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Conservatives are prisoners of Twitter

Conservatives are prisoners of Twitter

Conservatives helped build Twitter, now we are trapped by our own success.

I’m so old I remember when conservative blogs and websites used to communicate with each other on email lists and by frequent linking to each other.

When Legal Insurrection started in October 2008, that was how we let the world know we existed and what we were writing. So-called “blog whoring,” whereby smaller blogs clogged the inboxes of people at larger websites hoping for a link, was how it was done. This website would not have thrived without the appreciated links from Instapundit, Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, and dozens of other blogs.

Our Twitter page says we joined in December 2008, but I think it was another year or so before Twitter became a central communication focus for conservatives. In those “early” days I remember conservatives dominating Twitter — the common wisdom was that liberals ruled on Facebook and conservatives ruled on Twitter. That has changed over time, and liberals are just as if not more influential on Twitter.

Along the way Twitter changed how conservatives interacted. Who needed mass emails when we could send a tweet and be seen by other conservatives? That ease of interaction and ability to mobilize people had a downside. I credit/blame Twitter for the demise of most smaller conservative websites.

I went through our blogroll recently, and deleted dozens of links to defunct or barely functioning conservative blogs. It was truly shocking how many no longer exist or rarely post. Part of it certainly is dreaded Blogger Burnout. But part of it is that Twitter is the new blogosphere.

Twitter helped destroy the conservative ecosystem of small blogs by replacing it with something easier to use and more effective.

But in the process, I can’t help but feel we have become prisoners of Twitter.

Twitter is a public company but it is not a public property. I don’t have to wade through the Terms of Service to predict that Twitter reserves to itself the right to do whatever it damn well pleases.

And whatever it damn well pleases lately seems to be shutting down conservative accounts. I can’t tell if it is merely anecdotal or a pervasive, systemic problem.

But it is a perceived problem which in itself inhibits speech. Be careful what you say, or you may end up in Twitter pergatory, suspended and pushed off the debate in the public square for reasons unknown.

There is no viable alternative to Twitter at this moment. The sheer breadth of membership and ease of use is not available elsewhere. Facebook is not a substitute, with its islands of pages and likes.

That’s a problem. A big problem.

Sure, you can quit Twitter, but good luck getting your message out without it, or hearing the messages of other conservatives. Twitter is the modern phone wire system, without which individual phones are isolated and irrelevant.

The marketplace for conservative communication better find a Plan B, and fast.

Conservatives helped build Twitter into what it is. Now we are trapped, prisoners of our own success.


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Conquest’s Second Law: Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

It rings true over and over.

And the Collective’s first and most used argument is “shut UP!”

Why play in a rigged game?

Sure, you can quit (MYSPACE), but good luck getting your message out without it, or hearing the messages of other conservatives.

Where there is a void, someone will fill it. Just take a look at Twitter’s corporate fortunes the past year….tanking.

Given the fact that we have put private business owners in jail for not providing their services on an equal basis for those whose messages they disagree with, why can’t Twitter be forced to do the same thing?

(And yes, I know why; I just love watching the usual suspects admit that they are all in favor of government enforced religious bigotry.)

    HandyGandy in reply to SDN. | February 22, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Actually as I pointed out below, Twitter might be considered a monopoly. In particular a monopoly on a form of speech.

      Twitter is a private company. Private companies have free speech rights. As Ken White (Popehat) points out, “Corporations are people! They don’t lose those rights because they get too big or because someone thinks they look like public entities if you squint.”

      No conservative worth his or her salt should be even dancing around the idea of bringing Big Government power to bear in order to force “fairness” on a private company.

        Not sure why this didn’t nest, but…

        OK, Amy, then you should be supporting returning the Colorado and Oregon bakers the fines they paid, plus attorneys fees and court costs. Either coercion is cool for ALL private businesses, or it’s cool for NONE.

          Who are you, and what leads you to imply that I ever supported the cases against the Colorado or Oregon bakers?

