So…things are not looking that great for Twitter. It’s always been a fraught space, but the prospective sale to Elon Musk raised concerns about it getting worse in certain ways, and now it looks like mismanagement may crash the platform. I’m planning to keep my account active and expect to keep using it until the site becomes unusable (I’m @APHowell) but I’m personally bummed because the one social media platform I make regular use of is going to go the way of…well, previous social media platforms I made regular use of.
I don’t have a lot of followers and don’t follow a lot of people. (This is one of the reasons my description of Twitter as a “hellsite” is affectionate, not a reflection of trauma or real life consequences; not everyone is so lucky.) While I’ve used it for professional networking, I’m not financially incentivized to be on the site. So I count as “bummed.” Other individuals and industries face more existential threats. (Here I’m specifically thinking of authors and the rest of the publishing ecosystem—Jason Sanford’s recently written about this—but those are by no means the only groups effected.) And that’s before we touch on the worldwide implications of the utility and fragility of platforms like Twitter.
Anyway, I doubt I’ll be using another platform as heavily as I’ve sometimes used Twitter, but I figured I should start a list of other places/platforms/modalities where I can be found (or not).
- Mastodon: A few years ago I joined mastodon.social to check it out. I came to the conclusion that the entire setup was uninteresting (picking a community first remains counterintuitive, and the whole decentralized, federated thing is a barrier to entry/reach/engagement and fraught in many ways). But some folks I follow on Twitter joined wandering.shop, so now I am @firstname.lastname@example.org. I can see myself adding this to my routine checks of forums and suchlike.
- Dreamwidth: I have one that I use more than any social media platform aside from Twitter…which is not saying much. I plan to continue to use aphowell.dreamwidth.org, though this blog (aphowell.com/blog/) remains my primary.
- RSS: Why yes, this very blog does have an RSS feed.
- Tumblr: I was never into Tumblr, though I do have an account (@adainph-blog) I basically never use. Will I use it more now? Doesn’t seem terribly likely, but not impossible.
- CounterSocial: I joined recently as @APHowell, and so far it looks like a messier Mastodon less tailored to my interests, so I doubt I’ll spend much time attempting to adjust the hems.
- Cohost: Joined as @aphowell to look around, but they seem to be having some issues and I am not hearing a lot of buzz from people I follow, so right now I suspect this will just be another dormant account.
- Instagram: Mostly unused, due to being part of the Zuckerverse; I am disinclined to put the app back on my phone. (Though now that it’s offering to let me post images from a desktop, the chances of my using it have risen from “nil” to “not completely impossible.”) Sometimes I look at other people’s pictures. My account is @a.p.howell.
- Facebook: This one’s a non-starter. I stopped making use of my real life account years ago, due to a combination of decreasing usability, increasing toxicity, genocides, and a disinclination to post kid pictures as they aged.
- MeWe: I looked into this as a Facebook replacement and based on the groups quickly formed the impression that it was crawling with Nazis. I have zero interest in seeing what it’s like now.
- TikTok: There are a whole lot of issues with this platform, but the main reason I don’t use it is that I have not made the “pivot to video” as a user, much less a creator.
- YouTube: Basically everything I said about TikTok applies here, except for longer. I do have an account, as I’m otherwise part of the Google ecosystem, and may end up using it in the future; but for the time being, this is not a good way to find me.
- Discord: I am on a few servers, including SFWA’s, but have no plans to start one. I tend to swoop in and catch up a bit, rather than spend a lot of time with the thing open.
- Newsletter: I don’t have one at the moment. I don’t have the bandwidth for writing much original content, and it feels like a dribble of short fiction in magazines and anthologies doesn’t really justify a newsletter. Maybe in the next year or so. (In the meantime, WordPress provides the option to follow the blog via email.)
- Ko-Fi: I have one @aphowell, but at the moment do not do anything tip-based. (I mean, sure, if you want; but I sell my stories to publication venues, not direct to readers.)
- Patreon: I had one for a while and basically used it as a place to post pictures of flowers and my late dog. If I have actual grist for the mill, I may resurrect it at some point; but for now, my pattern of output doesn’t justify it.
I think that’s it for now? I’m planning to do some rejiggering to the website in the next couple months, so that’ll maybe give me a chance to decide what the social menu should look like, based on new usage patterns. But in any case, this site will continue to be my primary online home.