I started this on the train just because 🥲 pic.twitter.com/iZJ804yjLs
— Darling Mikki (@OkSoMik) November 10, 2022
In the book The Artist’s Way it’s known as synchronicity.
Through absolutely no planning of my own, the topic of today’s post is a perfect case in point to what I wrote last time when considering the future of this blog. Specifically, the point I made in favour of maintaining some semblance of it indefinitely:
[V]arious industry experts caution against having third-party social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.) as the sole basis of one’s online presence since these sites can change hands, change rules, change algorithms, or altogether fold up at a moment’s notice.
A blog is content that’s owned by the author, as opposed to the parent company of a given social media platform.
Little did I know how soon afterward my go-to social media platform would be upended right under me. And just when I’d gotten somewhat good at it!
I’m referring, of course, to billionaire Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter for the astronomical and astronomically overpriced fee of $44 billion.
The purchase has had various motives attributed to it by Musk’s supporters, his detractors, and Musk himself, none of which I’ll get into since others who are far more knowledgeable about software engineering, contract law, and, again, Musk himself, can do and have done far better justice to the topic than me.
But suffice it to say that Twitter became noticeably different after only a few days: engagement with my tweets—as well that of many people I follow—flatlined; I was seeing far fewer tweets from people/organizations I follow on my feed, even though checking their homepage reveals that they had, indeed, been tweeting; the tweets I was seeing on my timeline tended to be those with high engagement that were 15+ hours old.
The situation seems to have since stabilized for the moment. Yet it was a disheartening glimpse into how Musk’s proposed future “pay-for-play” model will likely manifest.
In short, while I’m committed to maintaining my Twitter presence for as long as it lasts, the app no longer seems entirely compatible with my needs to:
- Build a platform in support of my publishing aspirations
- Connect with the boarder online writing community, publishing industry, and history academy (since I write historical fiction)
- Be part of the global socio-politico conversation that occurs beyond what’s covered by mainstream media.
This means I’m gonna need another social media app.
But which one(s)?
I’m been weighing the pros and cons of various apps, based almost entirely on my overgeneralized snap judgements about both them and the types of people who use them:
Pros: Biggest worldwide platform by number of active users [source]
Cons: Full of old people; full of religious and far-right wingnuts; ugly/junky user interface; zero reach unless you pay (and even then…)
Pros: Beautiful photography; second biggest platform (not counting YouTube and WhatsApp, which don’t have comparable uses in my opinion)
Cons: Too much photo “staging” required; I suck at photography in general; users are more so showcasing; not interacting with each other; every post has too many gd hashtags
Pros: Good for both short and medium-length posts; seems like a fun place
Cons: Overly fannish, strongly devoted to visual art; kinda niche (doesn’t even make the statistics list); every post has too many gd hashtags that are like a sentence long each
Pros: Third biggest platform (not counting WeChat, which is primary a Chinese platform); post length (videos) is very short
Cons: I’m not hot enough for video; the algorithm is racist af; making even short videos is a ton of work; people talk some bullshit while painting themselves as “experts”
Pros: Visually resembles Twitter; many historians are migrating there
Cons: Isn’t much like Twitter at all actually; confusing af set-up; no interconnection between individual servers; not all servers are accepting new members; seems very white; weird expectations around content warnings; discoverability seems lower; posts are called “toots”
Ultimately, no one platform will be able to reproduce all that Twitter has to offer—no two platforms either, really.
For that reason, although I’ve chosen to set up shop on both Instagram (instagram.com/jannagnoelle) and Tumblr (tumblr.com/jannagnoelle), I’m also going to stick it out at Twitter until the lights go out, and hope against hope that Twitter is able to make a dramatic recovery.