Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, NC, a widely traveled evangelist, and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com
As a rule, I tend to not complain about things that are free. If you give me a hamburger and it is utterly abysmal, I will set it aside and not eat it, but I am certainly not going to complain about it. If, however, that “free” hamburger is actually given with the intention of having others watch me eat it and then selling tickets to the event, that does tend to change the paradigm just a bit. And that, in a nutshell, is the way Twitter is designed to work. You are not really the customer on Twitter; you are much more akin to the product for sale on Twitter. The more people use the site, the more advertisers are willing to participate and pay to the owners of the site.
All that aside for a moment, though, Twitter in many ways is marketed as more of a playground than a big box store. The basic shtick is “come over to our playground and play for free!” And in the early days there was a lot of freewheeling playing, and therefore it really was a lot of fun. But alas, the playground has dramatically changed over the years…
When my children were little my oldest daughter had a rather unique view of “playtime.” Whenever someone entered into her playtime, it inevitably went as follows. My daughter would say something like, “Let’s play Princess. I will be Cinderella, and you can be the wicked witch. Now you say ‘open the door right now,’ and I will say ‘no, you can’t come in.’ ”
Once those two lines were said, she would follow up with “okay, now you say ‘I am going to put a curse on you if you don’t open the door,’ and I will say ‘I am too powerful for that!’ ”
After four or five minutes of that, inevitably the playmate, be it her sister or someone else, would say “I don’t want to say that, I want to say something else!” and at that point, things started to go very bad in the kingdom…
And that, in a nutshell, is Twitter today. Some things should clearly be off-limits, such as actual threats of violence (which as it turns out are not, if those threats are against conservatives. But I digress). But I learned earlier today that Mike Lindell was kicked off of Twitter, not for threatening anyone, but for saying that the election was rigged. The point is not whether he is right or wrong, but that he lost his voice on the platform just for being honest about his opinion. He is one of a great number of people who have “lost their play privileges” over that. Others have been kicked off for any number of other instances and varieties of “unsanctioned speech.” Twitter has become the playground that is owned by one or two kids who will not allow any other kids to say anything they do not like. And since it is a big and popular playground, there will always be people on it, regardless of that.
But that kind of playground is very, very boring.
My daughter is a very bright girl. Even at her extremely young age, she eventually realized that people were not coming over to play as much anymore, and inquired as to why. I explained to her that they wanted to be able to be themselves during playtime, they did not want to be forced to say what someone else wanted them to say. They had their own thoughts and beliefs that they wanted to express, and some of them were now playing with other kids who would let them do so.
That fixed the problem immediately, and she has never been that way for a single moment since that day.
Twitter has not seemed to figure that out yet. But I am seeing a steady stream of people leaving the bluebird playground, or at least starting to split time with other playgrounds where they can speak freely. I used to have just Facebook and Twitter and Instagram; now I have accounts on LinkedIn, Mewe, Parler (which made the fatal mistake of renting other big kid’s playground equipment and has now found itself barred from so doing) Clouthub, USA.Life, and Gab. And where I once spent all of my social media time on the initial big three, now I spread my time out pretty evenly over all nine. And the more I do, the more I find that I can breathe more freely and do not feel like I am walking on eggshells when I am on the smaller six rather than the bigger three.
I do not expect everyone to completely abandon Twitter all at once, or Facebook or Instagram for that matter. Most everyone, including myself, has spent years putting content on those sites, building friendships on those sites, and is not just going to abandon all of that. I rather suspect that most others, though, will end up doing what I have done, which will make the big three smaller and the small six (and that number is growing almost daily) bigger. In other words, the free market is going to do what it has always done if (and that is a very big “if” since functional monopolies seem easier to come by than ever, and governments do not seem to be inclined to bust them up as they should) it is allowed to function properly. Don’t like the playground? Find another playground. The other playground isn’t quite as big or nice yet? Awesome, be on the ground floor of making it bigger and nicer.
The problem with Twitter is Twitter. The kids running the playground have decided to script what everyone is allowed to say, and people who have those inconvenient things called “independent thoughts” bouncing around in their heads will always inevitably find a place or places where they can speak them freely.
If you want to catch up with me on those other sites you can look me up on any of them @PreacherBo, except for MeWe where it is just Bo Wagner. Apparently, someone on that site already had PreacherBo as a user name. As soon as I can squelch his free speech and get him kicked off the platform, I will have it there, too.
That is the way it’s done, right?
Pastor Bo Wagner can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and his books and audio downloads are available by clicking the “Store” link above.
Feature artwork and photo by Pastor Bo Wagner. If anyone wants to buy my clearly amazing art, hit me up for a price…