Writing and Social Media
How much do we really need? Any of it?
It’s my own fault, I know, but I’ve spent a good part of last week sifting through the various Twitter alternatives, and they’re popping up like Whack-A-Moles. This is crazy! Or is it me?
Here’s where I am: Twitter has been taken over by a billionaire with the mind of a 10-year-old Bad Seed. He’s toying with those of us who find Twitter useful and irreplaceable. We’ve built communities there, we’re made invaluable discoveries, we’ve managed resources, we’ve used it as a go-to place for almost everything. (Not you, obviously, if you just don’t get the appeal. That’s fine. This isn’t for you then.)
I’ve amassed a huge list of Twitter people who mean something to me, one way or another. They’re journalists, opinionists, historians, scientists, educators, humorists, cartoonists, politicians, and just people. I’m not the only one who is just now realizing what a treasure trove Twitter is, now that we’re in danger of losing it.
O, the lamenting going on! It’s heartbreaking. Many of them are saying their goodbyes and leaving before the doors are even shut. To them it’s not the same place. Its usefulness has run its course and they’re moving on.
But where to? There’s the dilemma. There’s nothing out there like Twitter and there never will be. Twitter has built up over the years into a massive, global space, with many tweaks along the way to make it what it is. There is no replacement. As we’re all finding out.
Facebook works in some ways, but not all. I have two Facebook pages—one for family and friends and one for those who follow my politics and my opinionating. They’re okay as they are, but they do nothing for my writing. Which is the point of all of this.
Early on, I got on the waiting list for Post News and was selected almost right away as one of a thousand beta testers. I’ve never been a beta tester before and for a while it was great. Then Post’s owner, Noam Bardin, hit the wrong button one night and opened the whole thing up to everyone on the waiting list. More than 100,000 people! Before he could shut it down many thousands had accepted the invitation and now the site is so crowded the crew can’t keep up. Glitches everywhere as they struggle to accommodate all of us in a space still only big enough for the chosen testers. I think I’ll like it when it settles down and becomes something, and, so far, a lot of the people I admire from Twitter are hanging around, too, to see how it will all play out. But it’s still a glitchy waiting game. Not exactly a replacement.
I’m also on Mastodon, a labyrinthine behemoth of a website, so thoroughly confusing only a handful pretend to understand it. Mastodon appears to be a clearing-house for groups that may or may not be accessible to the rest of us. The hallways are littered with people trying to find their way. The growing pains are obvious there, too, and I can’t say it’s exactly fascinating to watch. I have no idea what I’m even looking at.
Tribel is another wannabe, though much smaller in scope than the other two, without access to the kind of funding they’re getting. I like Tribel’s format best of any of them, but it, too, has growing pains. The zeal of the owners is a real turn-off, as they’re always on Twitter ‘reporting’ on how terrible the site is before hawking their own site as an alternative. So far they’re not drawing many big names, which seems to be the appeal to the others. It may boil down to who can draw the biggest names.
There are a few others but these are the three I’m betting will be in the running for the top position.
Do you use social media in your work? Which of them works for you? I’ve never ventured into Instagram, SnapChat, or TikTok, so I can’t speak to their use as effective working tools. How useful are any of them in the long run? Are they anything more than social outlets? If not, how important are social outlets to you? I personally like having a community I can turn to, but how much is enough? I suspect I go overboard, myself.
Anyway, let’s talk. I can’t wait to chew on your thoughts.
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