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At this point anybody that is paying attention is probably sick of "Why Social Media Sucks" articles." However, if we just keep doing social media the same way and don't change, things won't get better. I'm not under any illusion that anything I personally do here is going to have any significant impact, and that is fine. More blogging and less FaceTwitterGram will make my life better. That's enough.
1. Writing is good for you
By writing I mean stringing together sentences into paragraphs, not GRAARR, GRARRR,GRAAARRRR on Twitter or Facebook. In theory, all writing should be equal. In reality, it's not. Also, when you are composing a blog in a text editor like I do, or even in the compose window on Wordpress, you are not fighting Facebook's or Twitter's efforts to get you back to clicking and liking things. Also, blogs are just simply less reactive. You can't dash off a quick snark and insert it into the conversation with a blog. Your blog content has to be independently worthy of being read. It's not going to just show up in the responses of some A-lister on Twitter. Being less reactive means you have time to consider your thoughts, and consider if the thought needs to be published at all.
Consider this. If Trump didn't have Twitter and instead all his thoughts had to go through Whitehouse.gov as blog posts, how much happier would the world be? 99% of it would never get published. Hat tip to Dries Buytaert for the Whitehouse.gov example.
2. You control the filter
On social media, the algorithms decide what you see and react to. They are designed to get you to engage, not to think, not to learn, not to be content, but to be agitated enough to self-sooth by buying something from an advertiser. It's an advertising business, and content people are not prone to over consumption. You have no control on Facebook and Twitter. You may think you are in control, but you aren't. You might be really smart, but Facebook's engineers are smarter. They decide what you see, and thus what you react to.
You can't write about everything on your blog, so you have to filter. And since it's your blog and presumably there is nothing feeding you an algorithmic stream of things to blog about, you have to be your own filter. This is healthy not just because you aren't ingesting the Facebook or Twitter feed, but also because deciding how to filter, deciding what to and what not to write about, is a valuable skill itself. Blogging forces self-editing, and that is a good thing.
3. Your blog is an asset
Unless you want to be a social media manager, you will likely never show your Facebook account to a potential employer. If you are smart, you will actively resist any attempt by an employer to infiltrate your world on Facebook, but that is a subject for another post. Same with Twitter, although with Twitter being public by default there is, in theory, the ability to turn your Twitter account into an asset. In reality, not really though because Twitter is mostly a cesspool these days. Way back in 2004 an employer told me this blog was a factor in me getting hired. Not because I showed some brilliant expertise or that I even showed any flair as a writer. It was simply because it showed I could string together sentences into paragraphs and make a coherent point in writing. It's kind of a valuable skill in the real world. It's still way more valuable than the ability to craft the perfect snark in 288 characters.
Blog more in 2018, and FaceTwitterGram less. You'll be happier, healthier, and more content. I guarantee it.
Name: Mark Turner
Message: Hear hear!
Name: Chris OD
100% of my blog posts this year have received a comment. Let's party like it's 1999, err, 2005!
I am starting the slow process of quitting Twitter. At first I'd have it up at work all day. Now I've logged out on all devices except one, and I skim once a day.
What finally got me? Not the politics, but the negativity. A person I follow complained all through a gorgeous (to me), once-in-a-lifetime (for me) vacation.
Happy New Year1
I'd like to make a similar shift. I recognize that I've gotten in the habit of posting things on FB or IG that I would once have shared on my blog, because those platforms are where the feedback is. I used to think of it as meeting people where they are, as if expecting them to go to all the trouble of clicking through to my blog was some kind of imposition. But the points you raise here, in #1 especially, are right on the money.
"Your blog content has to be independently worthy of being read." -- That's part of the social network lure, isn't it? That a thought can be off the cuff and in the moment, vs a blog post which has always felt more like essay-writing to me, something I take the time to polish. I've wondered if I could find a middle ground--intersperse those longer, more polished pieces with the kind of quick takes I do on FB. Every time I've tried, though, the quick take grows and grows. Why is it that I can toss a photo on IG with a brief caption, but if I carry the same photo to my blog I feel like I need to write a Capital P Post to go along with it?
Name: Chris OD
In the olden days before Twitter, I used the blog like an early form of Twitter. Along with the longer pieces were several, "Hey check out this link" posts several times a day. At one point I even configured it with the links separated in a "side blog", if I remember the term correctly. So what I'm saying is I should have thought of Twitter sever years before Twitter happened!
Name: tee + d
Lissa pointed me to this post, and I appreciate it very much. I never stopped blogging at all, but definitely shouted into the void more on Twitter, in hopes of what, I'm not sure. Feedback? Validation? Whatever it was, I think blogging is definitely a better direction to go, to more deeply interrogate my own thoughts. Challenge accepted.
Name: Cindy D (Glinn)
SO CONFUSED by the 2017 comments on this post. Did you edit a 2017 one because it is just as relevant today? I suppose that makes sense!
In any case, I never did join Twitter. And though occasionally I see hilarious and uplifting snark emanating from that platform, tempting me, I am sure it was the right (and lucky/fortunate) decision.
Facebook is different because of the very busy people from other times in my life who I am only able to stay in contact with over there. And then I also joined a little bit of an art community there. And also of course my feed is peppered with articles of impending fascist doom which I feel I must keep abreast of despite the utterly depressing toll they take.
BUT, I am also back to blogging regularly as of January 2018. Mostly a little art community. But I dig it.
Nice catch - those are typos. I use a static blogging tool, so the comments come in to me as emails, and I cut and paste the comment into a text file, which gets picked up by the blogging software when I rebuild the site. However I add the date manually because I haven't gotten around to adding that info to the form. Those should all be 2018. The form also doesn't tell me what post it's coming from, but I get so few comments it's usually obvious by the content. I guess I should add the blog post title to the form also.