We’re moving forward with The Hayride’s new social media app The Speakeasy, and I’m getting lots of questions from folks who have perhaps heard of it but don’t quite understand what it is or what’s the reasoning behind it. Here’s an attempt at explaining it.
Simply put, The Speakeasy is a free speech social media platform, not dissimilar in format to Parler or Gab, but it comes from a considerably different business concept, and one which is (1) badly needed, and (2) a lot more straightforward and just than what Big Tech is doing to the market.
Where Parler and Gab have fallen short is in their perception of the problem with social media. They operate under the impression that the real problem with social media is it’s run by cultural Marxist ideologues who don’t believe in free speech and thus engage in censorship.
The censorship is really a symptom. It isn’t the disease.
The real problem with the Big Tech version of social media is its disdain and contempt for the user. With Facebook and Twitter, you get censored, fact-checked and so on – and have your personal information harvested and exploited – because you’re not the customer. You’re the product. You’re a cow in a dairy, a hen in a hatchery. They don’t care what you have to say, unless they can plug it into an algorithm to discern what their advertisers can sell you.
That’s abusive. And it manifests itself in something even worse than the censorship and data mining.
Perhaps the worst thing about how Big Tech operates in the social media space is its mistreatment of content creators, the authors, talkers. publishers and others whose offerings on their platforms generate the bulk of their traffic.
The current business model as an independent web publisher, for example, is to build a substantial social media following and then use that to drive traffic to your website.
For a time this was a workable model. But then Facebook, through changes to its algorithms, deflated the ability of a publisher to generate shares and virality of outside content on its platform. Many web publishers were put out of business in that change. Facebook now hides a publisher’s content from three-quarters of his or her Facebook followers, demanding the publisher pay to reach their news feeds. This after many of those publishers spent money with Facebook to build that following in the first place.
It got worse.
Digital ad networks, on which most web publishers depend for revenue, have catered their payments to publishers. Suddenly the return on the investment of time, effort and even money spent on growing a social media presence has dropped to near nothing. Who controls the lion’s share of that market? Google, Amazon and Facebook.
What’s the solution?
Here’s where the Speakeasy comes in. We aren’t going to be a free app. Our customers aren’t advertisers seeking a creepy, manipulative level of hypertargeting in the marketplace. Instead, the users are our customers.
To establish that relationship, we’ll charge a tiny subscription – only $2.99 a month, or $29.99 a year, to start. For that, there will be no censorship, unless users plot crimes or other illegal activity on the app, and their information won’t be sold to advertisers or anyone else. And we’ll share that subscription revenue with the content creators who build channels, similar to a cross between a Facebook page and a YouTube channel, with only minor limitations as to kinds of content, within the app. Build a channel with a large following and you’ll directly monetize that channel before advertising even enters the equation.
The Hayride’s channel is already up. At the moment The Speakeasy is still a free app, but in a few days that tiny subscription will kick in. And for that price you’ll get ad-free Hayride content through the app, all of the groups within the social feed which have already generated a rapid stream of content, and the podcast network we’re building which already contains the Post-Republic livestream podcast I’ve started which is only available in the app.
Then come the other channels, and an explosion of great stuff which will make The Speakeasy something unique on the internet.
With the Speakeasy, content is king. And the user reigns. It’s the opposite of Big Tech in every way. And it’ll revolutionize the way social media works – for the better.
There are still a few days left to check it out before you’ll need to subscribe. So sign up now and download the mobile app, which you can do here!