State of Personal Social Media, February 2023
Aside from being here, of course.
1. I’m still mostly on Twitter, because aside from the “fun” of watching it slowly break down, and Elon Musk and his crew fumbling about trying to understand this thing he now owns and must make debt service on, it’s still the place where I have the most followers and the most engagement. The exodus of 2022 seems to have stabilized (I’ve actually gained a couple hundred followers in January, after having lost several thousand from Oct – Dec ’22), and while I don’t expect that “stability” to last — Twitter just announced it’s fucking with its API services, almost certainly because it’s desperate for cash and Musk is under the delusion that access to API is going to be a profit center for him, rather than another reason for people and businesses to leave — it makes the point that Twitter’s collapse is looking more like a drawn-out deflation than a sudden crash.
I mentioned that I was planning to post less on Twitter in 2023 and actually I’ve managed that so far: In January I tweeted less than half of what I tweeted in December. It doesn’t seem to have done me any harm to tweet less, in terms of engagement with what I did tweet, so, yeah, I’ll try to keep at that.
2. Aside from Twitter the place I’m posting most is my personal Facebook account, which I keep private and “friend” only folks that I know in the real world. I tend to think of it as a “backstage” online area for me, since everywhere else (including here) is open to the world, so there is some iteration of public persona at play. The Facebook page has, well, less of that. I don’t let it all hang out there — there is no place online that is truly private, and I never say anything anywhere online without the expectation that it might show up in public, in bold print, with spotlights on it. But the dynamic is different and one I find increasingly enjoyable.
Which I admit is unexpected; honestly, if you’d told me a couple years ago that I would find Facebook the most enjoyable of my social media spaces, I would have looked at you like you just sprouted tentacles out of your face. But here we are. It helps that I don’t talk politics at all there; I do “kids, cats, careers” instead. I do enough politics everywhere else. It’s okay to have one place where I don’t.
3. And after those two… well, I post on Mastodon a few times a week, Instagram about once a week and on Post every couple of weeks. Spoutible, which is actually the closest thing to a Twitter clone, UI-wise, just came out. I signed up for it, but it’s so slammed with starting-up woes that I’m not expecting to get a real bead on its usability for weeks at least. I’m posting at the various places to keep a hand in and to keep options open, and I’m happy to do it and to see where these sites land, in terms of community and usability.
At the same time, it’s a little enervating to try to keep up with all of them, and there’s a real dissipation of conversation and community that comes from picking up online media stakes and heading somewhere else. I like the back-and-forth of things that I had at Twitter; that’s harder to come by in other places. Mastodon is closest in terms of it, because it’s been around longer and has a larger userbase (and I have the most followers there), but even there it’s a little off-kilter for me and I have to work at the conversational flow more. This is a “me” problem, not a Mastodon problem, to be clear; Mastodon is doing its own thing and has done so for years now. But it’s still a problem.
4. I think we’re in a real moment of change for social media, where some older brands are beginning to sunset and some newer ones are going to come up. But the feeling I get now is that this change is going to take longer than I (and I think others) initially expected, and that 2023 is going to end up being a transitional year with no sharp breaks between the now-old-line sites, and the new ones coming up. I’m half excited and half dreading this, because change has to be endured, whether one is looking forward to it or not.
Fortunately, as noted, I still have this place. It just keeps going. Hello! Glad you’re here.