Social Media Presence
I’ve been taking some time to rethink my relationship with social media.
Over the years, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr have provided usefulness in connecting with hundreds and thousands of likeminded people around the world. It has helped me in both my professional career and personal life, introducing me to lifelong friends, work partners, and dating partners.
Each platform, however, developed more and more downsides. With Facebook, it was intrusive advertising, an addictive and manipulative newsfeed, or private data violations. With Twitter, it was a deterioration of the API for 3rd-party developers, an increasingly poor handling of toxic behaviours, and the exodus of people onto a plethora of similar platforms. With Instagram, it was unhealthy personal relationships turning the platform into a battleground for recognition and control.
Social media makes private things public to a potentially large audience that wouldn’t have been easy or likely 20 or 30 years ago. While there are many benefits to that, there are also many downsides. If I no longer have the need for the benefits or the benefits have disappeared, why would I post when there are only downsides in doing so?
Which leads me to wondering what benefits there are for me to get back into social media?
The primary reason for me would be the creative outlet. I enjoy photography, and writing, and have been thinking about animation and video production. Many platforms would be well suited for sharing this type of content.
Many of my friends are people that I only talk to once every few months, or once a year, or even less. Like the occasional letters I’d receive in the mail, social media platforms are a way to stay loosely connected with other people on a less frequent basis.
I know some people that send out a yearly or quarterly newsletter about themselves. These days, that’s usually an email and I’ve considering doing something similar with a seasonal update or two. But that’s unidirectional.
Social media, on the other hand, has become the primary way for people to maintain those connections and avoiding those platforms means missing out on those points of connection with others.
If I am to get back onto these platforms, I wonder if I should clean the slate. If I start my Twitter account again, do I need all the followers? Do I follow the same people? What about all my old tweets that are, at this point, irrelevant? If I start my Instagram account again, who am I following? What content am I posting and where?
Do I want to turn my hobbies into a social media machine that has to be oiled and maintained? Each hobby with its own account? Or everything under just my personal account because these are personal hobbies? As mentioned in my last post, there’s also the fact that if I want to focus on specific projects, posting on social media means dealing with the restrictions of those platforms instead of the flexibility that a personal site gives me. But I can use social media to promote my personal projects. But I don’t necessarily want to use social media as some promotional business engine. I want to share things that are fun and exciting to me.
As you can see, I’m feeling somewhat wishy-washy about the whole thing.
In reality, none of this needs to be permanent or perfect. It can evolve over time, be destroyed, and built again. This is life and I’d like it to be filled with joy and be okay with the impermanence of it all.
I know that I often have a habit of picturing the end goal and trying to work towards that goal. (Which is why a project is so satisfying. There’s an end I can execute towards that end.) But I also know that I can resist starting because I feel the need for many things to be set up perfectly from the outset, when in reality, it can be more organic. If people don’t know the plan, they won’t notice when things aren’t going according to said plan. People also tend to be busy with their own lives to notice the minutiae of other people’s lives.
All that to say that I’ll find myself back on social media. Hopefully, in a healthy way that makes me feel like I’m enjoying the process instead of second-guessing everything.