I am writing this article today, to reflect about 11+ years and some 500,000 Tweets I have shared, reflected, outlined, coached, schooled, educated, referenced, promoted or participated in over the past decade plus. YES – Twitter has become today’s super ‘DIGITAL TOWN SQUARE’.
Now approaching 500,000 Tweets – I have thought long and often why, how and when I had the time, passion or motivation to share my insights, ideas, passions, music, videos, hare images/pictures, quotes, research, trends, tips, ideas and values to my friends, family and Twitter Flock since June 2008.
Additionally, to add some perspective, I have been on Twitter longer than President Donald J Trump e.g. @realdonaldtrump AND, he has only Tweeted 42,000 times as at the time of writing this post. So, I have learned the craft and skills to make a social media impact and put my digital marketing skills and influence to use since the earliest days online!
It was June 2008 when I first joined Twitter. In fact, I was Director of Business Development & Public Relations at Agency.com New York. We were a global Interactive Agency owned by The Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC) that had great brands in New York like: Skittles, Mars, P&G, LG Electronics, HP, Del Monte, Discovery Channel, British Airways, Dulux, Energizer, IKEA, T-Mobile, etc. – I thought if would be an invaluable marketing tool. Our services included website design and development, interactive marketing, search marketing and rich media development.
I had initially hoped Twitter New York or San Francisco – I would get me ‘verified’ quickly as I was already an Internet Pioneer! YES…and still waiting ! ( Jack Dorsey @jack ) even though I am one of the real power users for Twitter for over a decade and once ranked in top 1% worldwide! I even started my Internet Marketing career in the mid 1990’s with OzEmail Internet, with former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull – which listed on the NASDAQ in 1996.
Having been a ‘Mad Man’ for over 30+ years working on iconic brands and clients globally e.g. (New York City, San Francisco, Taipei, London, Singapore, Sydney, Wellington, Hong Kong, etc). And, I have always believed – customers/brands and clients are the new market-makers, reshaping industries and changing how businesses compete and win!
When I first started on Twitter over 11+ years ago, I used to always believe – success depends on how well and how fast you respond. BUT, I have seen how the ‘online community’, once a very open and friendly ‘TOWN SQUARE’ has now become more ‘left-wing’ and seriously run by some very extreme left-wing management in 2019. Especially with todays ‘Technocrats’ or Silicon Valley companies like: Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube and Apple.
I personally, believe sites today that censor people based on their ideology is election meddling and dangerous. When companies interfere with the 1st Amendment – its a blatant attempt at ‘social engineering’ AND, certainly unfair and against the US Constitution as far as I am concerned.
To me, both Facebook and Twitter have ‘morphed’ into publishers and not the platforms they once preached and launched with.
Therefore, I firmly believe they must be held accountable to the same standards and applicable laws inside the US. Banning content is simply wrong in 2019. (Additionally, I once had 1.2 million Twitter Followers and hundreds of thousands more Followers on Facebook too!)
Importantly, a publisher is more than just a company or person that curates and distributes content. Publishers also pay for content to be produced, e.g. through editorial staff. Facebook and Twitter now do this and even censor people or companies they disagree with today.
Additionally, for years, Facebook has insisted that it isn’t a publisher or media company BUT, rather is just a platform. Facebook’s legal defense includes making the claim that it is a publisher and can exercise editorial discretion, as protected by the first amendment.
Always remember this – The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the rights to freedom of speech and of the press, to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. These guarantees affect me every day and empower me as a citizen seeking to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Importantly, I understand from our Founders, the First Amendment Doesn’t Protect: Hate Speech, Inciting violence, supporting Terrorism, Defamation, true threats OR…publishing confidential, trade secrets, or copyright material may be a civil or criminal offense, depending on the nature of the intellectual property that is being published without permission, and the jurisdiction in which the offense occurs. I’m not going to even attempt to discuss this in any detail, because the rules are just too complex and will save for next article.
When I first started with Twitter in 2008, I was working in New York City and always wanted to be able to share and update my clients on the latest trends, tips and tactics in marketing, PR, Digital and advertising. And, in those days, Twitter was a fabulous, happy and open online community for all!
