I actually wrote up a private journal entry about the whole Twitter mess, but I’m really really trying not to fuel that drama, so I’m refraining from actually posting anything about it. It’s gotten me thinking some about social media and following people online in general though. I’ve been online for a very long time and I’ve used computers almost my entire 43 years of life, and that is not an exaggeration. I am, and will forever be connected to technology as a core piece of who I am. And as such, I also flock to social websites. But the funny part is how each one sort of manages to slot into it’s own little place in my world. And how irritating it is when they try to change things and be something I don’t want them to be.
Take say, Instagram. I resisted Instagram for a while, and even once I started using it, I honestly have never been super committed to it. But I do like seeing other people’s photos. I have two accounts, one that is almost exclusively toys, and one that is “everything else”. Which is usually bands and musicians I like, family members, cats, food. In that order. Though lately, they keep trying to turn themselves into TikTok, which I hate, because I don’t want dumb video clips, I want photos.
Instagram of course is part of Facebook, though it serves it’s own purpose. Most of my actual contacts on Facebook are people I actually know. Family, all those people from High School I added when FB first launched, and friends, both from real life and online. Though I want to add that in this case, “Online Friends”, for the most part is, “Actual friends.” People I have been online friends for longer than I’ve been friends with anyone else. People I’ve been connected to cross platforms and in quite a few cases, people I have met with face to face at least once. I also use Facebook some for groups, but it’s pretty much limited to a couple of toy based groups and groups related to musicians I like. I tried using Facebook for news, but the comment sections are always cancerous idiocy so I had to drop all of the news sources I was following.
Beyond that, things get a bit more nebulous.
Take, for example, Reddit. I use Reddit a lot, probably more than is healthy, but i don’t have any friends on Reddit. I basically do not ever look at user names. I do follow a couple of accounts, but it’s mostly just people I actually know, and mostly for the sake of, “This is an easy way to remember who they are on Reddit”. I don’t actually look at their Reddit feeds, because I follow them all through other platforms where I will hear about things they want to say in a much more efficient manner. I do follow and check a shitload of subreddits and regularly browse posts on /r/all. My “Reddit Recap” for 2022 says i was in the “Top 1% of all Redditors”. I’m not sure I’m proud of that one. It’s probably the one place that’s great for getting good information from actual people on a wide variety of topics.
Then there are places like Twitter, which I’ve replaced the functionality of with Mastodon. These places, basically boil down to, “If your profile information meets any one of a dozen or so criteria, I will follow you”. Post about Video Games, Toys, Nerdy Tech shit, almost instant follow. Post snarky one liners about life that I emphasize with, that’s a follow. Post memes about cats or something frequently, but not so frequently it pollutes my feed, you bet, I’ll follow that. I treat Micro Blog platforms more like…. RSS for people’s shit takes and hot takes.
Which brings me to another way I follow people, RSS. I love RSS. RSS is so perfect for following and I am still fucking salty about Google Reader being closed and will always be because it basically killed RSS to the world. As of now, I follow around 500 blogs and news sites. I have a ton more bookmarks, waiting in a folder called, “Todo -> Add to RSS”. And i regularly go through this folder. The criteria for following a blog on RSS are similar to the Micro Blog criteria, but probably in a more broad sense.
I think in the end, I just like hearing people’s stories and random thoughts. Even if I don’t always give feed back with a comment or a like or whatever. I want to know what people think. Especially things that seem completely banal and pointless.