The Importance of Controlling the Platform

I want to expound on my earlier article about not having opinions.

You either have to have ‘hot takes’, like Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, or Joe Rogan; or write huge, detailed, comprehensive essays, as Scott and Lyn Alden do; or be ’eminently qualified’, which I did not cover in the above post. Someone like Freddie deBoer falls in the last category, avoiding Twitter but also not writing book-sized articles. He builds credibility by frequently referencing his past in his essays, whether about his teaching, his PhD, his ‘civic activism’, his history of mental illness, and so on. Joe Rogan has some incisive insights, but he will never be seen as qualified as someone with a PhD, nor will he be publishing any 3,000-word essays anytime soon. Elon Musk is the richest man alive or possibly who ever lived, and is very successful and qualified as an engineer, but has never composed anything longer than a tweet (his book was ghost written). Tyler Cowen, similar to Mr. deBoar, writes short essays and terse blog posts, but being an important professor of economics and overall a very smart person, helps convey the necessary credibility.

Having control of the platform and discourse is also important. Although Joe Rogan has millions of Twitter followers, he never tweets his own opinions about hot-button culture war issues, such as Covid or abortion, but rather re-tweets opinions that may be orthogonal or similar to his own, but without inviting himself to the possibly of criticism by taking personal ownership of said opinions. When he does tweet, it’s about things that are either unrelated to politics or unlikely to elicit harsh rebuke or ‘woke mobs’. He wants to ensure that when he does engage in the culture wars, that he does so from a platform in which he has control and will not be inundated by trolls, such as his Spotify platform, where he retains full control, such as the choice of guests and the direction the conversation goes in. No one can put him ‘on the spot’ and make him look like an idiot, because he controls the platform.

It’s not as if Joe Rogan is not smart enough to defend his positions against criticism, but from a branding perspective and for the sake of his personal sanity, controlling the planform is a better approach. It’s not like trying to reason with a mob or with journalists (who have an agenda and whose reasoning is ideologically motivated) ever works, so the best solution is never allowing the mobs an opportunity to enter in the first place.