However, an analysis from The Outline stated, that right-leaning sites were the hardest hit by recent changes. The site found “engagement totals for February 2019 dropping as much as 55 percent for some, while the engagement numbers of most predominantly liberal publishers remained unaffected.”
In fact, during late January 2019, Facebook changed its algorithms. This resulted in greatly decreased traffic for many Facebook pages on the ‘right’ (conservative/populist), as well as those websites which relied upon Facebook traffic. And, Twitter, YouTube and others have also followed suit.
As an Advertising, Marketing and Digital Pioneer and growing up with a strong belief in the American Flag (Stars & Stripes), The National Anthem, a strong Military, the bald eagle (our national bird), the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the US Capitol, the White House, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty (a gift from France), a business powerhouse and a free country.
I have always felt proud, blessed and honored to be called an American or even a Patriot when I was younger and living overseas in Australia as a child. Despite the fact that the Vietnam war ending in 1973 Australia was geographically closer to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia than the US.
Additionally, I grew up valuing our long-standing social and legal traditions which have protected America’s liberty and national greatness since 1776. Liberty, prosperity and defending our nation are the conservative values that I grew up with and have always admired. I also value capitalism, limited government and nationalism.
I believe our Constitutional republic, was based on English common-law traditions with Judeo-Christian values and Western customs was part of the great American culture. YES, I am even a ‘God-fearing’ man today!
I am very ‘pro-business’, pro-growth, love competition and innovation and generally reject idiotic socialist policies. And, watching Venezuela, People’s Republic of China, Cuba and Vietnam the last decade has certainly reinforced my personal views that the best politicians like Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan or now Donald Trump – have always staunchly believed in the economic policies that were best for the USA.
In fact, watching Mark Spitz win all those Olympic swimming medals, the US Hockey and Basketball teams dominating, the thriving economy – I have always been proud of the US. Unabashedly patriotic too!
The only time, my pride was questioned was during the Vietnam days shortly after I moved from New York to Australia and I was told as a child – ‘GO HOME YANK’ – that was the first time I ever questioned my birth right and heritage. BUT, that did not make any lasting impact on my beliefs and it only focused me more!
BUT, flash forward to the last three years, I am really perplexed as to why Facebook, Google, YouTube, Apple, PayPal and Twitter are attempting to censor American values and traditional standards in the ‘DIGITAL TOWN SQUARE’ by NOT accommodating or tolerating more conservative expressions and conversations on social media in 2019?
I know and see hundreds of my ‘conservative’ and ‘populist’ American friends that are also frustrated with censorship by social media platforms Facebook, YouTube, Google and Twitter. e.g. James Woods, Louis Farrakhan, Candace Owen, Raheem Kassam, Paul Joesph Watson, Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopolous, Rose McGowan, Tommy Robinson, PewDiePie, Courtney Love, Clint Eastwood, 50 Cent and more. (these people are simply ‘dangerous people’ either!
Importantly, I can’t understand why many of these social media giants still allow literal Holocaust deniers to post and get verified still??
These “DIGITAL TOWN SQUARES” were once more accommodating to the expression of conservative values. As a digital pioneer in San Francisco in 1999 – I can assure you, San Francisco was always about FREEDOM of SPEECH and illustrated at the once great campus of UC Berkeley. I was appalled in 2017 to watch, protests and clashes between anti-Trump protesters, including activists such as socialists, anarchists and Antifa groups ‘squaring off” with pro-Trump, Populist, Republican, Church and conservative groups.
Setting fires, throwing rocks, attacking members of the crowd (especially conservative Americans) is just not acceptable today or ever! Police at Berkeley even confiscated several weapons from attendees of the rally, including baseball bats, bricks, metal pipes, pieces of lumber and a dagger
In fact, The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a massive, long-lasting student protest which took place during the 1964–65 academic year on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley. The Movement was informally under the central leadership of Berkeley graduate student Mario Savio. AND…this was truly still the case when I arrived in San Francisco in 1999 from New York!
After all, Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc., all built themselves into global juggernauts by relying in part on the freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and America’s (relatively) free enterprise system.
