I recommend Jaron Lanier’s book 10 Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now. Not because you should delete your social media accounts per se, but because it’s worth thinking about the transaction that’s going on. If social media is free, what is the motivation for service providers? (For big platforms the answer is because it’s not free, because they’re slurping your data and using it to make advertising more effective.)
Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has not changed anything I didn’t already know, it’s just brought it into sharper focus. It’s nothing to do with what’s happening on Twitter and everything about what jumping to Mastodon feels like. There are no trending topics to suck my attention into the doom-scroll, nor increasingly vapid advertising. There’s just the invitation to engage with the content.
Going back to Twitter after that experience makes the signal to noise ratio all the more apparent. Remember, these companies rely on keeping the users angry and divisive. Quitting makes me think a lot about my decision to stop going to Reading festival, when the musical content was no longer interesting me enough to offset camping in a field and shitting into a tin bath for 3 nights. And this is how I’ve come to feel about Twitter; I am constantly camped out in the middle of a field hoping for something glittering in an endless tide of turds. It was this feeling that made me quit G+ and FaceBook, and I don’t miss those.
I know some people have jumped to Mastodon with the intention of curating the same feeds from other Twitter exiles, which is fair enough. Although I’ve done the same, it’s reminded me how well and truly exhausted I am with social media. The problem is I don’t want to cut ties with the real people on the various platforms. I think this is my compromise:
- Fictoplasm will continue to be a podcast, with a Patreon page. You can follow me there, and I should get alerts for any comments.
- At some point I need to work out how the podcast and blog is being syndicated… but that’s for later.
- I’m minimizing my Twitter interactions. I’ll probably just auto-post the Patreon entry. I should still get email alerts if you DM me on Twitter though.
- I’m going to be minimally active on Mastodon, but maybe a bit more than other social media. I’m probably cutting Instagram out. Discord continues to confuse me.
- I’m going to focus more on long-form blogging, and maybe pushing stuff to itch.io.
TL;DR Fictoplasm will continue to appear on social media, but I’m cutting it back to mostly blogging and podcasting going forward. However I’ve hopefully set things up so if you want to contact me I’ll get an email alert.
Happy new year, and thanks for your continued interest.