Does anyone remember MySpace? For a few years in the mid-2000s, it was the biggest website in the world, outstripping Google and Yahoo! in terms of traffic. It was also the name in social media. It was said, among other things, that music labels wouldn’t even consider an artist with less than 10,000 MySpace followers.

Then, it all-but vanished. Displaced by new kids like Facebook and Twitter.

So, what will replace them?

No brand, no matter how powerful, lasts forever. The history of capitalism is littered with the ruins of once-giants, like so many Ozymandias’ feet. Anaconda Copper. Bethlehem Steel. Standard Oil. Pan Am. Compaq…

More importantly, as those Silicon Valley plutocrats continue to tighten the noose around their users’ free speech, the banned, deplatformed and unpersoned will soon outnumber the few remaining cry-bullies.

Brave efforts have been made. Minds, ThinkSpot. Gab has persisted longer than most, but struggles with image problems, partly because of a minority of its users’ behaviour but also due to a relentless campaign of demonisation by the media.

Enter Parler.

There’s a new kid on the block, and it’s looking like it’s here to stay.

Meet Parler, a social media platform founded in 2018 by John Matze who promotes the newcomer as “the platform that social media should have been when it originated”. Matze, who identifies himself as a libertarian, created Parler to resemble a community forum for all users, free of censorship and politically biased fact-checking.

Over the weekend, the platform gained an astronomical 500,000 additional users, placing it at the top of Apple’s most downloaded news app chart and sending shockwaves through the Twittersphere, who now feel their stranglehold on the social media game begin to slowly slip.

Parler’s user base is still miniscule compared with Twitter or Facebook. Even the mouldering ruins of MySpace far outnumber it (although how many of those are active accounts is a big question). But its recent growth spurt is phenomenal. If this kind of growth is sustained, Parler could soon be swimming right alongside the really big fish.

More importantly, so far at least, Parler has escaped the sort of concerted attacks levelled at Gab. The demonisation of Gab began as soon as it was announced. The buzz around Parler is, so far, overwhelmingly positive. Unsurprisingly, The Guardian is sniffing about “right-wing”, but, amazingly, it hasn’t (yet) branded Parler “alt-right”, “far-right”, “white supremacist”, or any of the other buzzwords its writers use as punctuation marks.

As the 2020 presidential election nears, expect the buzz around Parler to intensify. If President Donald Trump jumps ship (like Gab, Parler has a placeholder account all ready to go), the game will have well-and-truly changed.

More than anything, though, sites like Parler are a stunning affirmation of the liberating power of capitalism.

Parler, which now claims well over one million users, is reminding us all of the power that we hold as consumers to act on our grievances, innovate and force change from elite corporations […] If we all think consciously and act boldly, we can be part of something great. We have the chance to pioneer uncharted territory by flocking to this new platform […]

The key here is competition. Companies fear it, but consumers should cherish it. No law or government mandate can remedy the power of the people if they’re willing to hold companies to account and become conscious capitalists. Of course, private companies are free to set terms as they wish, but that doesn’t make them immune to the consequences of their own actions. It may seem like an uphill battle, but if Parler can take on the big tech giants of Silicon Valley and their billions of users, surely it can be recreated in any industry.

Expect the Legacy media campaign against Parler to get very nasty, soon enough. There are also troubling signs that Twitter-bullies are already trying to white-ant the site. The hate-squad are showing how much they fear the emergence of Parler. Which makes it even more imperative for good-faith users to get on board.

It all starts with you. Make the switch. We all have the chance to be part of something bigger by engaging with that new kid on the block, looking to take down the kingpins that think they run the show […]

So, for the sake of conservative opinions, free speech and our very democracy, join Parler.

You will at least find yours truly, @Lushingtonbrady. See you there!

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