Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Price of Freedom

While I am not sure it is the perfect analogy I remember seeing a scene from the 1940 Disney Pinocchio movie when I was a little kid that I have always remembered. Pinocchio and a bunch of bad boys go to Pleasure Island. There they are able to engage in all types of bad and illegal behavior. It is a paradise for bad boys. However, the island is cursed. Over time all the boys become literal donkeys or "jackasses". The donkeys are then taken away.

That is what I think of regarding the free social media and news sites out there. There is a lot of hiding behind anonymity or the comfort of your own pc/cell phone to say all sorts of crazy things one would never say in public. That is one thing. The other that bothers me a little more is that after all these years of allowing a free service they are starting to clamp down on free speech. 
Over the years I have been doing this blog I have always mentioned at times that I was a bit skeptical of social media and especially Youtube. They were offering something for free usage, yet I have always wondered what the real price would be. The terms of service would always change every six months or so. I would always say something like, "It is not the changes now that I am worried about, but the changes they will make in six months." 
#1 I do not do Youtube Ads
The first thing I want to mention is the issue of the ads on Youtube. One thing they announced in November, 2020 was the right to advertise on any video someone uploads. So basically, you do all the work and they get to put up ads for their own revenue benefit on your videos. They are a private company, have the right to do that, but its sets a sad precedent after all these years.

I have always intended the videos I put up to be something fun and for free. I never got into this thinking it was a way to make money. In fact, quite the opposite since I will never get back the time and money I have put into it. So, in the future, if you see any ads running on any of my videos, then know that it was done without my permission, not my doing, and I do not get any revenue from it. I have never put up ads on anything I have done. I do reserve the right to change my thinking on this, but the situation would have to be a lot different than it is or where it is going. Honestly, not really worth my time and the hassle. 

Yes, I recommend ad-blockers. UBlock Origin is my current favorite. Even the ads I am "forced" to watch I never do. In fact, I recommend not purchasing anything from these types of ads since a good percentage of them are outright scams. 


#2 Freedom of Speech for US, but not for YOU
The second thing related to Youtube and most of social media right now is the issue of free speech. A lot has happened in the past ten years on this. I always thought something like Twitter was really silly. Someone writes out a limited message for everyone to see. It started out with stuff like, "I am going to the grocery store today!" to the last few years where people are getting their major world news off it. I still think people take something like this way to seriously. I mean, can you imagine saying to someone that, "I am really popular on twitter. Have you checked out my award winning tweets?" Do not even get me started on news articles selectively quoting tweets as the basis for their articles. That immediately tells me that the news reporter is saying, "Don't take me seriously".

Then in the last few years I started to see arbitrary rules being made up and enforced on a lot of people I follow on these social media platforms. That is the major political issue regarding free speech in the U.S., "Is the social media site a platform or are they a publisher?" Then due to the U.S. election cycle I started to see outright bans and suspensions on people I follow.  

I thought it was interesting that some months ago right before the U.S. election, Yahoo News articles suspended commenting on any of their articles. I do not make a habit of reading comments on sites like that, but I thought that was interesting since most of what the news articles are on there are recycled click bait. It was their attempt to stop people from pointing out and countering how bad and fake their news is.

How does this affect me on this blog and on the sites I share my content? Practically, not very much right now. I am not a person that is throwing out political commentary. Most of what I do is meant to be fun and educational. It is rather tame and family friendly for I what I consider normal people. If someone sees me showing where a movie western gunfight was filmed is somehow a political statement, then I just have to throw my hands up. Yes, I know there are people that read into everything we do as political statements. 

However, I am using sites that I see major logical inconsistency regarding the creation and enforcing of rules on others. There is a sense that every time I log in to these sites I am "supporting" what they are doing. Part of this is a lot of these sites do not have competition. I was pushing for this years ago. I tried to support Vimeo as a competitor to Youtube a long time ago. Vimeo kind of went into a direction I did not care. Also, I did not think the type of videos I do really worked on their site. My videos were not "artistic" in the same way I saw others that use that site.

#3 Competitive Solution(s)
So at this time I am thinking I want to spread out future content to other potential sites. I have made a few accounts elsewhere that I am going to test. There is one video I have in mind I might try as an exclusive to that site and link it here. 
I still intend to keep everything on Youtube and post future content there. I do see the need to find a way for the public to keep them, along with all the other social media sites, in check. They have become a little too powerful and controlling. Competition is needed in this area. Sometimes you have to wonder if we the users are actually customers or actually the product. The product being our private information being sold to others.
As I have said in the past, check this blog for any news I do. Do not go looking for me on other platforms out there. Everything I do starts here.