Lessons Learned from a Whale: Navigating the Seas of Spoutible
My Relationship with Social Media
I confess, I have a love/hate relationship with social media.
I love the possibilities it represents:
- The ability to connect with people all around the world, of diverse backgrounds and interests.
- The ability to discover new ideas, explore amazing images and artwork, and support others in unexpected ways.
I hate the dangers it can represent (especially on a platform that is owned by a narcissistic asshole):
- The possibility of being attacked or doxxed for a simple statement, or for your identity, gender, or belief systems.
- The nauseating feeling that there is no real way to fight back against the above.
- The possible time suck.
- The feeling of invisibility that leads to loneliness when only certain accounts get all the attention.
I actually had stopped spending much time on social media, only popping into Facebook occasionally, sometime posting to Post or Mastodon, rarely popping into that place formerly known as Twitter. I struggled with the unfortunate reality that social media is both a place to connect , and also a necessary evil if you are trying to promote yourself or your work.
I say "necessary evil" because we live in the world of late stage capitalism, where money talks, and the more you have the more you can do. Choosing to go out on your own, even to create, is a challenging thing unless you have the funds to do it. I don't, and so I have to somehow promote myself without coming off as only promoting myself. It's a fine and difficult balance. I much prefer promoting others and supporting their work as much as I can.
Swimming Over to Spoutible
Things have changed somewhat, thanks to Christopher Bouzy and the creation of Spoutible. I was early adding my name to the list of people willing to switch over when Mr. Bouzy first suggested the idea on Twitter. But then, I took a while to sign up, because of that love/hate relationship I described above. I didn't have the energy to continue to fight social justice battles on social media, even as I yearned to be able to take more action.
Finally, I decided it was time to jump into the ocean. I admit, part of my choice was because of that "necessary evil." I had committed to moving my projects forward, and I can't do it without support. I still struggle with that.
My time there has been, for the most part, delightful. It feels like a completely different social media world, where people are supportive, friendly, interesting, and actually like to talk with one another.
I can't say its perfect yet though. I don't mean the occasional glitches as they finesse the platform, or that we are waiting for the app. (These are kinks that come with creating something new).
No, the imperfections are more complicated than that, and require a commitment from the whole community to fix, because they come from the very nature of who we are as people:
- There is still a tendency to elevate the "blue check" or big account people who are swimming over in huge numbers as "Twitter" slowly implodes. I get it, and follow many of them, but these are also the people who interact less, and that frustrates me.
- On a platform that was truly created with the concept of community and crowdsourcing--capitalism and gatekeeping still occasionally rear their ugly heads. The attitude is sometimes like "my professional work is more important than the work of peons," and that makes me nauseous.
- I still sometimes feel like I am supporting, echoing, and responding like a mad fool, without any reciprocity even if I ask for help. That can be frustrating at times.
- (The time suck is real, but that's totally on me.)
Yet, still the oceans of Spoutible are warm and wonderful. I have discovered my pod, and been inspired to add a chapter to my upcoming book Re-Creating the World: The Power and Joy of Collaborative Creativity. The chapter will be called "How to Make Good Trouble" and contain this Inspired Action prompt:
Come on over and join the Pod!
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