Aaaaand this is the third and final post in my Social Media Revisited series.
The first and most important thing I want to say about Gab is this: DON’T believe everything you hear! This is especially true when considering Gab. I like to say that Gab is what you make of it. I did touch on the reason I believe this before, but it bears repeating. (The CEO of Gab is a Christian by the way, and very principled, which explains some of the vitriol directed toward him!)
There are all kinds of people and opinions on Gab. It is true free speech, not “free speech EXCEPT for bad words” or “free speech EXCEPT angry opinions about people” or “free speech EXCEPT unpopular opinions” or “free speech EXCEPT what *I* don’t like” – it is true free speech, in its most pure and unadulterated form. And that is the beauty of it. As well as the rarity of it. And that’s why so many people are threatened by it. It isn’t like everywhere else, and many feel that it should be destroyed for that reason. (Does that tell you anything about our 1st Amendment rights? They’ve ALREADY been watered-down to the point that freedom of speech in all its glory looks evil to most people!)
So that is what you can expect from Gab. And you can also expect to find people that are a lot like you. And you can expect to find people able to discuss differences with intellect, facts, and respect – as well as people able only to call others names because that’s all they know to do. (Never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man, as they say…)
You are not at the mercy of the wilding crowd, however. Gab is quite easily used without hanging out in the rougher areas of town. Find some groups that match your interests when you join. Crochet, nature, photography, painting, and other creative pursuits are a good start, if you have such interests. I started out with a Christian Ladies group, a couple dogs/pets groups, one about rural living, a couple about music, etc. First, I’d peruse the “general mayhem” discussion (as I like to think of it, with love) or Home page briefly, see if any of the posters there seems like my cup of tea – and visited their profiles/followed them if they were – before going to my groups. I would also read, post, offer humor or comments of agreement or support or whatever to as many posts as I could everywhere I went. My list of followers as well as list of people I followed grew quite quickly in that way.
Within a week I felt at home on Gab and was thoroughly enjoying my experience. There were plenty of friends to be made and posts to be enjoyed without ever jumping in the fray unless I wanted to. Home, however, is where the fun was, so that beautiful mayhem has become a big part of my Gab life as well. I just mute those who are too offensive to my particular brand of morality, or unfollow those who turned out to be not quite what I had expected.
So my advice for the timid who still want to try Gab: Be nice. Be supportive. Take an interest in others and their thoughts. Treat everyone how you would like to be treated. Be respectful. Smile while you type. And by all means, remember that that person to whom you are responding has a heart and failures and successes and delights and sadness just like you do.
I am certain that you will also find out that free speech is worthy of our respect rather than our hatred – or our fear.