I’ve had a few people ask me whether I plan on opening a Twitter or Facebook page. The short answer is no, but I thought I’d provide the long answer.
1. Both platforms facilitate abuse, especially of minorities
Twitter is almost unmoderated. I think its well documented tolerance of abuse is thoroughly proven.
Facebook moderation actually goes a step farther and allows abusers to make bad faith reports, resulting in such absurd outcomes as a trans artist being banned for quoting the abuse directed at in her inbox while the people sending the abuse are left active.
Given that my fans include Jihadists, TERFs (sorry, “gender critical” dingleberries), fundagelicals, MRAsshats, libertarians, capitalists, and a smattering of transphobes from across all ideologies, I have every reason to believe increasing my access on social media would simply result in a torrent of abuse and major headaches as I try to clean up after automated moderation.
2. Neither serves a function I care for
Twitter’s 140 character limit abhors me, because it is next to impossible to have anything other than snarky quips. Don’t get me wrong, I love snark. But I can just snark here, where I am able to moderate comments, and couch it in actual arguments.
Again, I have little reason to start conversations on Facebook when I can just start them here.
3. People use either tool to share my posts anyway
Self explanatory. Sometimes people like my shit enough to post it on social media. Yeah I’d get shares faster if I posted directly to Facebook. But then there’s the whole “access to abuse” thing again. I’m okay building exposure slowly if it means not having to filter nattering TERFs all the time.
4. Trolls are annoying
On here, you have to sign up. Then your first comment has to be approved, and my bullshit detector is pretty good. Then if you get obnoxious, or if you ping my trolldar, all that effort you spent signing up is wasted when I ban you.
On Twitter and Facebook, a troll has their account open already. With more editorial control, the website itself is a bottleneck for abusers.
5. The rest of the network is my editorial control
Facebook and Twitter can pull the plug on my content. But their editorial control is based on generating traffic, rather than convincing arguments or anything resembling an ethical compass. FTB is based off a mission statement, which makes me more confident my material wouldn’t be arbitrarily challenged.
6. I have a contact email anyway
If someone wants to engage in a way that wouldn’t work in the comments, they can just email me instead. Again, gmail allows me to filter bad faith actors. But for now it is predominantly used by readers giving reasonable feedback, as well as my back-and-forth with other outlets as I try to sell some investigative work I’m sitting on.
So, yeah, that’s why I won’t be on other forms of social media.