Gab.com: Initial Impressions

Since breaking up with Twitter, I initially planned to count it as “cutting the fat” in my online diet. I had no intentions of replacing Twitter and was even eyeing Facebook with *well-earned* suspicion.

But I’m a communicator at heart (and an introvert at that!). I have thoughts I want to share and am often unwilling to share them on Mark Zuckerberg’s data-farming sites. As a Christian, I have the vision and conviction to use a public platform—no matter how small the following—for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Read more: Think small: Rethinking influence from a Christian perspective

It seemed like Gab.com was quickly gaining traction as an alternative to Twitter, one that hasn’t been taken down by Big Tech as Parler had. So I gave it a whirl, thinking I might as well lay claim to a decent handle (turns out you can’t change your username/handle after you create your account, so choose carefully!).

My perception was right. Since last month’s censorship rampage, people have been flocking to Gab by the MILLIONS. Check out these stats that Gab CEO Andrew Torba shared today:

Now, I’m not here to sell you on Gab. In fact, you’d probably live a happier life with NO social media accounts to distract you from what’s most important. But in case you’re interested in an alternative to Twitter, I’d like to point out a few of the neat things (and not-so-neat things) I’m discovering as I explore this new platform.

Disclaimer: I’ve only been on Gab for three days. There’s still lots I have yet to fully explore!

Pros

Gab seems to be doing a lot of things well, some of which include:

  • Prioritizing free speech for ALL, no matter your viewpoint
  • Taking privacy and security seriously
  • Twitter-like aesthetic and features
  • Interest-based groups you can join
  • The ability to explore hot topics or popular posts
  • A newsfeed section, called Gab Trends
  • A video site, called Gab TV
  • Their own privacy browser, called Dissenter
  • More options for Pro users
  • A help site
  • Perhaps best of all, the ability to edit a post after publishing it!

Note: You won’t find their app in Apple or Google app stores—Gab didn’t meet the criteria, since they don’t censor content. You can find instructions for how to add the app to your phone here.

Cons

Since Gab is attempting to accomplish more than a simple social media feed, it’s a bit underdeveloped and confusing in some areas:

  • Mobile and web apps run slowly
  • Groups, TV, and Trends aren’t as refined as what we’re used to
  • Attracts mainly conservative and/or religious crowds, which can make it an echo chamber (the CEO himself is a Christian, which I consider a PRO!)
  • When you create your account, you’re automatically following a few people
  • It’s difficult to edit your settings on the mobile app
  • Like I said before, you can’t change your username

I’m sure many of these issues will be ironed out over time as the platform grows and develops. Personally, I don’t mind that Gab runs on the slower side. It makes me approach the site more intentionally, rather than mindlessly scrolling.

Gab also has a merch store and a chat feature, neither of which I’ve used, so I can’t comment on them.

My profile on Gab.com

Bottom Line

Gab seems to have a lot of potential. Many people (myself included) will gladly accept a slightly clunkier site for the advantage of being uncensored and enjoying relative privacy. I appreicate that there’s a company standing against the tide of the Big Tech social media giants and creating something new and (so far) successful.

Again, I’ve only been on the platform a few days, so I’m not pronouncing a judgment for or against Gab. I may update this post after I’ve gotten to know the ropes a bit better.

I’d like to know your thoughts: Have you used Gab or another alternative social media site? What were your impressions?

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