Social media presents a bit of a problem for me, indirectly.
When I come across something thought-provoking, I want to share it with people. I suspect this is true of most of us. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and so on make this easy. The collective inertia behind these sites makes new connections easy to establish, which only further adds to that inertia. For most people, that’s great. That’s as far as it goes and that’s as far as it needs to go. Hell, some people revel in the compartmentalization this affords. Facebook is the “friend” you, LinkedIn is the “business” you, Tumblr is the “secret” you, or whatever permutation you please. And to all those people, I say good on you. Go to, enjoy, have at.
My problem is that I have too many platforms on which to echo the same thing. I share articles and provide commentary on Facebook half a dozen times a day. I tweet1 when something terse pops into my head that doesn’t “merit” a Facebook post. And Tumblr? I don’t do much more than reblog on Tumblr.2
But what about this blog?
The reason I’m so terrible about remembering to post updates here is that my first instinct is to post them to Facebook. I haven’t got a good handle on how many people read the blog; I know how many Facebook friends I have. If I want to reach people with whom I’ve established some kind of meaningful connection, the feedback cues built into Facebook entice me into choosing it. The blog suffers. I took some steps toward alleviating that by installing a Facebook plugin and building a Facebook app that allows me to cross-post articles from the blog to my Facebook feeds–both my public-facing author page and my personal account.3 I’ve considered doing the same thing for Tumblr. I’ve installed a Twitter widget on the blog so that people who come here can see what I’ve tweeted recently.
It’s not enough.
The other side of this is the discussion and debate portion. For whatever reason(s), I have a hard time not getting into arguments on Facebook. If someone says something and I disagree with it, I’m inclined to say as much and explain why. Facebook is a terrible forum for engaging in any kind of reasoned debate about anything, as are Twitter and Tumblr. Comment threads grow unwieldy within a few responses, everyone assumes disagreement equates to accusation and character defacement, and so on. Chances are, if you have a Facebook account, you’ve had an argument on Facebook. You know what I’m talking about.
These arguments eat up a lot of time. Internet arguments always have for me, when they arise. I used to visit a forum wherein fact-substantiated argument occurred at the drop of a hat, but no concern was made to encourage civility in these discussions. Civility has no bearing on the validity of a point, but it does make a discussion a lot more bearable. Even so, I spent hours on this forum throughout college. One day, I just stopped going. I haven’t been back since. I think my resource usage has improved as a result.
I’ve recently been assimilated by Reddit, too. I’ve gotten into a handful of arguments there as well, though thankfully they have always remained far more civil–and informative!–than the others I’ve gotten into in the past. Still, it sucks up time and I regularly have to make a conscious decision to close the site and get on with something more productive. Reddit is an awesome tool for staying informed, learning new things, and having discussions with people across the globe. But it will eat up your time.
This is all a long-winded way of arriving at this point: I’m going to try to disentangle myself from directly interacting with social media.
Rather than hopping onto Facebook when I come across the next fascinating link, I’m going to post about it here. This place is a far better forum for my commentary. If you’re interested in what I have to say and want to discuss it, this is the place for that to happen. Not Facebook. My server, not Zuckerberg’s. I’m going to make another deliberate effort to keep my Facebook interactions relatively brief. If I have something that I want to talk about with someone in an in-depth way, it’s probably worth writing about here in an in-depth way and then providing them with a link. If they don’t care to read it, that’s all the information I really need on how that discussion would’ve gone elsewhere. Facebook is going to be for staying in touch with people and organizing events, or in the case of my public page, keeping a searchable presence for those interested in my authorial pursuits. That’s it. The blog will continue to cross-post to both of my Facebook feeds, but I won’t respond to any commentary there with more than a brief, “Hey, if you want to chat about this, head over to my blog and I’d be more than happy to!”4 I’ll be looking into a cross-posting plugin for Tumblr, too, for the same effect.
Twitter will be my go-to for terse, trivial updates. “Gosh, it’s nice today!” or “Man, that goalie must have been precognitive to block all of those shots!” will go there. Again, Twitter is a big, visible, public platform. I want people interested in my work to find me. If they want to get in-depth, come here.
- There was a time when I swore I would never use this term, nor Twitter itself. Sigh. [↩]
- Tumblr kind of scares me, to be honest. [↩]
- Having two accounts has also made me worry about being too “noisy” for people who follow both; they’ll often see the same content posted twice. [↩]
- I’ve also removed the “Like” buttons from the blog, for reasons unrelated to all of this. [↩]