Janet Porter, president of the "pro-life, pro-family" advocacy group Faith2Action, launched a social media site "for patriots" on Tuesday. It is was called ReaganBook. It's down as of yesterday, and hopefully it won't be back.
The Gipper's red, white, blue, and cowboy-hat wearing mug adorns the now-inactive front page, which has a notice promising to rid the site "obscenity, pornography, and those intent on the destruction of life, liberty, and the family."
Wait, what's this about porn?
Yes, it seems like it was launched with little consideration of … anything. It ran slowly and messaging was near-impossible. Significantly, for a site that wanted to be a sanction for conservatives, no effort was made to keep out the riffraff. Users adopted names like "Zombie Reagan," "Ayn Randy," "SATAN! SATAN! SATAN!," and "Dick Cheney." Fan pages emerged for "Cut Dicks for Christ" as did events like "Iran-Contra Block Party and Weapons Trade-Off." The Verge's Colin Lecher, who was poked by Satan, documented the chaos:
Someone with a Captain America avatar invites people to talk about guns; Margaret Thatcher leaves more than 700 comments on an innocuous status. There is an eagle crying, several photos of Jesus. … A photo of a monkey in a bubble bath is posted, and no one seems sure what side this person is on. Everyone is confused and angry with everyone else.
He notes perhaps the biggest oversight, that unlike "Facebook — where you're limited to seeing the status of your friends — ReaganBook allows you to see every status update worldwide in a single homepage stream."
The fragmentation of media is a good thing, but this was a foolhardy endeavor. Half-baked, it really has nothing to offer that conservative Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts don't already offer. And, anyway, serious political dialogue (insofar as that exists on the Internet) seems better suited to easily-moderated forums (i.e. Reddit) than social media sites (when was the last time a Facebook political debate on your wall didn't turn into a shitshow?).
Porter issued a frantic statement, "MY SINCERE APOLOGIES FOR THE VILE CONTENT. THIS WILL BE REMEDIED IN A MATTER OF MINUTES," but has since calmed and requests that ReaganBook users "please be patient" while she makes changes to the site. I'd say that for the sake of her own sanity, she just abandon the experiment. But that doesn't seem likely. One of her last posts before anaesthetizing the beast was that "the fact that so many leftists have invested so much time in the site, it provides confirmation that we're on the right track."