Thoughts on Unite Blue and the theories about it.

Dear everybody who is not active in the Progressive world on Twitter, you are very welcome to read this, although it’s probably not that important to you.

Dear Progressives on Twitter:

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

I have tried to be silent about the whole pro- and anti-Unite Blue circus on Twitter for a long time. I have always and will forever be independent, I don’t want a label and I thought it was not up to me to say something about it, because I am not a member and I also don’t belong to any anti-Unite Blue group.

For me this was very simple, either you join or you don’t. In both cases I’m more than happy to talk to you. But it’s getting ugly lately. Tweets appear on timelines in which people warn each other that they will unfollow those with a Unite Blue Twibbon. There are even threats to unfollow those who dare to retweet those who have a Unite Blue Twibbon. And that is where they started involving me who, like others, never wanted to be a part of this whole circus.

It’s not that I will lose a minute of sleep because of threats like that, it’s the ‘either you are with me for a 100% or you’re my enemy’ attitude that is disturbing. This was once introduced by George W Bush and we know how that worked out. It is also the opposite of what progressives should be doing. It’s manipulative, it’s blackmail and it’s wrong. It is making a decision for all the others and warning them that it will have consequences if they have their own opinion. It’s everything progressives should be fighting against and those who use tactics like this can of course not seriously mean that others are the ones who are dividing.

It’s sad because on both sides there are several people with interesting tweets, who I enjoy talking to.

I will take the risk that members of both sides may find things in this post they don’t like, the risk that with the recent conspiracy culture, both sides may say I’m actually pro the other side. I will take that risk. I’ve decided to write a blog about it for the simple reason that there are too many theories about this situation that just don’t make any sense. There are timelines that used to be very interesting, but now all you see is conspiracy theories. I will also give my opinion based on professional marketing experience on what certain personal information may or may not be worth.

First though I will explain why I’m not a Unite Blue member.

First of all, I refuse to call myself left. I’ve never been left, I’ve always been right there in the middle until the Tea Party changed the map. One of my favorite Presidents is George H. Bush, Bush 41, who so far is the only President ever who united the whole world against one country when it was needed. And although right now it’s highly unlikely that I will ever vote GOP, I like to keep my options open. I want to think for myself, make my own decisions, I don’t need anyone to do that for me or give me the idea that for example, I am supposed to think that a big problem we face is knives on planes, an issue about which Unite Blue launched a Twitter Bomb a couple of days ago.

The reason why I’m not a member is simple. I am and will be independent, even though I agree with the left on almost all the issues.

But does this make me anti-Unite Blue? The answer is no. From the day Unite Blue started, I’ve seen many people connect. People who used to have fifty followers, now have a thousand,. People who used to tweet once a week now tweet all day long. I can’t think of a reason why that would be a bad thing.

One of the reasons why Unite Blue is criticized is that the founder, Zach Green, may have worked for the Tea Party and the GOP. And certain information online suggests that it may be true. If that is the case, he should say it. But I wouldn’t have a problem with it. If it’s true i’s better if it’s in the open, but the idea itself doesn’t bother me. If someone sold a hamburger to the Tea Party last week and this week he gives them away for free to Democrats, then I don’t see the problem. You don’t want to live in an economy where Democrats can only do business with other Democrats. Without knowing it, every single person who reads this does business with Republicans, every single day. Unite Blue is a free service. As long as that is the case, the worst scenario is that they are doing stuff for free for you, while they charge the GOP for the same.

Another rumor is the idea that that the personal information members give to Unite Blue can be sold to whoever would want to have it. Rumors for example that they may be sold to the GOP or other Conservative organizations. My first question would be why the GOP would want to ‘buy’ an email address from a Progressive? To invite you to CPAC or to try to sell Palin’s Christmas book? Don’t think so. An organization will only buy information from people who may be willing to join them, or to buy things from them, not from people who will mark the very first email you send them as spam.

You don’t need to be a scientist to figure out that you can’t sell a list that is public to 7 billion people. No one will buy a Twitter list if you can get it for free on Twitter, so if there could be a problem it would only be for those who became a member and gave their email address.

I don’t know what information people have to give when they join Unite Blue but, working in marketing for what some would call an evil corporation, I do know in which cases an email address is worth something and in which cases it isn’t. Just an email address without any additional information is worth nothing. A million of them without any additional information are still worth nothing.

For companies and organizations an email address is only interesting if you also know what person it is from, what income that person has, if he or she is married, has kids, what that person likes to do etc. If you have all that information, an email address can be worth something, but only if you have a whole lot of them. For example a couple of thousand of them would not be enough to make it interesting.

