On Overrated Checkmarks, Outdated Channels and Owned Communities
Thankfully, March is over because it really has gone mad. 😩
Another week, another tragic, unnecessary and completely avoidable school shooting. Plenty of thoughts and prayers are heading to the families in Tennessee, while in the meantime, their elected officials are out here saying they’re “not gonna fix it.” Hate it and hate it more for those who now have to bury their loved ones. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
Meanwhile, instead of increasing diversity by hiring actual Black and Brown models, companies like Levi’s, are really out here trying to use AI models. 🥴
Hot ass dumpster fire mess.
But let’s get into what’s on my mind this week.
I’m STILL not paying for a verified checkmark from Twitter or Facebook.
The real world is already messy enough, but the virtual world is a perpetual dumpster fire too cuz thanks to the Internet Hunger Games, we are officially in the “pay to prove you’re you” era and it’s trash. 🚮🗑
I logged into Twitter the other day and got this notification.
Telling me that I need to subscribe to Twitter Blue or I lose my verified checkmark. I instantly went GTFOH. Cuz you know what I’m not doing? Paying for some empty and useless validation online. 🤷🏾♀️🙅🏾♀️
Verification was created to ensure that notable accounts, organizations, outlets and prominent people had a visible marker to show that they are who they say they are.
I got verified over 8 years ago across most of my platforms because I am considered to be in media. So @Luvvie across all social platforms has that blue check. When they’re opening it up to anyone who wants to pay $9 every month, it nullifies that completely. 😑 It means it is no longer a verification; it’s a meaningless receipt.
Meta/Facebook/IG is now following suit with their own Meta Verified paid program because tech companies are sheep. 🙄
All of it is ridiculous, and it is asking for us to have more discernment cuz if anyone can get the blue check, how do you know the account that is @JimCarrey is actually him if anyone can have the handle, pay and then look official? It’s a security breach, and that’s the main issue. But that’s where we are.
It’s a shtshow and I hate it for us. They can take the blue check. 😒😒😒
Building your work and relationships purely on social media (walled garden) is a trap.
All of these raggedy changes to social platforms (which, frankly are constant) is a reminder that creating whole businesses that depend on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc., is a fast lane to disaster. It is a big red flag for people to pay attention to, and it is a drum I am constantly beating.
If your ability to make money is tied to the algorithms that rich, white privileged men created, you are standing in quicksand. 😬 As long as greedy, whiny ass billionaires with more insecurities than common sense can acquire and implode companies whenever they feel like it, none of these social media networks are safe. 😭 Even those that seem “safe” can still have an outage or put up a paywall at any given moment. And if that happens, what happens to your business? Your contacts? Your following? Your work? Gone.
As convenient as Facebook is for connecting with friends and family, as fun as scrolling Twitter can be, as good as your Instagram shop is doing, as entertaining as watching people do dances onTikTok might be, and as helpful as LinkedIn was for your last job search… 🗣️
You STILL need to have your ways to connect with people separate from all of them.
In fact, if you’re one of those people who ONLY connects with people on social media, and you’ve built communities and friendships, you might look up and realize you actually don’t have the phone numbers of a lot of people you care about. What happens if your Facebook account is deactivated? Do you lose touch with entire networks? 😳
Don’t let your business be their hostage.
Take yourself and your work and your valued relationships beyond social media.
Losing access to a social media site that someone else created, does not and should not mean having to lose access to the community, imprint, or impact that you created for the people who know, like and trust you. The same can be said about losing a verification check mark or official badge. Having your own control over your own platform, with your own contacts, and the ability to showcase your own content, is truly as official as it gets.
I’m calm cuz if all the social platforms disappear today, the people who wanna find me can and will, easily. I’ve had my blog AwesomelyLuvvie.com for almost 20 years. I have my website Luvvie.org. And I have this mailing list. 🤷🏾♀️ And fun fact: only 5% of the revenue I make comes directly from social media. I wanna get to the point where if I don’t even feel like having a platform on FB, TW, IG, I can still reach whoever I want.
When I think of someone as a friend or acquaintance, I get their phone number. None of these things can be trusted to the powers that be. I am my own gatekeeper.
We can build communities outside of these platforms. I’ll tell you one way to do it easily.
Build your own community on Mighty Networks.
What makes social media really attractive is that it’s an easy, out of the box option for building community. But we quickly realize for many reasons that we are spending all the time on property we’re renting and have no rights to.
For those of us who are content creators, business owners and related, we can create our own platforms at any time we want. I did that for 4 years, when I created an app called LuvvNation (which we just winded down Sep 2022).
Through 20 years of blogging, my books, my podcast and my social media channels, I’ve gathered the dopest, most engaged and plugged in audience. And they took a vote, and we ended up with “LuvvNation” as the collective name of those who follow my work.
I decided we needed a place to gather. A place where my smart, funny, socially-minded audience could also talk amongst themselves. That way, if they ever wanted to just take a break from the rest of the dumpster fire world, they had a place to do just that.
I used a platform called Mighty Networks, which was created by Gina Bianchini. And it ended up growing into a network of over 13,000 members at one point. 💪🏾 With Mighty Networks, you can launch a free community, add a paid membership, or online courses without having to know code or design. You literally sign up, and log in and you have your choice of features and access to everything in one place.
Every Mighty Networks plan comes with live-streaming and video, chat and messaging, and events and Zoom integration. You can build your own community with your custom branding with no custom coding required. And for all my fellow entrepreneurs, brands and business owners out there, they have plans just for us that provide the support we need to scale our businesses. 🙌🏾
The business plan also includes access to live cohort course creation, featured pages and events, analytics, membership data, and everything else you need to create a seamless experience for your members. All of that for $99 a month. So let’s say your membership is $10 a month, you make that back with 10 members.
And you can really uplevel the experience with Mighty Pro, and create a branded app that will be available in the iOS and Google Play app stores. Your very own app in the app store without the cost and hassle of custom development. Like… legit that platform’s features are worth sooooo much more than it costs.
LuvvNation was amazingggg for us for our 4 years, but I was obedient about winding it down because I’m in a new season that requires different focus for me. So we sunsetted in September. The connections people made in that space were lifelong and I’m really thankful to have done it. ♥️
And Mighty Networks (and their dope team – Hey Gina, Audra and Marny) was an INCREDIBLE resource that I don’t think people know about enough. So if you are looking for a space to create and curate and build community (even for your employee ERGs, for example), I cannot sing the MN praises enough. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
I love that on the last day of Women’s History Month, my recommendation is an innovative tech company, led by a woman. Love it for me and us.
So tell me, what is your favorite community to be a part of (this can be an online community or an offline one)? What is one network you belong to that you deeply cherish? 🧐
Disclaimer: I receive commissions for purchases made through some of the links in this newsletter. All thoughts and vouching are mine. I keep it true.