I can't believe it's Thursday already, can you? Where did the week go? Anyway, welcome to Thinky Thursdays, this is where I create a blog post about something that just happens to be on my mind. This week I have chosen Social Media and how I see the various platforms available. Just my opinion :)
Modern Social Media - the Good and the BadI'm an Indie Author, I have social media accounts all over the place through necessity. I've been online since the mid 90s so I've seen all sorts and I don't think we're necessarily headed to good things.
This is going to make me sound old, but when I first came online most things were done on mailing lists or bulletin boards. There were many, many rules about how to communicate because everyone had to consider things like the fact some people paid to download information by the byte. Formatting was important too, because you couldn't guarantee how someone was going to view your plain text.
We got by, but it wasn't the best :).
Then came the more sophisticated era, which is what I want to talk about with the following:
Livejournal (and Dreamwidth)
I started using Livejournal (LJ) in 2002 - in fact I have two permanent accounts: tasha27 (my 1st - very old and never used) and beren_writes (still current and I use it at least once a week).
When my friend Al started to try and convince me to use LJ, I remember thinking why on earth would I want that. Then I made one and never looked back. It's kind of a cross between a blog and a platform like Facebook for communal interacting.
Dreamwidth is the same engine, but run by fandom people rather than a corporation. It came later when fandom started to distrust LJ. My account for DW is here: beren_writes.
Reasons I still love LJ:
- the userpics/icons - for each post you can choose one of your selection of icons and depending on your account you can have between 6 and 208. Userpics can be fan-ish, or used to show mood or anything.
- communication - LJ is set up specifically to talk - the comments mean you can have long and meaningful conversations if you want to, or you can squee about fan-ish things if is makes you happy.
- communities - LJ makes it very easy to create groups of friends with their communities and it always has, right from the start. Communities are why fandom thrived for years and in some cases still does.
- profile pages - every account, including communities has a profile page which makes it easy to have rules, info and that kind of thing in one place.
- levels of privacy - when you post you can post to your journal or a comm, you can post to everyone, your friends, or groups of your friends that you set up in advance. This has always been an option.
- no variable feed - if someone posts and you have friended them, you will see there post in your feed. There is none of this, oh, we'll decide which posts you see based on some algorithm that makes us more money.
- levels of account - you only see adverts with the plus account (the default), on all others you either give them money or you can have a basic account which limits some of the perks, but still lets you use the place ad-free.
Reasons I don't always love LJ:
- TPTB - it's run by Russians who bought out the original founder and they have tried to police fandom on occasion (fandom mostly won though) - my advice, make a Dreamwidth account as well and they let you crosspost, so you can put posts on bother DW and LJ at the same time :).
- Media - You can't upload media easily. In most cases it's better to load it somewhere else and link it (I often use my blogger account for this :)).
- reformatting the front end - sometimes TPTB try to change the way the interface works and they always, but always bugger it up.
Livejournal has a much more mature atmosphere than any other social media I've used. It is a place to communicate above all. Everyone has always seemed to respect each other much more than in any other social media outlet I have employed regularly.
It was the major fandom hub for so many fandoms over the years, including Harry Potter. Many fandoms still use it and the legacy of fic on site is phenomenal. It's not just fandom either - LJ has everything else as well.
It's not as easy to show the pretty, but if you love words, LJ will love you. Come over and join us, we're still there :).
Reasons I use Facebook:
- number of people on it - the whole world seems to use Facebook, so it makes sense to have an account.
- finding friends and family - I have found friends and family that I have been out of contact with for years, simply by searching Facebook
- author communities - there are a lot of groups on Facebook for authors
Reasons I dislike Facebook:
- big brother is watching all the time - Facebook has a nasty habit of banning the wrong people and not banning those it should. It's all about money and I wouldn't trust TPTB as far as I could throw their corporate lawyers.
- they choose what I see - I hate the fact that even though I have friended or followed the accounts I want to see, their posts might not show up in my timeline. This is all about making money for Facebook and I hate it. It's all about screwing the little guy and letting those with money get to everyone - even those who aren't interested in them.
