Elon Musk bought Twitter, and once again we were reminded that anything even marginally useful can be eaten by capitalism. He’s not the only problematic rich person to own one of our generation’s primary means of communication, of course … and I am in no way suggesting a state-run social media platform would be any better … but I can’t help but get a bit discouraged and wonder what would happen to my online Pagan community if one day we found the doors shut and barred on us. And it could very easily happen …let’s not forget that a short while ago Etsy and Square were clamping down on Pagan shops and services. To believe it could never happen on social media is naïve.
Twitter has always had its own problems, of course. We jokingly call it a hell site for a reason, after all. For every bit of insight I gain following the accounts, I’m subjected to three or four ads or “recommended subjects” that have no interest for me and take up screen time…before inevitably the page refreshes and I’m carried even further away from anything Pagan-related. I can always simply navigate to the profiles of the people I want to read more from, but my odds of discovering new voices significantly decreases if I make that my only means of catching up.
I find myself increasingly missing Witchvox, and even Patheos Pagan (before it started usurping the rights and works of creators). With these sites I was able to consistently discover new and emerging voices … it seems both so long ago and just last Tuesday that I watched Mat Auryn getting started with Hecate devotions! Maybe because of this longing for exposure to new thoughts (and especially after the fall from grace of some of our louder creators), I decided I wanted to make one more option available, at least to a few. Something new and yet familiar, easy to navigate and free from ads. Gentle witchlings, I started a Discord: The Invisible College (https://discord.gg/BPSUdaPqJa).
I’m under no impression that a Discord can replace the ease of a widely-available social media network (to my knowledge, there’s no way to do a general search of all Discords and join the ones that strike your fancy). Still, when I think of the articles that were lost when Witchvox went under, I can’t help but think the more avenues for discussion we have open, the better. I want to see what new Pagans are practicing, what limits of spells and occult knowledge are being pushed and furthered. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be seen on social media without a slick marketing campaign and a budget. It shouldn’t have to be that difficult to foster community.
[Written by Ashley Nicole Hunter.]