Don’t worry, it’s not a performative post about how I’m storming off Twitter. (I’m not.)
But I have evolved the ways I’m spending time on and interactive with social media in 2022. My father’s illness and death reduced the amount of time I had to spend writing for the web outside of client projects. In general, over the past two years, I’ve focused more of my Twitter activity on amplifying other people’s voices instead of weighing in on things myself.
I don’t know that I’ve got a fixed position on whether Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter will be better or worse than what’s come before it. I do know that many people I care about have already stated that they’ll decamp from Twitter if he manages to close that deal.
As a long-time advocate of “publish one, syndicate everywhere,” I still advocate for my clients and friends to maintain their own official platforms, then use social media for amplification. Here’s how I’m putting my own advice into practice:
Twitter remains my overall favorite social media platform. It still feels the most immediate to me. It’s where I can convene with folks in real-time, without warning, to huddle on events that are happening right now.
Yet, it’s so full of trolls that it sometimes feels tough to wean any value from it. You’ll notice that I’m using a tool called Edgar to help broadcast notes about my projects to my followers. I also chime in on stuff from time to time.
But I’m also using Jumbo to automatically archive my Tweets and to delete them from my timeline after 30 days. In my work over the past decade, I’ve observed a tendency for some folks to play “gotcha” over old tweets that are taken out of context, or over an idea that hasn’t fully formed yet. I fancy myself a pretty milquetoast tweeter, and yet I don’t want to ever put myself or my clients in that kind of situation.
I’m spending more time on LinkedIn than I used to, primarily because that’s where I think many of our prospective UX clients for Johns & Taylor are hanging out. While developers and designers tend to get loud with each other on Twitter, I don’t believe that non-technical managers and decision makers are hanging out in our insider-y discussions there. I’ve gotten more leads and more traction just by cycling through some of our all-time “best of” longform blog posts, where past clients and collaborators can highlight them for our audience.
Someday, I’ll write more about the family dynamic that caused me to mostly drop out of Facebook. For a period of about ten years, anything I posted to Facebook resulted in tirades of personal attacks. If I happened to mention a client or a colleague, they’d end up getting bullied, too. That’s why I maintain a public-facing profile for my personal writing and consulting work, while keeping my personal posts otherwise private.
However, during the pandemic, Facebook reconnected me with some people I am glad to have back in my life for a variety of reasons. Most of them aren’t “extremely online” and Facebook is the only place they really hang out on social media. So I’m there, and not planning on deleting my account anytime soon. (However, I’m not on Messenger in any meaningful way. If you try to contact me there, it could take me months to see it.)
This year, I’m considering getting more experimental with Instagram. For the entire history of my account there, I’ve kept it as a highly curated visual journal. However, I’m observing that many of my former Twitter friends are getting more active there, and I may end up putting more direct (promotional) links in that feed, too.
I’m finding that the time I used to spend on Twitter has shifted to interactions in smaller, private groups on Slack and Discord. I hang out virtually at Indy Hall, as well as in the Wandering Aimfully community—two places where group leaders have cultivated warm, welcoming spaces without sacrificing robust conversations.
And a closing thought about getting in touch…
As I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself over the past few years, it’s come up that I’m not—as my therapist puts it—”good at goodbyes.” And I think that’s meant that folks who were in my life at one point assume that I’ve been shutting them out for some reason, especially since I’m not always the best at staying in touch beyond my ambient presence on social media.
That’s on me. Get in touch.