Social Networking is so bizarre on all the little niches that get built up. I’ve been involved in so many social networks over the years in some way, It’s interesting to watch them rise and fall and evolve, sometimes incredibly frustrating. sometimes too. I could definitely do without the TikTokification of LITERALLY EVERY social website. From LiveJournal to Myspace to Facebook. We all hop along chasing easy connections.
What bugs me is just how much they all try to be the same. The real obvious one I already mentioned, is that little row of circles at the top of the screen that leads to an endless path of random 15-second video clips. There is also the incredibly annoying “algorithmic feed” that everyone has. People have given up complaining about it these days, but I heard lots of “normal people” complaining about that one. Everything used to just be “everyone you actually follow, in revere chronological order”. You could scroll down to the last thing you saw, and know you were done.
Anyway, it seems weird to have all these social networks, but when they all stay more in their lane, they all serve good, different purposes. Part of it is about mindset. If I want to see photos, I used to go to Flickr, then I started going to Instagram. Now there isn’t really anywhere because Instagram is all TikTok videos. Threads is kind of more photos, but frankly, I am already tired of and done with Threads. I don’t need another Twitter replacement, I have Mastodon. Mastodon serves its purpose well, follow interesting nerdy types and make slightly shiposty posts.
I still keep up with Facebook, sort of. I’ve mostly used Facebook to follow family members, but in the last few years I’ve started branching out a bit into groups. I don’t really post much there at all though. I had ideas of posting more on Facebook via pages, but nobody ever gets shown pages unless the admin pays for placement as far as I can tell.
I used to be a pretty regular Reddit user but the API change killed access from 3rd party apps and the default interface is shit so I just, stopped visiting and posting completely. I’m actually surprised how easy it was. I use a lot of Discord, but that has a whole host of issues of its own, like how homogenous every server is and how notifications are impossible to use ever.
There are also more niche sort of social websites, and forums on specific topics, like the old days before Facebook. I don’t use them much but there are also tracking websites like Letterboxd, Last.fm, Goodreads, etc that all have their own little communities.
One that feels like it doesn’t come up in conversation much is Next Door. I didn’t even know this was a thing until I moved and got a random postcard. It’s essentially Facebook, but geographically focused. You are, by default, part of a “neighborhood”, but almost every post goes to “nearby neighbors” which as far as I can tell, encompasses my entire city. I actually do find it pretty useful, to point, but I also never every just browse it, I just, occasionally check notifications that come to my email.
Mostly because the actual interface is absolutely terrible. It’s like, an ad, every other post, maybe even more frequently. Also, the email notifications, tend to be useful posts, like, information from the City Offices, The posts you “miss”, are very low quality. At least in my area. They fall into a weird mix of categories.
- I found someone’s dog/cat, with a photo.
- Someone broke into my/a car.
- Someone “suspicious” was walking through the neighborhood.
- Someone posting a reply to another post as a main post, for some reason, how do you even fucking do that????
- People advertising local services, usually handyman services or main services or transport services.
The really interesting ones are the “suspicious person” posts. They almost always have some night vision camera footage attached. I am convinced these are in fact, stealth advertisements. I became even more convinced because I looked up the address for one on Google Maps street view, and roamed up and down the street, for like an hour, and could not find any of the houses in the background of the video. It was a short street too, like two blocks long. \
The “broke into my car” is more often “I left my car unlocked.” Which is tragic but sorry, lock your car. The service advertisement ones always feel a bit shady because you know these people probably only take cash and aren’t running things as any sort of business.
Then there is that “Replies as posts.” A lot of Next Door really feels like “Old People Facebook” on steroids. Maybe it’s more just “Localized Facebook.” I will admit, I tried to follow a bunch of local news and pages once, and the comment sections were a complete cesspool of idiocy and arguments. Next Door is almost as bad, but not quite, because it’s used less, and the app seems to algorithmically dump posts that start to turn into shitty comment blackholes. I imagine people “follow up” less on Next Door as well.
There are still plenty of crazy nutballs, like this guy here, screeching about people being “woke”. I should add for context, this reply, was mad at the OP of a post concerned about traffic safety in an area where they are doing construction. It was a post that could have been made by anyone, regardless of political alignment, expressing actual, legitimate concerns.
Apparently, traffic safety is “woke” now? Hell if I know.
The real thing that this all confirms to me is, I don’t really care to know these random local neighbor folks at least 50% of the time. It’s much easier to make friends on other Social Media where there is a lot more ability to filter for interests and personality.