(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort. Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)
The sale of Twitter to Elon Musk (which isn’t done due to the usual process) made me think, “yeah, time to rethink my social media use.” I’ll share my thoughts, but first, a lesson about myself – and perhaps yourself.
I’m not leaving Twitter (yet), but I decided it was time to look at my social media use and other “microblogging options.” So I went to open accounts at a mastodon site and counter.social, and found I already had accounts from five years ago. Suddenly memories streamed back – I had planned this earlier.
I remember being concerned about Twitter and Facebook being the end-all-be-all of social media and had begun investigating other options. How well did that go? Well, I’m looking at five-year-old accounts I used for a few posts, so the answer is poorly. Face it, Twitter was just easier (and we were glued to it during the last terrible administration)
I had been here before, so my first lesson is – never become so dependent on one social media site again.
Now onward to some more thoughts.
Steve’s Thoughts on Social Media Use
Humans work in tribes, but humans also like to build big things – like societies. A healthy society comprises many interlinked “tribes” to both support each other and keep any one group from taking over. A healthy society is linked together, communicates, and has people active in maintaining it.
My goal is to find, make, and link my tribes while playing a role in the larger society. So next up, here’s the social media I’m thinking of:
Have A Website: Get a domain and use it. Have a blog, a website, whatever. Direct it to LinkedIn or to your Linktr.ee (very useful tool). You want someplace people can find you, a home base, something – there are tools to set these things up easily. It’s a place for your tribe to find you.
A Blog: You may want a blog, which is easy to set up with WordPress. Blogs are good ways to post things and you can set up an RSS feed for people to use.
Use an RSS Reader: RSS may not be as big a deal as it was, but it’s invaluable to integrate information among sites. I use www.NewsBlur.com not just for news but also friends blogs, etc. It’s a way to be informed and keep up with my people.
Newsletters: Newsletters are very underrated ways to stay in touch and build a tribe. They give you a mailing list of people, they give you a way to stay in touch, and they allow for links, documents, and other useful info. Learn how to send one (I started one for friends and family 16 years ago). If you’re a writer or artist they’re invaluable. Plus you may have ones for different “tribes.”
Video Chat: Zoom, Webex, whatever these things are great. You can schedule regular meetups with people easily, share data, and so on. I strongly recommend picking a platform or two – I even pay for Zoom for myself.
Chat: Chat programs are great ways to stay in touch and have a more regular “tribe.” Discord, Slack, etc. are really good for that. Way back when AOL shut down, my friends and I moved to Discord, and it was great. You may or may not need them, but consider them if you maintain some active social groups.
Microblogging: Even if Twitter has an unsure future, “microblogging” like this seems useful for people. I don’t think it’s needed for everyone, but it may be useful for authors, people trying to reach others, etc. I’d consider one of the various Mastodon instances, Counter.social – and don’t write off Twitter yet.
Facebook (sigh): I am regrettably on it for reasons. I don’t consider it necessary, it may not be for you, so I’ll leave it up to you. However if money is an option, Facebook is free and has many of the above features. Just remember you are the product.
Blog sites: Twitter’s travails seem to be reviving Tumblr, and Pillowfort.social seems to show promise if growing slowly. I think there’s a place for these for community building and information sharing, but you are dependent on another platform. However you use these, remember to “back up your tribe” and find other ways to stay in touch with your community.
What I’m trying to do (read: revive my ideas of five years ago) is optimize how I use each of the above. What tribe matters? What purpose does each media serve? How do I avoid over-dependence on any one?
You can guess you’ll probably read about it here. Or five years from now if I fail again.
But before I finish up . . .
Engaging in Activism
I want you to find at least one form of activism to get involved in. Donate, call, raise money, get out the vote, something that gets you involved. It has several benefits.
- First, you are able to do good.
- Secondly, you build a tribe around things that matter – or find one you want to belong to.
- Third, you learn how the world works (trust me, you don’t).
- Fourth, you use the social media skills you developed above.
- Fifth, you learn how tribes matter.
This is another subject to post on, but get involved. It’s not easy (indeed, I could do it better), but it’s worth it.