The events of this past week and the fallout from them have led me to an existential crisis regarding my writing. I think everyone knows that free speech has its limits. The limit is that speech that incites violence is illegal.
I realize there is a lot of debate about the speech from this summer versus the President’s address last week. Both sides are trying to justify themselves by lowering the bar even further regarding civilized behavior versus primal emotions that drive our words and actions.
This weekend the argument took an unexpected turn when the three big tech giants teamed up to take down a conservative forum site. Although I had never heard of the site, I will admit this activity gave me pause. These large corporations can shut down entities that are virtually customers. For right or wrong reasons, those actions are monopolistic.
Because most writers, including myself, have to interact with these corporations, it left me wondering what this will mean for the future. I spent twenty-seven years in corporate America during my software career. Frankly, the day I retired, I rejoiced that I would never again be accountable to them as an employee. This weekend changed that for many of us. The triune monopoly has shown they are now treating their customers like employees, attempting to dictate our actions.
So, the question becomes, why do I need them, and why do I write? I think this is a good question for anything you do in life. Am I trying to gain recognition or wealth? If the answer is yes, I am probably going to have to bow to their whims. If I am writing because I enjoy creating and believe I can show God’s grace and Son through my stories, then I should not worry about what exposure I receive for my work through these companies.
This paragraph usually is where one summarizes their conclusions, but I have none at the moment. I realized that early on, I was trying to gain eyeballs into my work and I paid and lost a lot of money. That is not my motivation now. However, the question remains, how do your stories get read if you are not going through the big three and creating tales that their algorithms approve and promote?
I will wrap up with one thought. If you are a creator or have thought about becoming a writer, an artist, a maker, whatever you are feeling led to be, ask yourself, what is your goal? If you plan to use the internet, consider your beliefs, what limits your business will have to remain in to be considered acceptable. Think about the restrictions on social media, if that matters to you. Once you have these answers, then move forward.