Are you a reluctant user of social media? You may have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but find their purposes meaningless. I’ve been there at one point, too. We all have. For the conservative movement to thrive beyond November, however, movement activists must adapt or risk obsolescence if they fail to use social media effectively.
Headlines earlier this year revealed apparent bias at Facebook against conservatives. (They have since claimed they will provide employee training to remedy this problem.) Twitter has banned conservatives from the platform. And Instagram –although no reported controversies over banning conservatives have yet been documented–is a preferred social media platform for politically inactive leftists, recording to a 2014 study.
It’s odd that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram lean left, given the vehicle from which they came from–free enterprise–is something the Left admonishes on a daily basis. Nevertheless, they are winning the digital war of ideas.
How do we be as competitive, if not more competitive, than our counterparts on social media? Start following the latest social media trends. I will briefly focus on new Instagram and Twitter updates to be aware of:
The beauty of the Instagram community is the diversity of its members. All different types of people — from diverse backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and more — call Instagram home, but sometimes the comments on their posts can be unkind. To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment. It’s not only my personal wish to do this, I believe it’s also our responsibility as a company. So, today, we’re taking the next step to ensure Instagram remains a positive place to express yourself.
The first feature we’re introducing is a keyword moderation tool that anyone can use. Now, when you tap the gear icon on your profile, you’ll find a new Comments tool. This feature lets you list words you consider offensive or inappropriate. Comments containing these words will be hidden from your posts. You can choose your own list of words or use default words we’ve provided. This is in addition to the tools we’ve already developed such as swiping to delete comments, reporting inappropriate comments and blocking accounts.
We know tools aren’t the only solution for this complex problem, but together we can work toward keeping Instagram a safe place for self-expression. My commitment to you is that we will keep building features that safeguard the community and maintain what makes Instagram a positive and creative place for everyone.
Many of us–myself included–have been harassed on this platform. It would be nice to have abusive comments deleted from Instagram posts, and maybe this feature will stop people from abusing spamming privileges. If it’s intended to silence speech–especially speech of the conservative variety–that could have serious implications. It’s imperative to see if this feature will be abused or if it’ll stop actual harassment. Time will tell. I say take it with a grain of salt and continue to post there.
Beginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform’s 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages.
Another new adjustment to the character limit is that usernames will no longer count when they’re at the beginning of replies, giving users additional room for discussion. It’s unclear whether all of these changes will occur simultaneously; certain content types may gradually stop counting against the character limit in stages.