The last few weeks have been fascinating from an observation stand point for me. A certain social media company may (or may not) be on the way to its demise and how many people I know via that very website are handling it, is interesting. I’ve also been seeing things from people who write newsletters and of course it’s been all over the media. It’s felt very much like a lot of folks were waiting for a reason to leave, but they were also waiting to see what other platform people ended up on so they could still find their community.
I “left” Twitter several years ago in the sense that I deleted all of my tweets and I stopped posting anything. I didn’t lock the account (although I have now) and I kept following a handful of accounts that are extremely helpful during fire season. Other than that, I stopped spending time on the site. Many of my friends are now doing the same, but they’re also trying to figure out what will take the place of Twitter, if anything.
I’ve been reading about a lot of what people are doing in my RSS feed reader,. One day I read a post saying how absolutely fabulous Mastodon is and on the next day one saying how it’s just like Twitter. I tried out Mastodon a few years ago when it arrived and didn’t particluarly love it, but my community wasn’t there so I deleted the account and moved on.
I’ve also noted the reactions of non tech folks who are trying to figure out Mastodon, such as a recent newsletter put it:
Mastodon won’t let you search the text of “toots,”’ for instance, or suggest popular users or posts to you. (One wonders why chirp or post or publish wasn’t considered the optimal term.) You can’t see how many “boosts” a “toot” gets. You can’t quote-tweet (quote-toot?) others’ posts. Mastodon denotes replies with a vague “+1” … whether there are two responses or two thousand. And getting more replies or boosts or likes does not surface your toot to a wider audience.
It’s more work, discoverability is harder, for some that’s awesome, but for folks who want to reach an audience with their writing, maybe not so great. Some have also compared it to a blog, but I have a blog and using Mastodon versus posting here is not the same. Maybe those hosting their own instance of Mastodon see it differently? I’m not sure since I’ve not done that.
I keep coming back to the idea of timelines and realizing that I absolutely do not like the idle timeline scrolling anymore and it isn’t good for my brain or my heart. RSS feels distinctly different to me, mostly because the feed contains a lot of varied pieces in length and tone and it isn’t set up like a timeline (at least not in the reader I use).
But I also agree with Dave who posted about being online and thinking through how you value yourself and where you choose to post. He writes:
Wherever you end up I want to offer an idea; you are the value. Your ideas, your insights, your compassion, your ability to help someone in need, your dumb puns and dank memes; that’s what’s valuable. This situation has me thinking hard about where I’m distributing my contributions, where I’m adding value (modest as it may be), and who is benefitting.
He goes on to say:
Pour a foundation for your own silo or home.
I’m not heading to another platform, as I’ve said before, but I am trying to think more deeply, write more, and post here more. I’m on the lookout for more blogs to follow in my feed—hit me up if you know of any good ones. And I’ll end this with another quote from Mandy’s great piece on time and rest, because it’s rattling around my brain and I think it’s connected to all of this. I don’t know what will be next for anyone, but I’m thinking about this:
Phones (and, I’d argue, other digital technology, and social media in particular) have an abundant sense of restlessness—I feel as if I am scurrying from one notification to the next like a hunted animal, one item in the feed, after another, after another, never stopping or lingering. Never resting.