All press is good press. As of lately that phrase has been thrown around quite liberally. Starting with the rise of the populist Donald Trump, to the successful Brexit campaign, it seems capturing airspace is more important than ever. Enter Gab.ai a free thinking, free speech airspace where all your thoughts will not be censored. Gab.ai was birthed from the crackdown on provocative speakers on Twitter and Facebook. As of late big social has been running discourse into the ground. Pandering to the progressive agenda. Anything not deemed appropriate is now considered a “trigger word.” Swinging the pendulum, Gab tries to allow liberals and conservatives equal footing in a social space. Captaining the ship is Andrew Torba, an internet savant who became disgusted with underbelly of Silicon Valley. Torba whipped up Gab after Twitter dropped the ball on censorship.
Social media is a flimsy market and a new website could easily be ruined up by the lack of features or users. Considering that Gab is only a few weeks old and still in beta with over 50,000 on the waiting list, it succeeds with flying colors. Somewhere between Twitter, Google Plus, and Reddit is how the site’s layout and functionality feels. Upvotes allow the people to control what ideas are deemed more popular. However the upvote system isn’t like reddit where downvoted content practically becomes invisible. Disliked content still can have a prominent place on the site. Self censorship tools also allow for everyone to personalize the experience by blocking words and users. I’ve found myself using these tools a few times to block users who wouldn’t leave me alone. Functionality on Gab is an excellent improvement to regular social media and will only get better when more features are rolled out.
Gab’s trending section is exciting but also the place I feel the site needs the most work. #BasketofDeplorables is the type of hashtag content you will see on the site. You probably won’t be seeing many hashtags of that football game on tv you’re missing. Most of the trends currently revolve around political discussions. Users are cooking up hashtags like #Hilaryshealth and #SpeakFreely. This is actually a fresh change from twitter which only features more pandering hashtags. However I feel this might limit Gab’s appeal in the beginning because it might scare off moderate or progressive voices. This is where the phrase all press is good press comes in. Torba has been seeing a range of reviews from extremely positive to quite scathing. Yet as every high profile article comes out, it validates one thing, that Gab is here to stay. In a short time Gab has niched out a fanbase of conservatives, moderates, progressive, and apolitical freedom fighters who just want big social to leave them alone. Community is a significant part of Gab.ai’s current success.
Perhaps the biggest struggle of the next 100 days for Gab’s CEO Torba is for him to prove that Gab isn’t just an alt right fan group. Personally I feel that Gab can defeat this notion by simply pushing forward and not playing ball with low hanging fruit journalism like Emily Grey Ellis of Wired. Freedom of speech isn’t synonymous with conservative, but a whole hearted human belief that shouldn’t be censored by big corporations who don’t believe in its further use. Personally I see Gab going the way of Donald Trump and Brexit, loud, brash, and making plenty of noise.
You can follow me https://gab.ai/Daniel to get a more one on one experience talking to me about gab’s functionality and community.
– Daniel Lotz Guest Writer