As promised, here is my write-up for those people who might want to know what the bouncing baby of social networking is all about.
Gab is a freedom-seeking social media network created by founder Andrew Torba to champion free speech above all. He has been doing everything in his power to expose the censorship and hypocrisy of the mainstream social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and provide a sensible alternative. 30 days and 50,000 users later, Gab has come into its own as the place to #SpeakFreely.
Most people come to Gab because they were silenced on other social media sites. Simple, but that also means that the user base is eclectic and diverse. You have the alt-right, the anarchists, the fascists, the racists, libertarians, conservatives, social justice warrior surrogates, and anyone else you can imagine. Of course, that is contradictory to what some extreme leftist mouthpiece shit-show masquerading as a tech news site would say. If your idea of free speech includes everyone, rather than just your own, then you will feel right at home.
Your first step should be to post an #IntroduceYourself message, and then you probably will get a message from the lovely @Caro welcoming you aboard. You can also find more information at #AskCaro and #GabStarterPack.
Instead of leaving the newcomers to Gab to fend for themselves, you have something unique called the #GabFam. Who is the #GabFam? You, me, and anyone else that signs onto the social network. The Fam (for short) are there for you whether it is general banter or some critical problem with using a feature. In the quest for free speech, all of the #GabFam are united and have much to share. It's common to greet the Fam, say goodnight to them, and even rant. Don't know anyone? Talk about something on #GabFam... Easy as pie, and soon your followers will grow. The Fam is really the heart and soul of Gab and there is nothing like it anywhere else. There are also #BritFam and other region specific Fams so look around, and find them!
For me, being an old hat at online conversation, the atmosphere of Gab harks back to a more lawless time where ideas aren't filtered by some faceless goon in a data center, and it is refreshing. The user base is 100% real folks, no robots, and no shills. People follow you most of the time when you follow them, and they reply and repost. If high interaction is what makes a social media network better than others, then this is one currently the best. Post the same content on Twitter, Facebook, and Gab and I assure you that despite its smaller size on paper Gab will outdo either unless you are already some huge name.
Trigger Warnings and Self-Censorship
The rules of Gab are terribly simple: no violence, no threats, no porn, and no personal info. Mostly, they are the rules that any Internet-based business has to follow. That means, of course, there is nothing protecting you from ideas or views which challenge you, and that is your job. Gab introduces a concept called self-censorship, which gives you the choice to block users, or block particular combinations of words from posts -- anything that matches will be unseen. The Orwellian components that plague platforms like Twitter and Facebook don't exist, since Gab doesn't filter any content minus the few cases that break the rules at all. That means you can argue with someone, you can also insult them, and no one is going to interfere. Real debates happen here, but if you need the safe space you can create it at will.
The State of Gab (Beta)
The most troubling features you are missing at the moment is the ability to privately message and see the entirety of your follower lists. That means you probably need another social network to directly message someone, and making sure you are following everyone back that follows you is pretty daunting. The followers situation is manageable by carefully tending your notifications tab and clicking names once in awhile just to make sure you got them. Images are still a bit wonky as well, as there is currently no way for Gab to resize the pictures correctly. Other than that, it works pretty well for a 30-day old construction.
If Gab can keep pace with the demand for its service, and implement a few key features it will decimate hostile social media networks in a heartbeat. It's just better from the ground up, and the conversations are fabulous!