Recently, people have been all a-Twitter about breaking up social media due to censorship, while others have privacy concerns. Some conservatives have even called for the creation of alternatives to Facebook. While I'm not against the idea of someone starting a conservative, free speech loving, privacy-protecting alternative to Facebook, it's not as simple to do as it sounds. Below, I offer multiple reasons why this would be a difficult task:
1. The concept: Simply just copying Mark Zuckerberg's idea and the look, design, and function of Facebook but with a conservative slant would not work. For a new social media network to work and gain users, it needs to offer something new and not just offer a ripped off version of another platform. If you look at the most popular social networks, each offers something unique to audiences: Instagram (photo sharing with filters), Snapchat (disappearing videos), Twitter (angry Hollywood leftists that are fun to laugh at) YouTube (piano playing cats and Mark Gormley videos).
2. Creative talent: Regardless of your thoughts about Zuckerberg and the rest of the tech wizards, you have to admit that the Facebook founder and the rest are very talented, creative, smart people. You need someone on the right that has the skills and talent to create a new platform. Yes, you can find conservative computer programmers and conservatives that work in the industry, but you need to find conservatives that also have the vision to make their ideas a reality.
3. Funding: You need cash. Lots of cash to make any startup website, conservative or not, to have a chance at success. With Silicon Valley leaning left, you may have to think outside the box for startup funding.
4. Remember number three? You need more cash for marketing, promotion, business expenses, and employees.
5. Patience: It takes any business you could ever start time to succeed. This wouldn't be a quick overnight success that would take off like a U.S. rocket toward North Korea in the Pacific Ocean. You'd have to have years of patience plus a lot of hard work to make it last.
6. Users: You could have the coolest social site on the internet, but if you have no users, then none of it matters. It's hard to change people's habits once they get used to something else whether it be Facebook, watching another nightly newscast when they've watched the same local news for 20 years, etc. Changing people's habits is a hard thing to do, and conservatives may think millions would leave en masse if an alternative to Facebook went online, but I think it'd be hard to change many people's habit of using the website because they've grown accustomed to using the social site. Plus, most users have years of their lives stored on the service including photos and videos.
I'm sure I've missed some angles on this topic, but that should at least offer a starting point concerning some of the main problems that would transpire if someone decided to give it a go and start a well-funded conservative alternative to Facebook or another social network.
This article isn't a criticism of the concept or idea, but instead, this essay is trying to be honest about the realities one would face if they did decide to try to build a conservative social media website.
I'm all for a conservative social network, and I hope this article can help a conservative entrepreneur figure out how to make it actually work.
Chad Whittle, Ph.D. holds a doctoral degree in mass communication and is the host of “A Whittle Bit of Commentary.” Subscribe today to his podcast on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play. Read his daily column at ChadWhittle.com and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.