By giving my opinion about these issues I am not choosing a side but trying to do what I can to stop the everlasting discussions. Maybe some will still be concerned and I respect that. But to those I can only say that I hope their timeline will one day be as interesting as it used to be, and about real issues. I am not a Unite Blue member and I have my reasons for that. But creating panic to try to get others to leave Unite Blue is not progressive. We are all old enough to make our own decisions.

I will end this post with a comment on a related issue.

Certain people on both sides blame the other side of working for the right wing. Both are wrong. Rumors about hacked accounts and strange things happening on Twitter are true. Twitter confirms this. People unfollow or block each other without knowing it. It has been like this for one and a half year now and it is getting worse. But that has nothing to do with one of the two sides in this sad battle, it’s a problem that Twitter confirms to have and they are working on it. It may help to not blame each other for it, or create more conspiracies about it, Twitter already took responsibility for it.

I will end this post in the hope that those who read this will not come up with yet another conspiracy about why I wrote this and which side I’m on. I wrote this because recently we had the GOP screwing us over with a sequester, we had CPAC spreading their hate and while that happened, a bunch of progressives who agree on all the issues except a blue twibbon, were talking about each other. That is why I wrote this and I hope that it will stop and that everybody will be mature enough to respect each other, no matter blue Twibbon or no Twibbon.


8 Responses to Thoughts on Unite Blue and the theories about it.

  1. valandstan says:

    Appreciate that you wrote this; I read it because I see your tweets on my TL and value them. I joined UB just because it seemed a good way to connect with twitterati who were like-minded along the political spectrum. And it’s been good for that. This whole ownership/agenda argument is something I care nothing about, any more than I should be dragged into a dispute by somebody who swears Starbucks stole his coffee recipe. That’s for them to work out, with Twitter Inc or in a court of law. FWIW, I’ve never had a threat or ultimatum from anyone on ‘either side,’ if I did I would ignore it as petty nonsense. I don’t remember if I gave my e-mail when I joined, certainly no more info than that. As far as the risk of my getting unsolicited e-mail as a result… just, as you stated more eloquently: lol. Cheers! @Trawler_Trash

  2. I joined Unite Blue to give myself more information in the general areas that match or closely match my opinions. I also am able to reach more with the issues that I am concerned with, all because of Unite Blue. I follow because I like what is being tweeted by someone, blue or not. I am saddened that a few are using a good cause for a battleground. Something that is found in any group.

  3. Thanks for this well-thought-out post.

    I am on the UniteBlue side and have openly voiced my support for UniteBlue and Zach. That said, I am not allowing it to consume me and I’m still tweeting actively about politics and the issues that concern me.

    While I think there are some who have let this dispute take over their timelines, for the most part it’s simply a side issue for many people. I would hope that this can become the case for anyone who is currently obsessing over this. We are Stronger Together.

  4. Wtime says:

    Thanks for clarifying the issues in this weird controversy.

  5. StPeteDave says:

    I have been bullied by anti-unite blue folks, then blocked, etc…that said, I’ve not received any spam, no DMs that weren’t solicited, nothing. The whole thing started out and got personal really quickly. I don’t hold that Zach worked for republicans against him, simply because as a single payer supporter, I find myself now employed by one of the big 3 health insurance companies as a result of a buyout. I hate that, but I need to work, we all do.

  6. I’m new to Twitter but not to the world. I read your post with interest and these comments as well. I joined pretty much for the reasons collectively expressed above. I’ve been a professional musician and a lawyer and I keep those interests going as I am able towards an active retirement. I am of the left by nature and the ideological baptism of the 60s. That said, some of my best friends are . . . . .fill this in whatever way suits you not blue blood GOPers. I am saddened by any discussion that strays from the facts and while I understand and agree with the need to organize, I remember the great schism of the 60s so nothing would surprise me–but so far it’s been fun and enlightening– and I inherently distrust pedigrees. I like your posts and as long as UniteBlue “works” for me . . . that’s all I care about. Thanks again, John, for taking the time to post your thoughts. I appreciate it.

  7. insectrights says:

    I have not been bullied into leaving UniteBlue. However I am considering leaving for the following reason. I had a dispute with another UniteBlue member over a disapreement about the recent CocaCola advertisement. I feel that the ad is deceptive and not really about diversity. I realize that many conservatives including Rush Limbaugh hate it for entirely different reasons.

    Anyway the dispute ended up with me being labeled as a troll which could be farther from the truth. About 10 or so followers left me believing this person assertion. I began to realize how typecast I am by many UniteBlue members. Everything is dumbed down to criticizing conservatives without looking into these issues deeper. I am very disappointed in the treatment that I received. I did tweet with the hashtag #UniteBlue about this but was ignored. Perhaps it is true that Progressives are not welcome on #UniteBlue. It is true that the conversation is defined narrowly within certain bounds and those who go outside of these boundaries are ostracized

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