The Social Media Conundrum
Jamie Rubin’s recent post about his social media profile spurred me to respond to him via email, and I am sharing it here as a way of thinking out loud. I should also say that the text below is a bit unvarnished, pretty much as I wrote it.
I bailed on all social media except LinkedIn in 2014 and cut the TV cord at the same time. I do subscribe to one of the network apps at the moment, thinking $7/mo. isn’t bad for the two shows I watch. And of course, we have Amazon Prime so that is our primary movie outlet, not that we watch many. So, there is my use case profile for reference.
Interestingly enough, I was considering returning to Twitter about the time the possible sale came into view. Musk is a chaos factory, so I figured it would get messy. I didn’t expect just how messy and did not anticipate the aftermath. I am left with conflicted feelings.
He got what he deserved. I basically agree with his stated agenda, but anyone who spreads that much turmoil can’t be surprised when their plan goes sideways.
I am not a fan of how the Twitterverse reacted, internally or externally. I understand not everyone or even most are going to agree with him, but I think knee jerk alarmism and worse is not helpful for anyone. A “wait and see” response would have been much more logical and helpful for all sides IMO.
There is a part of me that hopes he turns it around yet. He has always been a disrupter, and this is a (painful) chance to do just that. In the best case, he is able to retool the platform, deliver a better solution, and gain acceptance . A long shot for sure, but it would be a big win.
The vulgar, vile, and hatefully over the top negative reaction has a bad smell to it. Maybe it’s a sign of our “I screamed loudest and longest so I win” culture, but it is both divisive and destructive in the bigger picture. As that wise statesman Rodney King once said, “Can’t we all just get along?” He didn’t say agree, he said get along, as in civility.
So where does all this leave me? I am still considering Twitter, or something. The drivers are to connect with a close circle of family and friends, a limited number of information sources, and to broaden the blog’s exposure. I am thinking of social media as a strategic tool for those purposes, not as a crowded space.
I’m considering a six-month trial to gauge value and how I manage my own relationship with a platform, before making a go/no go decision for the long term. One thing I am particularly interested in is how I relate to the experience. In my previous dive, I went deep. Too deep. One sniff of that happening again and I will pull the plug instantly.
I’ve considered or am considering the following.
Twitter. I might kick in $8/mo just to vote for Musk against the mad crowd. I’d love to see him shove the blue bird in their face.
Not Reddit for sure. It is too segmented (as I understand it).
Mastodon seems a better analog, but I don’t know enough about it yet. Will it scale up? How will it change if it does?
LinkedIn as a sole position? Maybe, but a lot of folks I want to connect with (family, friends) probably aren’t there. I still think of it as biz-centric and don’t think much of my content is a good match for the platform. Maybe I’m wrong on that one.
So there you go. A lot of musing, no conclusion. I’ll bet I’m not alone.
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1 thought on “The Social Media Conundrum”
I’m somewhat embarrassed to say that no only have I not “cut the cord” but having recently reviewed my subscription, man, we subscribe to a lot of streaming services. I never watch them (reading too much) but the family uses them quite a bit. As we discussed, and as my post indicated, I am planning on sticking with Twitter with the idea that when the pendulum swings one way, it will eventually swing back. But if it turns out that it doesn’t, then I’m looking at this as an opportunity to free myself from social media, which I think has done more bad than good for society as a whole. (Honestly, if social media in its modern form existed during the early parts of the Roman Republic, or in, say, the 1750s, things might have turned out differently (for the worse) than they did.
I’ve been dubious about LinkedIn from the early days. There’s a lot of “we’re hiring” / “hire me” noise there. You asked me about how LinkedIn has been effective in promoting my blog, and while my posts get there automatically, it rarely shows up in my referrers the way that, say Twitter, or Reddit, or Hacker News does.
I’m current NOT planning on forking out $8/mo for Twitter Blue (although it might be worth it for the editing alone). I’ve survived for 14 years on Twitter with a decent following real people (as opposed to bots) without having a blue checkmark next to my name, and I don’t see why that can’t continue. As a software developer in my day job, I don’t think Musk’s declarations and requests for pledges are practical. Although a lot of devs don’t want to admit is, software development is a blend of art and science, and I don’t think throwing extra person-months at a software problem is a guaranteed solution.