Coming from the bird site left a lot to be desired. People say it is the central square where ideas get shared and thoughts provoked. On the other hand, it promotes behavior that is harmful to social norms and becomes a vector for attack from oppositionists. It is a place where human interaction is a trivial experience, void of many of the necessary building blocks of community: trust, support, equity, and belonging. Coming from this environment into a place like Mastodon has changed the way I think about social media and what it could be, for me at least. It encourages me to think about social media in a way that works for me because, in the end, social media shapes us as much as we shape it. So let this be a disclaimer about how I choose to be consumed, how I consent to engage/connect with others, and how I intend to shape my social media for what I’ve wanted it to be all along.
The primary disclaimer for those intending to follow me is I don’t merely want people to follow and boost my content. Although that helps bring to light many of the niche topics I discuss, it is not how I want to spend my time on Mastodon. This comes from the fact that I have a cynical view of social media. What I imagine is people scrolling through their social media timeline, looking at my post for 5s, skimming the article, thinking it seems important enough to boost, considering boosting, and moving on with their day. They might think they understand what I wrote, and they might even have questions, but life doesn’t have time for questions or clarifications, and the scrolling moves on. I question what this does for me seeing notifications of boosts from people I don’t know or interact with. What am I supposed to do with this? Am I supposed to feel validated? I don’t by the way. Do I favorite as a “thank you” for the boost? That seems like work that maybe doesn’t convey what I would like. What I would like to know is, “what did you think?” Did you internalize what I said and formulate a response with agreement or disagreement? This is a tall task for anyone. This is why I think there may only end up being a few engagers, I would put the number around 10. If you happen to follow any number of them then you will also see my content. I am okay with that and if you are not then I have something else for you.
There are other ways in which you can consume my content without engaging and it is also an open web protocol like the fediverse! Meet RSS. My website is set up with an RSS feed. All you need is a feed reader tool, I use Feedbro, and you now have access to my updates on this site. This allows you to consume my content and if so inclined boost it on your social media.
Mastodon has made me realize that I’ve spent too much time building up corporate siloed protocols and not taken advantage of what we have access to on the open web. It’s certainly not a better user experience, but it is a better life experience. So if you feel so inclined, take this as not a rejection of you as a follower, but as me encouraging you to further entrench yourself in the open web, as you’ve already done on something like Mastodon.
There is only so much time we have in the day and I don’t want to spend it on social media scrolling the truly limitless breadth of human existence. I’ll give you a little insight into my day-to-day. I work as a software engineer for 8 hours. Then I go workout. After my workout, I try to focus on any number of things I choose to give attention to: home life, Natives in Tech, Muscogee language learning, and Yuchi language learning. Before I know it, it’s 9 pm and I should be getting ready for bed. There isn’t that much time to effectively work on much else. And giving something only a fraction of my attention and time does not help me or anyone around me. That’s why I enjoy writing. It allows me to spend a dedicated amount of time on a particular interest of mine, attempt to thoroughly explain or think out loud about it, and hopefully, others can learn something from it. I think this medium is more internalized and a lot more intentional. So I’ll keep at it.
So as I noted above I am shaping my social media consumption in a way that I aspire it to be. What this means for any follower is:
- If you request to follow me and we haven’t engaged then I will not accept your follow. If you have no intention to engage then I respectfully encourage you to follow the RSS feed of my site. This will include people I’ve already let follow me. So if I’ve allowed you to follow and then rejected that follow, this is the reason
- The topics I discuss are very niche. I talk about Indigenous data sovereignty, language revitalization, language learning, software engineering, and the occasional random thoughts that come up. I think I’ll end up with a niche audience because of that and that’s what I am hoping for
- I am not attempting to be an influencer or gain attention. I do believe those roles within social media are important but it’s not something I want or aspire for. If you boost or favorite my thoughts or articles, I say “mvto”
- Take advantage of the open web like RSS. There is much more beyond Mastodon that you should consider and that I am learning myself
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