Social media change
Last week it felt like the dam broke and people were finally well and truly fed up with Twitter and were going to look for an alternative. In essence people were taking their community and hitting the road. And over the past several weeks I’ve been dipping my toes into some other forms of online community to see what would work for me.
Twitter, for me, has meant community, leads to jobs, and so much more over the years. I’m friends with people who live all over the country and we’ve hung out in real life, all because of Twitter. But I too pulled back over the last year, using my account less and less and trying so hard to avoid the crap. I mute words, mute people, and still it seems difficult.
About a month ago I launched a microblog on my site and started to see what that community was like. I really like the idea of owning my own content, but I will be the first to admit that it’s been hard. It took a lot of work on my part to figure out a way to do a microblog on my site that could feed to the community site. Very few people, especially those who don’t work on the web in any way, are going to try and make this happen.
But microblog also suffers from too little interaction for me. I’ve no idea who’s following me, so I can’t follow them back if I want to. I have no idea if someone has faved something I’ve said. I don’t do it for the faves and follows, but those indicators are how I know I’m heard, how I know people are on the other side, they are what make a community. And I find I miss not having them on this service.
That leaves another service, Mastodon. Quite a few from my web community are now using it more. It’s been around for a while (2016, I think?) but it’s set up to be a more federated space where administrators of each instance enforce the rules of that instance. It is clunky, you have to figure out how to join an instance along with which instance you want to join, and then you need to figure out how to follow people from that instance or possibly other instances. It definitely isn’t a one click thing.
Warren Ellis wrote about it in his newsletter over the weekend and his way of describing it is great:
The novelty about Mastodon is that it’s federated. You can create your own Mastodon “instance,” like a state, that then connected to the united states of Mastodon. But, of course, everybody joins an already existing instance, because who the fuck wants to spend time creating their own state?
I’m on there, if you’re so inclined, you can follow me. I’ve moved instances since I started, but am on something smaller and only “tooting” to my followers. It could be a good place, I’m trying it out and seeing what I think.
But here’s the thing that I’m looking for and may or may not find in either of these places. (To be honest I know I’m not gonna find it at microblog.) I’m looking for community; the good kind, the kind with no assholes, the kind where people support each other and you can vent and rage and celebrate. I’m not sure it exists anywhere, but I’m trying things out, so we’ll see. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that this may only happen in private spaces, because there is just too much ugh in the public spaces now.
I sent this out in my newsletter a few weeks ago. If you like this type of writing and you like email, then you may want to subscribe. I send, at most, once a week, but more like every two weeks and the content does vary between links, thoughts, book reviews, food, and more.