Some Short Thoughts on Social Media

Like everybody else, I’ve been watching everything happening with Twitter with a curious eye. I don’t think I’ve been particularly secretive about my dislike for the platform, which goes beyond the owner and into how I feel that the site incentives anger, pile-ons, and lack of nuance. None of this is synonymous with Twitter or social media as a whole, but, in my opinion, enabled by it. As a writer, as the editor of a website, as a person who enjoys interacting with other people, I’m frustrated and bummed that the site so many of us used to build our careers, platforms, and friendships, seems to be disintegrating before us.

But also: I hate it. I hated using Twitter, I hated that so much of what I want to do and be required my presence on a platform that made me miserable. I wish that wasn’t the case (that I didn’t feel that I had to be there or that it didn’t make me miserable, take your pick). I’m not sure that the mass exodus of Twitter users to sites like Mastodon and Cohost will actually solve my issues with Twitter, because the behaviors Twitter encouraged now feel like default ways of engaging online. I hope that’s not the case, especially because both sites (or in the case of Mastodon, the instance I’m on) seem less interested in virality than Twitter, but who can say? Things change, the lights need to be kept on, advertisers may need to be courted and satiated and we may all become the product again.

I’m not trying to be morbid—or, god forbid, doomer—about the future of social media. But watching this all happen is causing me to reflect on what I want out of it. I would like the work that I do (my writing, the articles I edit, my podcast) to be seen by other people. I would like to talk to people who have similar interests and make cool things together. I would like to keep up to date on the cool things that other people are doing. All of these things were served by Twitter, but may not be very longer. That’s worth being sad about, I think, even as I sometimes imagine that I’d like to dance on the ashes of whatever’s left when Twitter dies.

I don’t have an answer to any of this—I can only point to where I’ll be and for what purpose.

I am on Instagram at @melissakbrinks, where I almost never post. Sorry. I do not take Instagram or its algorithm very seriously, but I like watching peoples’ stories.

I am on Mastodon, a community largely for science fiction and fantasy. I plan to use Mastodon primarily for the more professional opportunity/sharing my work side of my life. If you are interested in seeing my writing and the various things I’ve completed, as well as my more work-oriented thoughts, pitches, conversations, and so on, that’s the place to look.

I’m also on Cohost, which I find feels much less formal than Mastodon and more akin to what I liked about Tumblr and Livejournal back before I left both. Since it feels more personal, I aim to use that more for sharing short-form criticism, enthusiasm, and things that are fun to me, as well as the more professional stuff when it strikes me. If you’re interested in Melissa the person rather than just Melissa the writer/editor/podcaster et cetera, Cohost is the best place to find that.

I also have a roughly monthly newsletter you can sign up for on my home page, which usually includes a short personal essay, something I’ve enjoyed recently, and what work I’ve published since the last newsletter.

I don’t know what to make of everything happening with Twitter, which will probably be fine. But this seems like as good a time as any for me to branch out since I already don’t care for it, even if that means fracturing my internet experience. Maybe it will be for the better! Maybe it will be for the worse. All I can do is wait and see.

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