Composer Direction: Read in a light-hearted way and relax.
Lately I’ve been dragging all of my friends, family, and coworkers down into the end-to-end encrypted Signal secure messenger, and you can too.
Below is my award winning formula for getting everyone that you know to use Signal. Everyone says it’s great. Some say it’s the best.
Phase 1: Paranoia
First, pick one of your friends as a target. Ideal targets for phase 1 will have some of the following tendencies.:
- Interested in Cryptography
- Interest in Politics
- Interest in Current Affairs
You should set up a chat with them where you talk a lot about cryptography and how the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. Send them scary links like:
- The Horror of a Secure Golden Key
- Trump’s Picks For AG & CIA Happy To Undermine Civil Liberties, Increase Surveillance
- PRISM (surveillance program)
Repeat with anyone who seems like a good target, and send them a link to signal. I’ve had some trouble getting the shortened URL that the app generates to send to certain people, but the https://whispersystems.org/ link seems to always work. I wonder if it gets filtered out as spam, or if the NSA is blocking it..
The goal here is to get a corner of your social network fully into signal.
Phase 2: Peer Pressure
Set up two group chats, one in the non-encrypted chat system that your friends use normally, and one in your signal client. Invite your recruits from phase 1 to both groups. Next, pick one mutual friend that you all have and invite them to the non-encrypted chat. The goal is to eventually add them into the encrypted one!
I recommend applying the following approaches:
Approach 1: Paranoia
This is the knee jerk reaction, because a properly implemented phase 1 will leave your friends paranoid, and they’ll likely want to send a lot of paranoid articles. Sometimes this works, but you also might want to try:
Approach 2: User Experience
Just tell them how easy and nice it is. Most people who know anything about encryption are thinking that it’s going to be something like PGP. They just assume that there’s going to be some kind of weird file that they have to keep track of, or a password they have to remember, or a mailing list that they don’t want to sign up for. I had someone say that they thought you had to pay for it, even!
Elucidate them! Then send them the link frequently. Throw in some scary news to boot. The idea is to have your friends all gang up on them until they cave in. “Just try it for one day!”
Phase 3: The Buzz
This phase is similar to the second phase, but it adds another layer of social pressure: the fear of missing out, or FOMO.
Put a lot of hilarious and good content into the encrypted group chat. Make it seem very hilarious and good.
Remember: once someone has installed signal and used it one time, it’s a good idea to pretend to the rest of your friends that they are as die-hard about it as you are. Go back to the non-encrypted chat group, and invite more people to it. Suppose your paranoid friend Ms. G and your normie friend Mr. Q have joined Signal but Mr. Q was only going to try it for one day. Now you’re trying to get Mr. A to join. You should say “Ms. G and Mr. Q and I are having a great time over in signal! It’s so great that they told me that they’d never use anything else.” Hopefully Mr. Q will be cool. The key is to never relent!
Phase 4: Success and or Excommunication
Congratulations, you have guilted and berated all of your loved ones to the point where they use Signal, or they’ve cut you out of their lives, which is fine because they were communicating in the clear all along, and who needs that kind of exposure.
Written From Inside of a Giant Tinfoil Dome at an Undisclosed Location