          SDN in reply to SDN. | February 22, 2016 at 8:41 pm

          “Twitter is a private company. Private companies have free speech rights. ”

          In light of the Colorado and Oregon cases, no one can say that with a straight face. And it’s been false since 1964.

        malclave in reply to Amy in FL. | February 22, 2016 at 5:07 pm

        Make them play by their own rules. No reason conservatives should handicap themselves.

        rotten in reply to Amy in FL. | February 24, 2016 at 7:16 pm

        They are a government protected monopoly.

        (At least the patented parts of their business are government protected monopolies).

        I am fully in favor of pulling patent protections of Companies that provide public accomodations and don’t give their users their 14th Amendment Due process protections.

        I am also in favor of extending that protection to free speech as well.

        If this is adopted, Twitter could do whatever they wanted as a private company, but would lose their publicly granted monopoly protections if they didn’t play by the same rules that the government plays by.

      Ragspierre in reply to HandyGandy. | February 22, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      It’s telling that you knee-jerk in the direction of BIG GOVERNMENT regulation.

The legal analogy that I think of is are some malls post 9-11 which would not allow people in that had antiwar T-shirts in. I remember supporting those actions.

So what would make Twitter different? Well the most obvious one is that malls are for shopping, whereas Twitter is a form of speech and they are now restricting speech.

Another difference which is the one sitting in my mind. If mall A does not let you wear your antiwar shirt, you can go to the next mall with your antiwar shirt. Really you have no choice with Twitter.

That leaves me to wonder how do antitrust laws apply to Twitter?

    Ragspierre in reply to HandyGandy. | February 22, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Not. At. All.

    they are now restricting speech

    No, they’re not. You’re still just as free to speak as ever. Just not necessarily on their platform, using their resources.

    Sure, it’s frustrating. But what’s the alternative — the government stepping in and telling them how to run their business?

Thank you for an interesting and well-reasoned explication. Though personally I still think Twitter is just noise, and find it incredible that there are adults who take it seriously.

I figured Facebook was for people who couldn’t figure out HTML, and Twitter was for people who couldn’t figure out Facebook.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | February 22, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Libs have taunted me on other web sites because they are proud that lefties have “created” Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and righties are getting what they deserve when those orgs shut down conservatives.
Infuriating, only partially true, but with a grain of truth worth pondering. If/When/As conservative-inclusive products are available, make use of them. Support Christians (ChikFilA comes to mind).

Is there an alternative to AARP for example? I’m sure a LOT of businesses would gladly offer senior discounts to nearly any organization who vetted members’ ages. But we seem to be stuck with big-gov advocate AARP.

OK, Amy, then you should be supporting returning the Colorado and Oregon bakers the fines they paid, plus attorneys fees and court costs. Either coercion is cool for ALL private businesses, or it’s cool for NONE.

JimMtnViewCaUSA | February 22, 2016 at 4:31 pm

Excellent and important post by the way.
“Twitter is debuting a new advisory group dubbed the “Trust & Safety Council.” But a quick glance at its membership roster suggests the council is almost as Orwellian as it sounds—and overwhelmingly biased in favor of speech suppression.”

It’s up to all of us to fight back stubbornly. Certainly “they” have the high ground, it will be slow battle. It’s not just Twitter by any means.

Twitter is now dead. Still walking around, but dead. Saw someplace else that any conservative shareholder, actually, any shareholder now should sue the CEO for deliberately taking action to destroy the company’s value.

The barrier to entry to do what twitter has done is small and pathetically easy to out do.

I believe in the invisible hand.

I’ve cut my Amazon shopping to the bone after reflecting on the Confederate Flag censorship AND the fact that they are pretty much a 100% leftist company

You won’t see me posting to Facebook (and lately I’m refusing to go to even conservative sites that only use facebook.

I tried and dropped Twitter a longggg time ago.

    gulfbreeze in reply to Andy. | February 22, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    “The barrier to entry to do what twitter has done is small and pathetically easy to out do.”

