but post on Twitter for years, only to be randomly banned one day and see his hard-earned brand rendered impotent overnight. People often complain about Alt-Lite incarnations like Milo, Blaire White, Gavin Mcinnes, Cernovich, Breitbart etc. Yet, if you wanted people in the broader population to recognize your views as being those representative of a movement in which Alt-Lite personalities are often mistakenly credited as leaders, you’d have to be able to compete with the above influencers and challenge their behemothic megaphone for supremacy in the crowded ideological soundscape.
Many of my favorite people whom I like and share a similar worldview with, don’t even have a domain name, a wordpress blog, a youtube channel or even a Tumblr! They’re just prolific Twitter posters. I understand, maybe they have serious jobs or lives and just don’t want to be that involved due to the potential social and monetary risks of becoming more “visible.” Yet, when it comes time to network, promote things, and achieve any kind of financial sustenance in dissident media, we will have to work within the new imperial framework as it exists. Want your “controversial” ideas to gain wider exposure and traction? The only sites that wouldn’t be totally appalled by them probably won’t publish your thought pieces since they’re run by other people whom you don’t agree with and have been trolling on social media for years.
We’ll be condemned to appealing to these new powerbrokers and gatekeepers, playing the edges and catering to their whims, while trying to slip something interesting through the cracks. We’ll have to offer up an amulet to ferryman Milo in the hopes he’ll transport some watered down version of our ideas across the desert of doom toward Nobilia, where they can be examined and traded in the mainstream marketplace like jars of spice. Alternatively, we can build up our own mini empires, and work to make the thought leaders and idea traders be people like us. Preferably, we should work to ensure they are us.