I am experiencing some ambivalence when it comes to social media, although most of that is about Twitter. I use a few different platforms, for different purposes, and I am trying out a pair of newer ones.
What and Why
I currently use most of the common social media platforms. Facebook is mainly about friends and family, keeping up with what they are doing or thinking. LinkedIn is about professional connections, and keeping up with that community. Instagram is a weird mix of friends, family, and various celebrities or other notable personalities. I visit each of them once per day. On Instagram, once I’ve “caught up”, I don’t keep scrolling. I did for a time, and it was easy to lose a lot of time to that. No more.
Then there’s Twitter, Mastodon, and Post. The latter two I’m experimenting with, seeing if I use them differently than I did with Twitter. Twitter is, for me, an oddball. There’s no way to keep up with each and every tweet from the people I follow. I’ve reduced the number of accounts I follow there over the years, but even then, I usually didn’t read everything. It wasn’t hard for a thousand or more tweets to pile up in a 24-hour period, and that’s with me following maybe 50 people.
Twitter The Outlier
I wasn’t sure about Twitter when I first joined in 2009. It was already 3 years old by that point, and appeared to be gaining traction. It was when social media was becoming more of ‘a thing’, and there was an expectation in some circles that you should be part of it. I followed a lot of different people and organizations, all of whom I was interested in, or sometimes connected with, in some way. But it didn’t take long to get buried in tweets. I would check once a day, and there were thousands of unread tweets. This was before promotions and recommendations started to appear on the site.
For the next few years, I would stop using Twitter for months at a time, or even for more than a year. Then I would come back, pay attention for a few weeks or months, then just sort-of “wander off”. I removed more and more of the accounts I followed to try to get the volume of tweets down, but it was relentless/ There were just enough accounts that I wanted to follow, and many are fairly prolific posters.
To Stay Or Go
I have been considering deleting my Twitter accounts for some time now, long before the Elon Musk Imploding Disaster Show arrived on the scene. And leaving isn’t really about the dumpster fire fueled with thermite that Twitter appears to be devolving into. Twitter was a mess before that, it’s just managed to get worse. I, fortunately, had been spared that, in part because I used TweetDeck, which doesn’t show ads, promoted or recommended tweets, or following suggestions. I rarely posted anything. What I did tweet was apparently uninteresting, so I wasn’t subject to the trolls that roam the Twitter landscape.
But I also found that I had little or no engagement from Twitter and my modest number of followers. I generally tweeted a link to my most recent blog posts, as I do on other social media sites. The number of visits to my blogs that were courtesy of Twitter were generally zero. I would get some from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. But almost nothing from Twitter.
The only thing holding me back is that I have a few connections on Twitter that aren’t on other social media platforms, and I’d like to stay connected to them. I go back every week or so and check for notifications on Twitter. But otherwise, I’ve stopped using it again.
Stay, For Now
For the moment, I’m going to keep my personal and Vintrock Twitter accounts. Part of it is to retain the Twitter handles. Part of it is because maybe, perhaps, things might change again. For now that appears unlikely, but who knows. But I’ve got the accounts reasonably secure, I’ve removed a bunch of personal information from them, and it costs me nothing to let them sit. Whether I also stay on Mastodon and Post is a question mark, but I need to give both a lot more time before I decide what I do next. It’s too soon to make any decisions on them.