    The technical barrier to entry is low. In fact, there have been some Twitter alternatives that have tried to succeed with a few added twists, and they have failed…see and Trrst (both open source). And many more failures of social media platforms that were not so similar to Twitter.

    Achieving the critical mass of users to create a financially viable Twitter alternative is what is hard. Very hard. Why? Because to date, the only vehicle that has been found to make social media financially viable is advertising.

    So it’s becomes the chicken-egg conundrum. Who wants to advertise on a social media platform that doesn’t offer a good return on investment via a large user base? Especially when Twitter/Facebook already exist and are soaking up corporate ad budgets.

      JSchuler in reply to gulfbreeze. | February 23, 2016 at 5:14 am required a subscription fee for full access. Of course it died. With Twitter, you can just go to a website, browse around, test the waters, search for tweets, all without even making an account. Then, later, if you like the service, you have apps that make it even more ridiculously convienient to use. With the exception of Quitter, every other service I’ve seen requires an account before you see anything, many require downloading a program/app, and some even require compiling it. They might technically be the same thing as Twitter, but the very first thing they all do is present the curious with a wall to climb over. Why wouldn’t they fail?

Twitter is or works on a concept not something under copyright or patented. How hard would it be to create a new one?

    CloseTheFed in reply to Milwaukee. | February 22, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Makes me wish I could code.

    rinardman in reply to Milwaukee. | February 22, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Probably not hard for someone with the knowledge & ability.

    The hardest part would most likely be defending it against the Soros funded lawfare trying to shut it down for being a conservative run social media company.

    gulfbreeze in reply to Milwaukee. | February 22, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    There are already open source Twitter alternatives…see Unfortunately, is on its deathbed.

    “How hard would it be to create a new one?”

    Technically? Not hard.
    Financial viability? Hard.
    See my post above.

    That’s what I keep saying. I refuse to believe all IT pros are raging liberals.

    I refuse to believe that because in my area, the VAST majority of IT folks are conservative, which makes sense: IT folks have to deal with the reality of the world as it is, with the tools and technology we have; not the fantasy of the world as we’d like it to be.

    So why on Earth are we hamstringing ourselves by depending on liberal-run Silicon Valley platforms instead of creating and providing our own? Heck, the ad campaign writes itself: “Social media got you down? Twitter and Facebook suspended you and your like-minded friends? Try our site instead!”

You would think some ambitious state AG would file a suit against Twitter for failing to register as a PAC.

Very soon there may be more reasons for content creators (not just conservative) to leave Twitter.

That’s because Twitter (much like Facebook has implemented with their Instant Articles an native videos) is testing out increasing its character length from 140 to ~10k. Why? Not simply to enable longer Twitter posts (you can do that in different ways already). Rather, to start hosting content on it’s own platform.

“Facebook is doing much the same: Its recent big push for native videos and Instant Articles—content hosted within the News Feed, rather than linking out—is ostensibly about a more seamless user experience. And, sure, that’s part of it. Facebook’s own research has told it that users hate clicking on links and waiting for pages to load in their browsers, particularly on their phones, where many websites still look terrible and function poorly. But it’s also a land grab on Facebook’s part, as I and others have explained. The social network is using its enormous active user base to persuade the media to give up control of their content and hand it over to Facebook. If they don’t, they’re likely to find that their links are bypassed by Facebook’s billion daily active users in favor of videos and stories that appear at full length directly in the News Feed.

“How exactly Twitter will implement its version of Instant Articles remains to be seen. But it’s a good bet that the incentives driving this change are similar. Twitter, like Facebook, has long played the role of a switchboard that routes people to in-depth stories elsewhere on the Web. This is great for those other sites, but not so great for Twitter, which is essentially giving away one of the Internet’s most valuable commodities: readers’ attention. It’s a great service, but one that a financially struggling company probably figures it can’t afford to provide anymore. To satisfy its investors, Twitter needs all the attention it can get. Consider this its latest bid for yours.”

