2023: My year of social media disintegration
No country for old millennials.
For years, social media was the bane of my existence. A necessary evil for an artist to "build an audience." Facebook was the first to feel boring and dead to me. Instagram used to be fun when you could actually see what your friends were posting. And then there was Twitter, the unholiest of the platforms. We all complained about using it. Sure. It was a toxic dump, but it was our toxic dump. It scratched a dopamine itch that only the most problematic social media could.
During the pandemic, I became more interested in fiction and the idea of writing a novel. Twitter was one of the first places I turned to learn about the industry. I began reading way more independent presses, interacting with authors, and being consumed by a new art form. Everyone was so kind and welcoming, offering tips for querying, getting the first draft done, revising. It felt like a blessing. And I put all of my energy into the platform.
But then Elon took over, and everything changed. There were several exoduses to competing platforms. Mastodon, Bluesky, Substack Notes. People left for all sorts of reasons, some moral, some not. My stance has always been neutral. I’m not paying Twitter for the service, and have never clicked on an ad. I’m using them, not the other way around. Why should I leave?
The cosmic irony of everyone leaving Twitter is watching them find faults with their new platform of choice. I logged into Threads yesterday and saw someone complaining about the rise of problematic posts. Same for Substack notes. Everyone fleeing for safe ground that will never exist.
For a moment, I thought maybe Bluesky would be my one-stop shop for social media. But just as I was doubling down, Threads launched, and I was exhausted. Was I really going to post the same dumb jokes on multiple platforms?
I did for a while. And the engagement was flat. What used to get many likes or comments on Twitter, "the town hall," was gone. The dopamine hit was gone, too. It seemed pathetic to see one person like a thing on Bluesky.
But as 2023 closes, I realize maybe all of this was a good thing. A necessary thing. For the first time in years, I don't feel the bottomless need to post something on social media. In a way, it feels like freedom.
Thanks for reading Bobby Miller Time! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.