- they change the goal posts all the time - things get added to the Ts&Cs all the time and there is no recourse for the user. I wouldn't put anything on Facebook that I really cared about, for all I know it will vanish or be shown to the world when I least expect it.
It basically all comes down to the fact that I don't trust Facebook about anything. Too many times it has been shown to be about money, not about people and I will never trust them. Many people use Facebook all the time without trouble, but I can't bring myself to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Reasons I like Twitter:
- Visibility - millions of people use Twitter and connecting with them is really easy.
- Concise Information - with the character limit Twitter is all about packets of concise information, making it very easy to slip in and out quickly. It also makes you think about how to use it.
- Links - Twitter makes is amazingly easy to share links to interesting things.
- Pictures - Twitter also makes it easy to share the odd piccie
- Lists - you can make lists of the people you are following so you don't have to see everything all the time. This is good because I follow over 4.5K of people and seeing all their messages at the same time makes me go 'wibble' :) I reorganised my listed recently and it was most helpful.
- Tweetdeck - this makes viewing my timelines so much easier.
- Buffer - this is so useful for scheduling all the retweets and interesting links I find when wandering around the internet.
Reasons I dislike Twitter:
- It's like shouting into a void - there is little sense of community on Twitter and I never expect a response (it's fun when I get one, but I never expect anything)
- No levels of communication - everything is public, it's all about telling everyone. It's like having a conversation on a crowded bus and heaven help you if you say something and the wrong person overhears and dislikes it.
- It's full of arseholes - I think that probably speaks for itself :)
TumblrYou can't really mention social media today and not talk about Tumblr. This is where a lot of fandom went, but there is also a lot of other information on there as well. If you want to know about social justice, this is a hub for it too. My account is berenwrites and I mostly just reblog the pretty or the interesting. Tumblr does not inspire me to make much original content and I will go into why below.
Reasons I like Tumblr:
- The pretty - honestly the main reason I use Tumblr is because it makes sharing images and vids so easy. I go there because that's where all the interesting pretty shows up.
- The finger on the pulse - Tumblr nearly always has the information first. I kid you not, if you want to know what's going on, just follow a few accounts for the right thing on Tumblr. It shows up there days before I see anything on Facebook.
- They don't give a stuff about the moral majority - what I mean by this is, if you want to post risqué material, they won't delete your account. They don't police like that unless it's illegal, unlike every other platform except Twitter. This makes it a safe fandom place, because every other platform has banned fandom at least once because of things it has deemed wrong, which were perfectly legal.
Reasons I dislike Tumblr:
- lack of communication - this is not a site designed to communicate well with anyone. It's a nightmare if you want to hold a sensible conversation.
- It's toxic and volatile - don't expect love and understanding, or even civility on Tumblr, you won't get it. It's one of the reason I don't feel inclined to create much new content for it.
- It really is a void - you see posts that have thousands of reshares - don't expect yours to get the same. I honestly have no idea how to build a following on Tumblr, it seems to me you have to give away valuable things and be willing to sell your soul to the devil :). That or have a direct line to things no one else has.
So, there you have it, my thoughts on social media. I didn't mention Pinterest (tashaddrake), simply because I have never really looked into how it works. I use it, but mostly I just throw things at it, I have not investigated the community within it. I also haven't mentioned G+ (NatashaDuncanDrake) because mostly I have no great feelings about it :). I'm on it and there are some greats author comms, but it does not inspire the same thoughts as the ones I have mentioned.
These are all my own opinions and I'm not trying to tell everyone what is good and what isn't. This is my personal experience and what I happen to have been thinking about recently. I still love Livejournal and I wish it's heyday wasn't over. I'm an author, I love words and it was all about the words, so it will always be my favourite.
I find much of the newer platforms to be less civilised. Tumblr often feels like being back in Primary school - only with much more adult topics. Twitter makes me feel like it's nothing personal. Facebook makes me shudder - you may have noticed I really don't like it :).
In the end though I do have one thing to say - thank god we're not still stuck on mailing lists ;)