Existential (Part 2): You can only say what THEY want you to say…?

Photo: Brian Wangenheim at UnSplash

I had a completely different update to share this week about plans for this site

However: something happened that gave me a disturbing glimpse into a possible future.

Control your own narrative

Now more than ever it’s critically important to have complete and direct control of your own narrative.

Hopefully I’m preaching to the choir on this, but just in case you still doubt the importance of having your own website as your main platform, running that alongside your social media activity, consider my anecdotal evidence as a sober cautionary tale.

(P.S. Make no mistake: it IS a lot of additional work. But it’s totally worth it)

Publish Everywhere

Now that I’m back on the update trail I publish to all the UKGospel social feeds: Twitter, Instagram and – despite reports of its slow demise and alleged increasing irrelevance – Facebook (anyone still using Facebook?)

As part of the promotion for the first article in this series I published a link to it to my personal profile, as well as the UKGospel Facebook page using exactly the same text.

False advertising, fraud and security breaches

Next morning I wake up to what I’m assuming is an automated message from Facebook: the post on my personal profile had contravened their guidelines and ‘breached their community standards on spam’. It was now only visible to me.

This, they say, was to ‘prevent false advertising, fraud and security breaches’

Facebook says no.

Offending Post

And the context of the offending post?

Me gushing about how incredibly amazing WordPress’ free service has become: many of the options I had to pay for a year ago (including Spotify embeds), were now free.

That’s it.

Facebook didn’t like me posting this same entry on the page and my personal profile

AI Overlords

I doubt this is Facebook preventing me from promoting a competing service (the same entry on the page is still there)

The worrying part is this: in recent years, more and more power has been handed over to algorithms: our AI overlords, not human beings actually determine what we do – and don’t – see.

Today it’s preventing me from posting the same thing to my personal profile and page, but to be fair I get how some semi-sentient code somewhere might interpret that as spammy.

But what about when I post something significantly more important tomorrow?

Your Own Website

Which brings me to my point: there’s always going to be another shiny thing: think of the social network evolution from MySpace to Facebook to YouTube to Twitter to Instagram to TikTok.

The one constant in this evolving state of affairs should be your content hosted on your own website, in addition to social media.

In fact I recommend pointing people back to your website as part of your general social media strategy.

This way you – not AI – have control of your narrative, with the added benefit of you training your audience to know where to go for information about you, regardless of what the hottest social platform of the day is.

Digital Hub

And don’t think of a ‘website’ as HTML pages your audience accesses from their desktop or mobile devices.

Think ‘digital hub’: your mobile-first digital presence. It could be an app in place of (or in addition to) your HTML site, for example.

By far and away the most important takeaway here: have a place where you can say what you want to say, exactly how you want to say it without third party intervention, human or otherwise.

have a place where you can say what you want to say, exactly how you want to say it without third party intervention, human or otherwise.

Your walled garden

That place shouldn’t only be a social media network/platform, no matter how popular and powerful they get.

Ultimately those platforms and services should be tools that bring people into your own walled garden (not just Mark Zuckerberg or Adam Mosseri‘s).

That way if (should that be ‘when’?) these services go down, become less relevant or seek to restrict you in some shape or form, it becomes a nuisance and inconvenience, but nothing more serious – like completely losing your content.

Your ‘digital hub’ should be the epicentre of your universe.

See you next week

Yinka Awojobi
Content Development

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