The statistics are not that surprising. I have lost absolutely nothing from deactivating my Twitter account and basically neglecting my Facebook to near oblivion. I’ve noticed an uptick in sign-ups for some of my spiritual groups, but that’s to be expected when some large swathe of platform space becomes dead to Black folks or too toxic and polluted with spam to justify staying. Even spammers and scammers don’t want to have to compete with too many others of the same.
This brings me to the topic of whether or not it is worth it to the average small business to spend effort on large social media platforms. From what I can see, it is not. Most of the time, one is screaming into the void. The “algorithm” is going to favor people who are paying the platform or people who bring a lot of ad revenue. Unless you are paying them, and even then paying them more than others, or feeding “white” demographic panic of people in the U.S. or other countries that have adopted U.S. style racial classification, you’re going to be invisible. Worse than invisible, you’re sharing space with the panic mongers, racists, and other bigots, and will suffer from guilt by association.
If anyone who isn’t a “white” supremacist, or even if someone is but they themselves don’t fit the top tier group of their hierarchy, and they have to wonder if your politics would make you unsafe to buy from or work with, that’s already business you missed. Large platforms have made themselves obsolete outside of points of contact to most of the world, and the impact of it just hasn’t hit them yet because of wealth distribution. Because they don’t see people, just statistics, they are banking on who has the most money and what those people want, and basically ignoring and often outright discriminating against and disrespecting everyone else. Even when they try to make improvements, they never go far enough because the bar for “white” discomfort is set at not being coddled.
Then as someone running a business or providing a service people give funds for, there is the worry that if someone found you through such a biased platform, they’re going to freak out when they find out you don’t agree with whatever disinformation is trending. This happened to me a few times. People actually got angry with me because I didn’t believe some protocols of Zion b.s. or that “white” people were created in a lab or that Enki was an actual individual Reptilian overlord and not a Sumerian deity.
At this point, I’m just cutting ties with the centralized platforms. Federated is the future, and the day that one protocol becomes favored by the spammers, another will rise up. My time and energy is best invested working on my websites and building independent but connected networks and communities around them. Turns out this is what’s boosting my traffic lately.
I encourage other webmasters to do the same, especially if you’re in any marginalized community. On the large platforms, nobody will find you. On your own website, Google will find you to a fault, so you have to actually lock down anything you don’t want them to find. On a federated instance, people with common interests are actively looking for you, and will find you first come first serve. Hashtags actually mean something out here.
It was a good thing to get on Mastodon back when I first understood Twitter was allowing and promoting spam on purpose. It was a great thing to get on IndieWeb and ActivityPub. It’s been good for traffic and I’ve met some awesome people as well. I’d like to see more good people I see working so hard to get in on this.