Would Facebook be of value to VFR?

Last week, after confessing that I have no understanding of Facebook or what people get out of it, I asked readers if they saw ways that Facebook could be of help to VFR. Here are the replies, which deal not just with VFR, but the value of Facebook generally for right-wing sites. On the pro-con axis, opinions are pretty evenly divided. I thank the readers for taking the time to share their very well-stated thoughts.

Robert B. writes:

Facebook would be good for you because people can friend you—I have James Kalb as a friend, for instance. We can then also “like” your articles and share them with friends that way. Lawrence Auster could have his own or instead of VFR. Either way, it would begin to grow the site and your reputation in a positive way. Friends have friends and as it is shared it can go “viral” as they say. It is not a replacement for your blog, but rather an appendage for it.

Kathlene M. writes:

To answer the question, “How can Facebook supplement VFR,” I can offer this: Facebook can make more people aware of your blog. When Facebook members simply note that they “like” your page, friends of those people on Facebook may see the link and perhaps check it out. Facebook doesn’t have to substitute for your blog at all but you can put your same VFR entries on that Facebook page so others who may read it can go to your blog.

For an example, see the attachment of a screen capture I did of the “Legal Insurrection” Facebook page. The author of the “Legal Insurrection” blog at legalinsurrection.blogspot.com is Associate Clinical Professor William Jacobson of Cornell Law School. He has 1,612 “likes” noted on his Facebook page. All his blog entries also appear on the Facebook page. He allows people to comment at Facebook, but you can control that function. You can disable Facebook comments, and still have people directed to your website.

The downside to Facebook is that it’s one more site you must visit each day to post your blog entries. Also, it could generate readers you may not want, who will then come to your VFR website and start sending you negative comments.

You may want to email Mr. Jacobson and ask him if he’s encountered any downsides to having a Facebook page to supplement his blog. His email (noted at his blog) is: contact@legalinsurrection.com

P.S. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but you do have a Facebook page for “Lawrence Auster” that is generated by Wikipedia. It’s an informational page only.

I hope this helps somewhat.

Alan M. writes:

To me, for VFR, there are two main benefits of getting a Facebook page

1.When people “Like” the VFR page on Facebook, then they receive updates on their “wall” every time you post on Facebook. The idea is that this is like RSS feeds for the masses—they get notified of every post you place on Facebook. To me, it would work best for VFR as a quick description of a new post on your blog with a link to it. 2. People look at each other’s walls as a way of learning about each others’ interests. You have a chance of reaching a new audience in this manner.

I don’t know what blogging software you use but many have a Facebook plugin to notify Facebook of new blog posts automatically, so you would not have any extra work.

One caution: I’m speaking for myself but most of my friends on Facebook would be quite shocked to read VFR and I always take the opportunity, when appropriate, to educate them along the path I roughly followed. Having many of them see VFR on my site may shut down the discussion—so I wouldn’t “like” your Facebook page. However, I do subscribe via RSS and I share articles with friends who I think are already of like minds or close.

Nile McCoy writes:

Honestly, I can’t see the value of linking VFR with Facebook. I know Stuff Black People Don’t Like has issues when first establishing a presence at the social networking service. People on Facebook were flagging SBPDL has offensive, racists, etc., in other words typical liberal tropes over conservative, traditionalist views. I think it would be more work than it would be worth.

Roland D. writes:

Facebook is garbage. Avoid at all costs.

Ray G. writes:

Facebook, which I almost never visit, isn’t any different from a blog or a webpage. It simply is an slightly easier way of creating a webpage and accumulating “friends,” i.e., visitors/readers.

But I’m suspect of the “plugged in, online” culture. Perhaps I’m a bit of a Luddite, even though I make my living as a software programmer!

James R. writes:

It is a terrible time-sink. Yes there are useful things on it but it’s too difficult to sift through the deluge of dross, and almost anything useful on it can be accessed elsewhere without the dross.

TT writes:

In my opinion the last thing you want is to be involved with Facebook. You don’t take random comments posted to your website. That is all that Facebook would turn into, random attacks and insults. Also, given the controversial nature of the subjects you discuss anyone who friended you would perhaps find problems with others not ready to deal with or discuss the issues you raise.

And get a load of this Facebook related story linked from Drudge—Hundreds of Facebook users crash teen’s birthday party.

It is going to take some time before all of the problems associated with people linking to everyone they know via Facebook and linking to all of their business and political associations really becomes known.

