Tired of “walking on eggshells” on social media? Mike Lindell told Business Insider yesterday that he plans to launch a new social-media platform that will allow for a broader scope of public commentary. It won’t follow the same path as earlier alternatives to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, but instead combine elements of them into a media-oriented commentary platform (via Citizen Free Press):
In an interview with Insider, Lindell said he would call the site Vocl, and he described it as a cross between Twitter and YouTube.
“It’s not like anything you’ve ever seen,” he said Wednesday. “It’s all about being able to be vocal again and not to be walking on eggshells.” …
Vocl, he said, isn’t like Gab or Parler, two social-media sites that have been associated with the far-right. It’s a cross between Twitter and YouTube meant “for print, radio, and TV,” he said.
Well, perhaps it won’t be intended to follow in that direction, but it seems likely to market mostly from that segment. The mainstream media will almost certainly stick with Twitter and YouTube, where both the outlets in “print, radio, and TV” and their contributors have footprints and followers. The only incentives to move to a new platform would be ideological, unless Lindell’s platform provides a quantum leap in useability that attracts the same massive audience that both of those platforms already have.
But perhaps Lindell might be the entrepreneur to crack the market. He has two things going for him. The first is a track record of start-up success with MyPillow. Second, Lindell has the resources to ensure no one else can take down his site, unlike Parler:
He said he was not relying on the cloud market leader Amazon Web Services, which kicked Parler off its servers after the insurrection, to host the new site. Lindell said he would use his own servers and that the platform had “some of the highest security ever.” It’s “space-age stuff,” he said.
The website is “going to be the most attacked. I expect that,” he said, adding: “I’m attacked daily by bots and trolls and hackers. My company gets attacked all the time.” He said he’d been working on his social-media site for four years and estimated it would launch in three weeks at the latest, though he added it could be as soon as in 10 days. Lindell, who is planning to be the site’s CEO, said he didn’t have any prospective investors and declined to say how much money he invested in Vocl.
The four-year claim is interesting in itself, if true. Four years ago, Donald Trump successfully leveraged Twitter to win the presidency and had already begun using it to talk over the media. Lindell himself may have been a Trump supporter, but any issues Lindell had with social-media platforms were years in the future, to my best recollection. If that’s true, then perhaps Lindell just saw the potential in launching a new social-media competitor in general.
After all of the negative publicity around Lindell after going full conspiracy nutter after the election, can he still hope to compete? His biggest ally in this might be his competitors and their ham-handedness in message control. If he’s aiming for mainstream-media participation, Lindell probably won’t succeed, but he might end up doing better than Parler or Gab in launching a sustainable alternative to the social-media giants. The question will be whether it’s socially sustainable as well as technically unassailable, and how long it will take before Lindell himself has to tread on a few eggshells when users inevitably abuse the platform.