Weening myself from social media

I’m feeling like my time with Twitter and Facebook is winding down.[1] This isn’t exactly a new feeling, but I’m having a harder time finding the value in consuming social media. Twitter in particular has made changes that seem designed to create a walled garden.[2] As a writer, I used to think there was value in posting my work on Twitter with the idea that something might go viral, but that really didn’t happen. Mostly it was friends and family who saw my writing. I don’t need Facebook or Twitter to connect with people I already know.

For a while I had a system set up to automatically post my photos and articles on Facebook and Twitter. Then Twitter started charging for API access and it didn’t seem worth paying to maintain access. I can share posts manually (and selectively) without much effort and I never got anything close to the exposure necessary to make paying for access worth any price at all.

I use Google Analytics to track visitors. Most of the time I get a slow trickle from people searching stuff on Google. But this summer I wrote three posts that got inordinate attention:

~600 of those views came from Twitter. The rest came because I posted on Hacker News. Not everything I posted got attention, but the Stack Exchange moderator strike was relatively big news. In terms of traffic to my blog, those three articles dwarf everything else I’ve done:

I still plan to post on Facebook and Twitter from time to time. Mostly it’ll be highlights. People who want to see everything I write here, can’t rely on social media. I do have a few suggestions other than to visit my site every day.

RSS reader

Back in the day, I followed a lot of blogs via Google Reader. When that was shut down, I didn’t want to go through the effort of setting up something else. Now that I’m moving away from social media, I started subscribing to my favorite authors in Inoreader. Almost every platform has an RSS feed,[3] which is an easy way to subscribe to every post. Here’s how you can follow me:

Mailing list

I started a mailing list that sends out links to any new posts. It’s scheduled to go out once a week if I’ve posted something new on my blog. If this sounds interesting, sign up with your name and email. I promise not to sell your data!

  1. Or should I say, X and Meta? Nah. These, like Google calling itself Alphabet, substitute a well-known thing for literally a placeholder. They’re awfully self-indulgent to boot. ↩︎

  2. Alternatively, you might call it a ghetto. ↩︎

  3. Since a lot of my favorite authors have moved to Substack, I was glad to see they support RSS. ↩︎

  4. Discourse has a wide variety of feeds to chose from. ↩︎