Having started my digital career in the mid 1990’s, I saw it ramp up in San Francisco from 1999 and beyond – I was stunned to see many US Politicians (Republicans and Democrats) opening the floodgates to as many H1-B visas as possible and spoon-feeding Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, etc. to bring more foreign tech workers into California and the US for massively lower labor costs.
Additionally, speaking with Fox News, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) admonished Google and Twitter over anti-conservative censorship, saying they “should be reined in” and calling for a new search engine that doesn’t censor conservatives. Nunes also furiously stated – ‘Google And Twitter For “Nazi” GOP Search Results and Censoring Drudge Report’
Note: Google was called out after a search result showed the word “Nazism” under the California Republican Party’s ideology – while a search result for North Carolina GOP state senator Trudy Wade included a picture with the word “BIGOT” plastered across the bottom.
In fact, it was about in 2008/9 while I was working in New York City, that I first really noticed Facebook, Twitter, Google becoming more entrenched, wealthy and pervasive globally. But, after President Trump was elected President, it certainly has escalated dramatically!
BOTTOMLINE : After a Donald J Trump convincing beat Hillary Clinton to become our 45th President, I personally believe:
- Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook),
- Jack Dorsey (Twitter),
- Sundar Pichai, (Google)
- Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and
- Susan Wojcicki (YouTube)
…all became too wealthy, monopolistic, interconnected, less nationalistic, globalists, authoritarian, that transformed to become pervasive global corporate phenoms or New World Order (partly on the backs of our personal data that they’ve exploited with much recent controversy)
Importantly, Facebook, Google/Alphabet/YouTube and Twitter now are changing the rules of engagement during the post 2016 Presidential Elections. Earlier this year, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who has been under scrutiny for Facebooks social media company’s role in spreading misinformation and inadequately policing content, called for regulators to play a “more active role” in establishing rules for the internet.
In April 2018, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated Facebook is “responsible for the content” on its platform. It’s a departure from how Internet companies have traditionally viewed themselves — as ‘neutral platforms’ generally not responsible for what people post and share on their services. And, having lived and worked in San Francisco initially in 1999 – I do note it was only from September 26, 2006, Facebook opened to everyone at least 13 years old with a valid email address BUT, it only recently started ‘purging’ and censoring thousands of accounts. e.g. “coordinated inauthentic behavior” and spamming.
I truly believe in God and despite all the trying times, privacy scandals, censorship, shadow-banning and removing conservative voices from many social networks- I truly believe the US, God, justice, truth and America will win in the end. (I too think the days of ‘globalism’ are behind us now too – yes, the ‘sun is setting’ under the English/ British Empire control.)
Summary – in my mind, Twitter is the only social network where brands and consumers truly have an even playing field and unrestricted lines of clear, concise communication. And, I pray it stays that way!
With the 2020 elections soon upon us – I see a swell of more conservative voices, freedom, growth, nationalism restoring the light of the world and build America into an even bigger, brighter future. Built on ideology, ethos, culture and freedom.
I was thrilled to read President Trump and The White House even recently Tweeting the following post on Thousands of Americans have told the White House about facing political bias on social media platforms at http://whitehouse.gov/techbias .
Finally, this war on free speech in America must stop! Without your support, we can all be silenced. Lets get back to the days when artists, actors, musicians, bands, sporting legends, stars, Ministers/Pastors, politicians, business and even working people were much more bold in expressing their opinions, values and weaponizing social media wasn’t even an issue.
About Geoff De Weaver:
Super strategist who directs Fortune 500 clients to define their vision, create a strategy, and harness their internal innovation to grow their business or reinvent their products.
Expert at building and transforming brands, businesses, and digital and physical customer experiences at scale.
History of success developing and executing cross-channel global marketing campaigns to drive brand positioning, equity, and awareness while increasing engagement and sales and loyalty.
Innovative entrepreneur, author, speaker, and advertising executive with vast expertise driving business growth, reinventing brands, and implementing global marketing campaigns.
Connect with me at:
Twitter at: https://twitter.com/geoff_deweaver
Amazon Authors on: Geoff’s Books, Biography and Blog