And they chose an important time to do so. An election year when a iconic but dislikeable feminist is attempting to get elected to the highest office.

It’s no coincidence that they chose now to do this.

We can only hope that other means of interconnection will be found by those that require it.

I have never used twitter and never depended on it for interaction with others.

I also am suspicious of Disqus and the use of Facebook comments (note the capitulation by Hot Air) as this allows the censoring by others who may have their own political agenda. (I don’t know about disqus and their politics but Facebook has a clear interest in the Pres. outcome.)

    jakee308 in reply to jakee308. | February 23, 2016 at 2:18 am

    A quick look shows that Disqus is owned by a company in San Francisco. That does not bode well for assuming any conservative neutral attitudes by it’s employees and perhaps higher.

    So far I haven’t heard anything that they’ve DONE but it’s assured that they COULD do whatever they wish.

      In late January I started posting on Disqus’s new discussion forums. It used to be that Disqus was used only for commenting on other people’s blogs, but now you can create your own forum topic and moderate it yourself. After a few days of posting conservative opinions, my ability to post on Disqus was globally removed.

      I found their support email address and started asking for reinstatement, and kept after them. They sent me three canned responses and then after about a week they sent a long personal response. Basically, even though it took a while, they fixed the problem and acknowledged that it was THEIR problem. I like that, and I will continue to use Disqus. Here’s what they said:

      Apologies for the delay with your case.

      We’ve gone ahead and requeued for Moderation all of your comments which were falsely marked as spam, and removed your account from the blacklist. This will allow Site Moderators to review them and approve or delete the comments according to their sites posting guidelines and should help prevent any further comments from your account on those sites from getting marked as spam.

      If any of your comments are marked as spam in the future, we recommend reaching out to the moderator of the site where the comment was posted to request it be approved. When at least one false-positive comment is approved on a site, it will prevent other comments made by the same author from getting automatically marked as spam on that site.

      Please note that we’re currently looking into how comments are automatically marked as spam and we apologize for any undo hassle caused by comments being marked as spam too harshly.

      For more information on why a comment might get automatically marked as spam, please visit:

    I haven’t had any trouble with Disqus, other than some sites’ Disqus set-up not allowing “too many” HTML tags or links to other articles (which is useful in a debate/discussion to reinforce your point). But as I understand it, that’s a setting that determines how Disqus runs on an individual site, and not a problem with Disqus itself. Other sites I visit that use Disqus for comments don’t have the issue.

    Overall they seem pretty open and neutral.

    bobbelvedere in reply to rudytbone. | February 23, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    I’m trying FreezePeach – test driving it, if you will. I like that I was able to use the same User Name as I have on Twitter: @BobBelvedere

Well, I’m not a prisoner any more, not that anyone will care. Deactivated Twitter account today.

Hey, amigo! Remember me? You were nice enough to give me Blog of the Day links from time to time. I’m a friend of Leslie’s. I’ve been blogging every day for over 10 years now and I’ve seen what Twitter has done to all of us. Yes, I use it, yes I enjoy it, but truth be told, it’s vapid.

140 characters to discuss how Greece is being cut free from the EU and thrown to the “immigrants” as the other states build walls? Hardly.

I, for one, would welcome a return to the old days when bloggers linked to each other and it required a bit more than a soundbite to be worthy of some traffic.

Sorry if this may look like an ad, it is not. We are developing Twitter dashboards that aggregate Tweets outside of Twitter, no ads, no logins on our site.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

For the Campaign we have; I’m working on the site for opinion folks.


    gulfbreeze in reply to THCarroll. | February 26, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Excellent concept and convenient… nice to have all of the feeds in one spot, and have resources I otherwise would not see.
    In short…it’s easy.
    You probably intended that.
    Good news is you succeeded.
    Bookmarked it and will be using it regularly.