Social media on the internet is rapidly devolving from Speakers Corner to the Tower of Babel to individuals howling in the digital wilderness.
With X (Twitter) rotting from the top down, most people fond of communicating via pithy snippets have migrated to Meta’s Threads, Bluesky Social, and the aggregation of Mastodon servers. Or maybe CounterSocial. (Remember the hacktivist app CounterSocial? I don’t, but apparently I have an account there. Sigh.)
Is Microsoft-owned LinkedIn filling the online-conversation need for you?
Those of us who write at mid-length now have a choice of drowning in Facebook’s recent onslaught of repetitive ads (mine are for sweaters and Japanese snacks) while reading about our high school friends’ family vacations or reviving our moribund accounts on Tumblr, Medium, and Substack. We can take payments, or ask for tips via Ko-fi.
And, of course, there’s always Patreon where we can harness ourselves to a schedule of content production for a small-but-loyal paying audiencee—and end up spending half of our posts apologizing for not meeting that schedule. Talk about a self-induced guilt trip.
FROM THE Audience Viewpoint
If none of this sounds appealing to you as a content creator, I’ll point out that this fragmented array of platforms is even less appealing to readers. It used to be that if someone stopped following social media, they missed out on a shared experience, be it Twitter or Facebook. And the community missed them. Now…no one notices.
I’m sure that one or two of these platforms or communities make it easy to browse, find, read, and pay for interesting content. But platforms fall in and out of favor pretty quickly (often because they’ve changed their rules—see: Twitter). This does not motivate me, as a writer, to invest time and energy in one. And I certainly don’t have the time to check in on each of them every day to read what’s been posted by friends. I’m a follower, but usually a ghostly one.
It would be wonderful to have some kind of aggregator for all these sites, the way we used to have blogging aggregators (remember RSS feeds?). But if you look at the current aggregator software, it’s commercial stuff aimed at business clients who want to use it aggregate (often to rip off) other commercially produced content and offer it under their own banners. I haven’t found software that lets you aggregate content posted by individual creators who publishing via Automattic’s WordPress and Tumblr, Square’s Weebly, Google’s venerable Blogger.com, SquareSpace, Medium, and Substack. I doubt very much if such a thing would be commercially viable. (And if I type the word “commercial” one more time here, I’m going to gag.)
Bottom line: Reading social media content is not much fun these days. Particularly the bizarre posts generated by AIs, which seem to have a serious problem with gender-pronoun consistency.
Back to the Blog
As for writing, at this point I’m joining the personal blogging revival, going back to my own WordPress blogging here. You’ll notice that most of the affiliate-marketing bloggers have jumped over to visual platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and (to my surprise) Pinterest. That leaves blogging to the writers. So I guess we should get to it.
If any of the platforms mentioned above are providing a rich and comprehensive social media experience (for writers to connect with readers and readers to connect with writers), please leave a comment. What platform is meeting your needs, and why? And if you have a lot of neglected social media accounts out there, ‘fess up—and tell us why that happened. I’m here, and I’m listening.