Joshua W. writes:

Facebook’s advantage is that when a user comments on or “likes” a post, his/her friends will see this activity in their respective news feeds. A blog such as yours has limited exposure because only those deliberately intending to visit it read (or are even aware of) your material. As it currently stands, belief in the preservation of Western culture and values typically carries with it an instant branding of “extremist” in the 20-25 year old demographic, despite my belief that there is actually a significant portion of young adults who have these views (that’s my optimism for the day). I personally think it’s very important that people be made aware that opposition to multiculturalism/Islamism is NOT an “extreme” viewpoint and there are legitimate conversations to be had in this area. I believe Facebook would be an excellent platform for this purpose.

Philip M. writes from England:

Funnily enough I was just talking, through the magic of Facebook, to another of your fellow right-wing New Yorkers that I had just “friended” through the power of social media—and then clicked onto your site to read your comments about Facebook.

I don’t think you could be more wrong about staying away from it. I think Facebook and other similar sites have huge and untapped potential for the right for several reasons.

People are far more influenced by the moral boundaries and opinions of their peer group than any other factor, and they are far more likely to listen to the views of people they already think are, say, witty and/or interesting. Add to this the fact that Facebook is anonymous and so lends itself to people being challenged in ways they would not normally be challenged, or for more honesty and what you have is a huge, global virtual peer group, all with their usual guards down.

I really enjoy going on Facebook, it appeals to my sense of humour, which in itself is a good way of circumventing ideological barriers. I get to talk with lots of people who would probably not normally give the time of day to me or my views, but because of the intimate and informal style of the site it is possible to really connect and build up a good rapport with a lot of interesting and thoroughly diverse people from all over Europe and America, and to see what they and their friends are thinking.

The thing that has surprised me most has been the degree of race-realism, brutal frankness and blunt humour about non PC subjects from the very kind of smart, knowing, professional liberal types both here and in America, and their tolerance and even tacit approval of such views. The debate and discussion with them is as free and as open as you could hear anywhere, because, as I say, they feel unguarded and open. Even when “racism” or homophobia (for example) is condemned, it is clear from the way they condemn that they are people who actually talk about and are forced to think about these issues on a regular basis. Facebook has really shifted the way I see twenty-thirty something people and the supposedly unshakable monolith of their liberal views. Things are not set in stone.

Have you heard those facts about how even if you have a friend who has a friend who gains weight it can actually make you gain weight, even if you have never met the person? Apparently this invisible zone of influence can extend outwards to five people, I believe. Facebook and the internet magnify this natural phenomenon and send it global. The desire to be humorous, memorable, controversial, shocking, or just to vent, sometimes lends itself to a rightward shift in the attitudes expressed.

Just a handful of well-connected people on Facebook can have genuine national or even global significance, as their ideas flow around through their spheres of influence, get bandied around and normalised, get filtered down, shifting boundaries and the terms of debate as they go.

The corrosive effect these sites can have on left-wing hegemony and orthodoxy could be likened to the corrosive moral effects of pornography as perceived by the right. For this reason expect to see the former more heavily censored than the latter ever will be.

Jim C. writes:

Absolutely. The best thing about FB is you can “friend” (a better term is “interact with”) anyone who uses it. E.g., I read an interesting article at the New Yorker, so I check to see if writer is on FB. Next thing I know this user is sending me articles I might be interested in. You can create your own universe there, and I suggest “friending” smart users who do not share your POV. I have many “friends” who are wonderful to debate with. Most users are pretty open-minded. Sure, some people will call you a racist—but so what? Since FB is now global, you’ll find that you will be communicating to users all over the world.

Bottom line, FB is a great information resource, and I highly recommend it for your site.

Greg W. writes:

I would say Facebook would not be of value to VFR. People say it’s like a blog, but it’s not really. You only have a limited number of characters to write. You can of course link recent entries to VFR on Facebook for people to read, or write a “note,” but you would just be copying and pasting entries from VFR.

I suspect most readers of VFR check this site numerous times a day. You aren’t like other bloggers who may post one entry every day or few days. You have multiple entries every day, something no one else does. Your readers know this, and check back frequently to see what you’ve added. I see VFR as the ticker at the bottom of a news channel, but for the reactionary, traditionalist, politically incorrect conservative folk. Personally, I do not need to see you on Facebook to know that you have something interesting posted. The “friends” you do make on Facebook would only be those who read your blog already.

I do have a Facebook account in which, up until recently, I pretty much ONLY posted political topics. I stopped because no one entertains me with dialogue. The average person on Facebook cares more about what the Kardashians or Jersey Shore imbeciles are doing at the moment. Also, they use Facebook to tell us that they just made dinner, are at a movie, are shopping with their mom, or how great and cute their kids are. Facebook only makes me more cynical and misanthropic.

In my opinion, VFR would not get much out of Facebook. Hope this helps.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 10, 2011 09:54 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):