"Hey y'all, I've moved to Parler. Here's my handle, see ya there!" 

I don't know about you, but I've seen about two dozen of these over the last couple of days. Particularly on Facebook, but on various social media platforms. The vast majority of those who've dropped their "handles" have been dear friends and family members of mine who see Parler as an escape from what they feel is a heavily censored environment with a "liberal bias."

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In case this is your first time hearing of ParlerWikipedia describes it as "a microblogging and social networking service launched in August 2018." Although there is some conflict and tension over whether or not this is true, Wikipedia also reports " a significant user base of Trump supporters, conservatives, and Saudi nationalists" are the most inclined to open an account there. The numbers show it's also quite popular for those who may have found themselves banned from other social media.

Wikipedia's description aside: Many of our fellow citizens are signing up.

One of the great things about living in a free nation is the freedom of speech we enjoy--even if we disagree with them. Yes, it's an American right to have a place where one feels free to speak. I believe that for most people, it's a place to vent and share freely--which is 100% their right and I'm for it.  At the same time, there are reasons to be concerned.

One trend I've noticed with some of my own connections is that they're happy they won't have to deal with as much "fact checking" on Parler. This concerns me. Whatever one's political persuasions, isn't making sure the information being shared is factually true important to consider? I believe it is.

And it can even be more concerning than this.

I don't care where anyone falls on the political spectrum--deep red, vivid blue, or somewhere in the purple middle--inciting violence against our fellow Americans (or anyone) indicates the need to be aware.

I would also suggest there are good reasons for "staying in the room," so to speak, with those with whom we may disagree. So, I hope those going to Parler (or an equivalent left-leaning site) don't completely leave all other social media. Otherwise, right or left-leaning folks end up "preaching to the choir." It's hard to find balance and work together when we are no longer connected.

And remember, there can be bias on all sides. We need truth. We need facts. We need balance. AND most of all, we need each other.

Sending love to all my fellow East Texans--wherever you stand politically. <3

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