Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold. – Traditional folk song sung by Girl Scouts.
I must say that though the song lyrics above teach a rather important lesson to children–don’t abandon old good friends just because new friends come into your life–adhering to this lesson is sometimes difficult with regard to the complicated relationships of adults.
I’ve been wanting to write about a situation concerning the writers group I frequent, Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance, of which I have been a member since 2014.
The moderators and owners of the brand/group have recently moved the group from Facebook to MeWe, an up and coming social media site. This was done because Facebook has become increasingly hostile to liberty minded groups and individuals, with suspensions, account lock-downs, removal of sites and pages, and the outright ban of actual persons.
This move, though spoken about for at least 6 months, was made in mid October with a two week grace period before the Facebook page was closed for posting by anyone but the moderators, and the group discussion was moved to MeWe.
The reasons for the move as I understand them are:
1. To create discussion on a platform that is not hostile to Conservatives and Libertarians and to deny Facebook the traffic generated by the group’s presence on their platform.
2. To have a safety net on another platform in case Facebook finally gets around to purging the CLFA page, which according to Facebook’s recent actions might contain, in the opinion of the people who run Facebook, ban-worthy ideas, speech, and thought.
The Facebook page remains open under the brand name for now, in case the MeWe move does not work out, or if God forbid there is an attempted shut-down of MeWe because they allow all ideologies on their platform as long as they don’t violate MeWe’s TOS.
The above is not at all far-fetched. The site Gab.ai was recently tossed off their hosting site because one of the members–a reprehensible, hateful, criminal–posted antisemitic content and then went on to commit murder at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.
I’m not commenting on Gab’s plight, merely saying that de-platforming of a social media site is not unheard of.
Now, back to old friends.
When the move to MeWe was announced, many group members were very upset about it, and heated discussions took place in the group.
To make a long story short, some group members felt the owners/moderators were abandoning them, or that they were paranoid beyond reason about Facebook possibly shutting down the group.
Other members felt that the owners showed controlling/authoritarian tendencies by insisting that since the CLFA brand was created by them and they have ownership, they would not turn the FB group over to others to run, but instead move all group discussion to MeWe.
With the exception of truly rude people who wrote insulting, hurtful comments, I am trying to understand and commiserate with the members who really are hurting over this move. Because it seems some nice people feel hurt, sad and abandoned.
The loss of a group you have come to depend on for fellowship, help with writing, marketing contacts, and the ability to speak of current events with like minded people is not a trifling matter.
Neither is it on the same level as a serious illness in your family, or a death.
But I do know from experience that the loss of something that meant a lot to me can feel like both of the above, or at least a nasty divorce.
There are CLFA members who were upset to the point of stating flat out that they will never move to MeWe, and those that have other reasons such as MeWe’s lack of an interface to rival Facebook’s, or those who have a such a large network of family, friends, and other groups on Facebook that they don’t want to deal with another site just to visit one group.
I think I understand how they feel, but only because I went through somewhat of a similar loss when I was forced to stop any interaction with my favorite artist/musician, Bruce Springsteen, after his band started a movement to cancel shows in states that did not share his values with regard to transgendered people using public bathrooms.
*Note* – I am in no way comparing the actions of the CLFA moderators to Springsteen’s crass and nasty behavior. I am simply trying to compare my own feeling of loss to what the CLFA members who were angry might be feeling.
If you don’t remember Springsteen’s absolute smack in the face to traditional Americans here’s a link. I’m not going to rehash all that I personally suffered when these elitists dissed half the country and made it clear to us that we were backward bigots in their eyes.
I will only state that after Springsteen’s flounce away from North Carolina, a huge conflagration erupted on social media that left me no choice but to face the fact that he and his band did not want me as a fan. So I stopped following him and I stopped listening to the music.
It was terribly difficult. It was awful in fact, because I had listened almost every day for over 20 years.
So, I think I can understand how some CLFA people are feeling right now.
The good news is that CLFA has not abandoned their members. They want them to join the MeWe group whenever they are ready to do so.
And they are even promoting another writer’s group, a sort of spin-off of CLFA, where Facebook users can have almost the same experience as they did in the CLFA Facebook group.
Personally, I feel sad that such a rift occurred, but since it has, I thought I would try to understand why.
I do miss many of the people who did not come along to the MeWe group. I liked seeing posts about different books and the varying points of view on cultural issues.
But my feeling is that the CLFA owners have every right to do what they choose to with their brand. That’s what private ownership is all about. So I made the move to MeWe.
However it does feel like old friends have gone away, to me anyway. I made a lot of nice friends through the CLFA group, many of which I don’t see now, since Facebook tends to filter out many posts on my timeline.
Also, I was not FB friends with every group member-I counted on seeing them in the CLFA group.
The members who were upset at the move are not the only ones to feel a loss.
If you are a freedom minded creative type or someone who likes to read independently published or small press books, find CLFA on MeWe, click here and ask to be admitted to the group.