A Faerie Haven: Living in Myth, Being Magic

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Social Media and Pagan Culture

Full Title: Social Media's Centralization of Online Dialogue Hurts Pagan Culture

What if wildly witchy articles no longer existed? Imagine if only corporate media "Pagan" blogs were available, as milquetoast as the fake Christianity that dominates media to suppress robust, responsible Christians? Paganism tamed!

The more corporate social media centralizes online dialogue, the closer we move to deterioration of Pagan culture and extinction of meaningful online Pagan conversation.

I love social media, but it could devastate Pagan innovation and culture unless we do something. Here's why:

 Social media tries to keep you within their sites. For example, if you've liked my Facebook page, and I post a photo, it'll probably get in your newsfeed. If I post something with a link to my or your site, Facebook probably keeps it from your newsfeed.

(A private account is not a solution. With my disabilities, a private account is like a virtual building without a wheelchair ramp. More important, if a remedy to my example exists, it would not write off the social media dilemma it represents. Not to worry, there are substantive solutions. Powerful action steps for you end this post.)

Historical context is needed for the next part of my explanation: I had a website so long ago there were few women on the web (can you imagine?), and was excited when some of my friends started getting email addresses. Then I noticed they were AOL addresses. I warned, "If you're on AOL, they'll keep you from going anywhere else online. There's an amazing World Wide Web, filled with independent thinkers. Don't be trapped."

(Sadly, none of those friends listened, but luckily a lot of the original Pagan webmasters were hanging out together online. We had a great time.)

The point I'm trying to make is: corporate efforts to hog the web have increased tenfold since those days and are snowballing. Unless stopped, they'll mount up until we no longer have innovative Pagan sites in a huge online world. Here's my reasoning:

Greed loves monopoly. Monopoly is fed by centralization. Centralization has gotten worse. The more greedy corporations can get away with centralization, the more they will, until no one creates online content except those with the big bucks to produce corporate-driven, insipid "culture." Social media corporations want advertisers. Advertisers put their money on watered down content, mostly. If corporate media can get away with it, the only online "Paganism" will be as mindlessly numbing as most television.

Paganism tamed! Imagine if wildly witchy articles no longer existed? Imagine only corporate media "Pagan" blogs, as milquetoast as the fake Christianity that dominates media to suppress robust, responsible Christianity?

White-bread representation of Christian values represses independent thinking and social action. Paganism reduced to the same degree of non-substantive nana would be an equally drug-like barrier to freedom ... and to magic.

Because I care about my community, I'm appalled by the start of "Pagan" material written by hack writers on corporate sites without the best interest of Pagans in mind. We need independent sites to keep our substantive resources and innovations going. Check out the action steps you can take at the bottom of this post.

It'd be easy to argue, "Centralization won't stop us, because we'll find other ways to connect." That's true, but not relevant. It took decades to build the online web of connectivity Pagans enjoy. Once lost, it could take 20 years before anyone except privileged or lucky Pagans can connect with each other the way we do now. During that time, what happens?

Among other things, many Pagans live in small rural communities without local Pagan support or fellowship. Their isolation can not only be painful, it can deprive them of support they need for anything from custody battles where their religion is an issue to magical dilemmas. The internet makes all the difference for them.

Newbies also need our sites. If they search online and find only corporate sites, no one will respond to them with support—just sales pitches. Omigoddess! If your first attempt at moving into community is met by greed, that'd become your view of Paganism and stop your pursuit.

Another rebuttal might be "This essay's premises seem far-fetched," but history does repeat itself. The following reveals what we can expect: years back, Barnes & Noble's stated(!) agenda was to close indie bookstores everywhere. One tactic: a B & N bookstore would crush a nearby small bookstore by carrying the speciality books from which the small store made the bulk of its income. B & N would offer the same texts at a reduced cost. Once the small bookstore closed, the B & N store dropped the speciality items and only carried mainstream books.

In the same vein:

1) If we keep small and Pagan-centered websites strong, social media will continue allowing at least some links to quality Pagan content, in hopes of competing.

2) Since the early 90s, corporations—including social media corporations more recently—incrementally crush indie culture. Bit by bit, they see how much they can get away with, hoping to eventually obliterate all sites except their for-profit pages that host only mainstream media.

Search engines feed this centralization. Every year for the past ten, it's gotten harder to find Pagan-centered sites, small or large, in search engines. Ten years ago, search engines made it easy to find the most obscure information on the tiniest site.

Now, unlike even five years back, Google seems to pick and choose from words you type into their search engine, so the first few results pages list mostly corporate pages. (Many of these just repeat the same information, the way current news mostly focuses on the same prescribed messages.) Even this large Pagan site you are on, with its wonderful independent thinkers, might not appear on Google's first few pages. 

With this trend, it'll become more difficult to find independent Pagan sites, then it'll become impossible. 

But we can do something. Instead of despairing about corporate greed, here are actions that make a difference:

1) Once a week, go to a small Pagan site, or large Pagan-specific site such the one you're on now. Your visits help keep these websites high in the search engines.

It's easy. Have a weekly Pagan adventure. Let's call it the Weekly Wednesday Wander—a wee escape from Wednesdays' work to wander over to a website you love.

Visit the sites before it's too late. The more Google is allowed to show less indie sites, in order to centralize around their wealthy cronies' sites, the more it will do so. Stop that by visiting Pagan sites large and small now. 

2) Sign up for a small site's newsletters. They provide Pagan site links often blocked on social media. This makes your Weekly Wednesday Wander easy. Additional bonus: newsletters make you privy to rocking Pagan content. Less known esoterica, detailed ritual instructions, in-depth analysis of community concerns, thoughtfully constructed spellcrafting, erudite discoveries, and more, tailored to your needs.

Here's the link for my newsletter: http://www.outlawbunny.com/newsletter/

Freedom requires striking out on less traveled roads. It's worth it to enjoy the fruits of independence, like sites made just for us. Do it now, you wild mystic traveler.

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Francesca De Grandis aka Outlaw Bunny is the bestselling author of "Be a Goddess!" Founder of The Third Road, a Faerie Shamanism tradition that she teaches through both text and oral tradition, De Grandis says, "I'm a trickster working for benevolent chaos Gods, so I don't play mean tricks." Bard, painter, mystical innovator, and busy elf who works part-time for Santa Claus, she blogs here and on her own sites, www.stardrenched.com and www.outlawbunny.com


  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah Monday, 17 October 2016

    Definitely food for thought! Thanks for posting :)

  • Francesca De Grandis
    Francesca De Grandis Monday, 17 October 2016

    J'Karrah, thank you for your supportive words.

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