Social media has revolutionized the way we interact with one another and for the most part it has enriched our lives. However, there is a down side to this wonderful experience and it boils down to being a slave to their vices.
Small Business Powerhouse
Recently, my good friend and fellow firearms instructor, Pat McNamara had his Instagram account shut down. Unless you have lived under a rock for the last decade you know Instagram is a picture story telling platform. Before we get too far into what happened, let’s talk about the impact platforms such as Instagram have on small business and entrepreneurs. More than a third of American adults use social media in some capacity. That number has steadily climbed over the years and if you are an astute business person then you realize the strategic value of engaging with the public via these platforms. I, unlike many of my contemporaries refused to jump on the bandwagon early on and paid dearly.
Hard Lesson To Learn
Call it residue operational security or the idea of being the silent professional I did not embrace these platforms and it was a mistake. As a small business owner social media allows you to connect directly with your customer/fan base. Most consumers use social media to explore and research new brands. Part of this discovery is getting to know you, your brand and your services. It allows the small business owner to leverage a robust marketing strategy without breaking the bank. Recent studies have shown the value of social media engagement towards fast tracking a brand towards more prominence in their field. All in all, this is a powerful tool literally in the palm of your hand.
Censorship Is Never Cool
So, what is the catch. To put it bluntly, censorship. The suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive” is considered censorship. When people impose their political, ideological or moral values on others by denying them a voice it is censorship. It is an ugly word with an equally sinister agenda. Regardless of where you stand or what your beliefs you have to recognize the pendulum swings both ways. You may be sitting there and secretly celebrating when a toxic individual, who spreads hatred and or threats is locked out of their account. You might be thinking, “good, they get what they deserve.” I’m not the judge of their actions or consequences, but I do know it is a slippery slope to start interfering with free speech.
I personally believe one of the worse things to happen to our society is the introduction of the politically correct movement. Being politically correct is nothing more than a form of censorship. If you do not subscribe to the winning team’s values then you are labeled non-politically correct. There in lies the problem, we are not on the winning team. While we may be righteous in our beliefs and the pursuit of our freedoms, we are at the mercy of those who control the social media platforms. Back to Pat and his recent experience. For no apparent reason he was shut down, locked out of his account. I got wind of it almost immediately and within a short period of time there was great synergy from the firearms community to help. Very quickly he started a new profile and with the help of a lot of people was able to share what was happening. Joe Rogan found out about it and used his voice to help get the word out and then other folks were able to get involved and help him get his original account back on line.
The Lines Are Blurred
The moral to the story is in today’s volatile climate you don’t have to speak out or against. You just have to be successful, be a good person or be a role model for others to follow. What happened to Pat can happen to anyone of us and more likely less than a positive outcome. Some are quick to encourage the small business to seek out other options, but the whole point to these social media platforms is they give the little guy a fighting chance. They allow us to compete on a much larger scale. It is not that easy, to jump ship and try something else out when you so heavily rely on these platforms to make a living. Like it or not, there are not many other options.
About the only thing we can do is band together and let our collective voices be heard. It worked for Pat, hopefully we don’t see this happen often, but maybe it will work for others.