It’s no secret that social media has been progressively deteriorating for, at least, ten years. Simultaneously, many of us (myself included) stopped writing blog posts in which we could give some nuance to our ideas. Instead, we reduced thought to small sound bites, initially 140 characters long, later to an expansive 280 characters.
For some of us the sale of Twitter marked a point of insurmountable disagreement with both the system and the politics of the new owners. A fraction of “some of us” left Twitter and moved to the Fediverse, mostly Mastodon. In my case I opted for building a new network from scratch, actively trying to avoid replicating the old one. But this is still a microblogging social network, with a bit more room to write (this time 500 characters by default), still someone else’s network. Sure, one can have his own instance, but the costs associated (both in time and money) are too much for most people. In the same way I don’t maintain an email server, I don’t want to keep a Fediverse instance.
And here comes the crux of the problem: I want to keep my writing under my own name, which goes back to this post by John Scalzi on the artisan web. Step one for this is:
This is not the first time that someone says this; it just happened to resonate with me at the time. A somewhat similar feeling came from Jaron Lanier’s Ten arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now book. We are being eaten alive by the performative nature of social media, sucking our creative energy and “monetizing” our interactions. At the same time, it’s hard to leave networks and Scalzi suggests using them to drive traffic to our own artisan web, but putting our own words/photos/work first.
Whichever way I choose forward it has to be different. Both my Mastodon and Twitter accounts have been set to “ephemeral”, with posts being deleted after a month or so. Most of my interactions are now in Mastodon, which feels already better than some years before. They are small steps, but online feels calmer for the first time in years.