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How to escape the surveillance state: Guard your contacts from the censors
Rudzhan Nagiev/Getty

How to escape the surveillance state: Guard your contacts from the censors

Editor's note: We're facing an unprecedented moment in American history. Our government and multinational tech monopolies are making it clear that we, the people, are the target of the monstrous surveillance state they've constructed. The deep state is attempting to jail people who share memes, Blaze Media journalists, and even the leading presidential candidate. It's time we take back control over our privacy and digital communications, and this guide will provide you with the tools to do that. This is an excerpt from a larger guide.

A lot of us use social media for business and advertising. Maybe you're a real estate agent or plumber, own a construction business, or are a writer, illustrator, or filmmaker. You probably use some combination of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram to advertise and get clients. These have been valuable tools for growing businesses. I am not suggesting that you get off social media, but you should make sure that you are not completely dependent upon these platforms.

If something goes wrong with Facebook or your social media platform, you don’t want to be in a situation where all your materials are there and you don’t have any way to contact your customers. As Thomas J. Bevan explained well: “Twitter is a flyer; it is not the gig. Don’t give them any more than you have to. They won’t thank you. They won’t love you back.”

Email contacts

What would happen to your contacts if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn shut down your account? How would you contact your customers, followers, and connections?

If you have a large Facebook or Instagram following, you don’t want to lose your means of communication with your followers because people at one of these companies decide they don’t like your views on some religious, political, or philosophical view that may have absolutely nothing to do with your business. So try to get direct contact with your customers through email. If you get de-platformed or denied service because you hold the wrong opinions, you can immediately start up again.

If you have email addresses already and use CRM systems like Mailchimp, HubSpot, Salesforce, Oracle, etc., be sure that you have backups and full access to them. Again, if one of your providers decides to deny access because your religious or political views are not acceptable, you don’t want to have all your customers locked up in the provider's service. Make sure you have offline backups exported to .csv or Excel files so you can import your contacts into another service or be able to contact your customers and subscribers immediately.

There is some work being done on the issue of data portability, especially in light of the EU’s GDPR rules. Hopefully, this will get easier, but for now, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket.

  • Work on building your email list for direct communication and keep backups. This is good business anyway.
  • As much as possible export your connections from other platforms so you have them available.
  • LinkedIn has a way to export all of your connections to a spreadsheet, but only a very few of them have email addresses attached to them. So while you at least have a record of your connections, if you have 1,500 to 2,000 connections but only fifteen emails, it is not super helpful. Again, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use LinkedIn. I use it. But we need to make sure we build more robust email contact lists.

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