My first post of the year was about exploring some of the multitude of social media platforms to see what works best for my work and my interests.
I’ve kept expanding on those experiments, and here are results from January to the end of May. In general, I’m irritated by the way platforms attack anything that is not their platform, yet continue to share/copy posts from the disparaged sites. I don’t want to hear about what’s wrong with Twitter when I’m on a different platform; that’s why I’m not on Twitter in that moment. I don’t want to see Twitter posts screenshot on another platform. If I want to see a Twitter post, I will go on Twitter. Cultivate your own garden and stop gossiping about the neighbors.
Again, this has to do with MY work and interests, not those of clients. I’m not doing social media work for clients at this time. There are also platforms I choose not to be on or haven’t heard about.
Here’s the update:
Bluesky: is now live. Even though I signed up as a beta the first week it was announced, I have not received an invite, which is not surprising. I’m not a big enough name to garner early usage. That, however, is a red flag for me. If they’re curating invitations by name recognition, it is probably not the right place for me, on any level. I want something with a more level and more interesting playing field. Unfortunately, if that’s where my audience migrates, I will have to, eventually, get on there. So far, most of what I hear about it is negative. Yet many migrate there anyway. Then, there’s the report that Dorsey’s endorsed RFK Jr. for President. (head desk).
Bookbub: I have not put in the time I need to put in on this platform yet. I hope to do better this summer. I’m missing opportunities.
Cohost: In January, I took one day per week to spend more time on the platform. It confirmed that the members have different interests than I do, or that I explore in my work. The lack of interaction got more and more frustrating. Posting just to post doesn’t do it for me. The ratio of time:payoff wasn’t there to create unique content for the platform, and I don’t post WIPs (why post subpar work AND blow first rights)? By mid-January, I stopped posting regularly for the last two weeks for the month. In February, I only posted the #28Prompts on the site, just to see if a single type of content performed better. There was zero interaction. I haven’t deleted my account, but I haven’t been on the platform since early March.
CounterSocial: It continues to be a good place for in-depth conversation, although there are ebbs and flows of screamers and trolls. As I said in January’s post, they usually weed themselves out when they are attention-starved, or do something to get bounced. There’s a lot of focus on music, and sometimes conversations feel a little cliquish, but there are also some good conversations I don’t have elsewhere. It tends to drive traffic more to the blogs than the serials. I get the highest response to pieces on the garden and on food. The last month or so, interaction has tapered off, and I’m wondering if people are migrating elsewhere.
Creative Ground: I updated my profile, but I’m not utilizing it to its full potential.
Ello: This was a favorite platform, with the highest rates of views and click throughs. The other creators I found on it are pretty wonderful, too. However, I started having log-in issues back in March, and have not been able to get into the platform.
Facebook: This site is a necessity I don’t particularly enjoy. I originally went on it because it’s the only social media certain people with whom I want to stay in touch use. As I expanded into Kindle Vella serials, FB is vital, with their various reader and author groups, to getting eyes on the serials and expanding their reach. Also ads that run on Facebook and Instagram result in sales. Therefore, the positives outweigh the negatives.
Hive: I’m really frustrated by Hive’s limitations. It demands high visual content, which I can’t do unless I can work on the laptop. But the app only works on a phone (which I don’t want) or sort of works on the tablet, where I don’t have access to my graphics. It’s working for those who bring with them a large following from another platform, and who have high tech phones that can do the graphics work, from what I see. I’d like to be more involved there, but forcing me to place it on devices I don’t want to work on means I can’t. It’s like being stuck in traffic, and you can see the really fun party down the road, but you can’t actually join it. I tried to post #28Prompts on there, but couldn’t get into it half the time, and gave up.
Instagram: I’m having more fun with this platform, although I’m annoyed I can no longer cross post with Twitter, only FB. It makes me think in terms of visual shares, rather than just verbal. It’s still what I consider my “fun” account, mostly cats, garden, cooking, books. But I do post ads for the serials and for The Process Muse on it, and drives traffic to both.
Ko-fi: I cut back on this, because the time:money ratio wasn’t working for me. I am going back to put some content behind a paywall (so it won’t be scraped for AI) and will consider how I want to use the platform moving forward.
LinkedIn: Continues to be useless for what I do.
Mastodon: At first, there was a huge influx from Twitter. But people got frustrated with the learning curve and different codes of conduct on different instances, and a bunch of them left. The ones who stayed are interesting, though, and I’m having fun with conversations. I’ve had a lot of fun playing #WritingWonders, and I’ve had good conversation with writers, screenwriters, various industry professionals, fiber artists, photographers, visual artists, etc. It’s harder to find people, but once you do, there’s the capacity for conversation. Again, some of the interaction has tapered off, and it doesn’t drive traffic to the serials (many people are highly anti-Amazon on the platform).
Pinterest: I’m in the process of putting up Legerdemain’s episode graphics up. They changed the way the boards are accessed, and I’m having trouble re-learning it. Again, I’m not utilizing the platform’s full potential.
Post: The more time I spend on the site, the more I like it. It’s difficult to get interaction, but not so difficult to get eyes on content. It drives traffic well back to the sites, the serials, The Process Muse, and individual articles. I think it’s one of those where things build slowly. It’s a very calm site, and some people think it’s bland, but there’s the chance to read a wide variety of material there, and take one’s time so doing.
Ravelry: I have not been on the site in months. I made the mistake of downloading a pattern and was put on a mailing list that sends me 20-30 emails a day; when I “unsubscribe” they just change the name on the sender. It’s caused a lot of problems in that inbox and will take weeks to unravel (no pun intended).
Spoutible: Early on, I was rather skeptical of the platform, but the more I use it, the more I like it. There’s a wide range of users across a wide range of interests. It’s easy to find people, follow, and interact. There’s decent and building interaction on the platform. I’m leery of a specific core group who attacks anyone who disagrees with management’s decisions. To me, that is behaving like what they claim to protect against. And yet, the site overall is developing its own personality and settling into a mellower and more conversational vibe, which I enjoy. I’m steadily building a community there, and having some good conversations. There seems to be more room for an artist community there than on some of the other sites that skew toward politics and only politics. It had a steady build in engagement over the past few months, and drives traffic to the other sites.
Substack: The newsletter is growing more slowly than I would like, but it’s steady. I have good conversations, and there’s such a wealth of fantastic material that it’s difficult to keep up. I’ve started reading the other newsletters to which I subscribe as palate-cleansers when I shift tasks, which helps. I absolutely love the “Notes” feature, and have had some lively and interesting conversations there. This has the largest community of writers and artists of the platforms I’m exploring, which is why I enjoy it so much.
T2: This is supposedly a new platform created by ex-Twitter engineers. I signed up on the waiting list to beta test and have heard nothing. Perhaps they changed their minds, once Bluesky launched.
TikTok: I bit the bullet and started a TikTok account in May. The challenge I’m enjoying is creating short, engaging videos without putting myself on camera. I’m frustrated that I have to do edits for sound credits on my phone rather than on the desktop, and even more frustrated that one can only edit a sound credit once, and what posts still isn’t correct or what I put in the edit line. I’ve created introductory videos about my work, and, right now, use it primarily for the serials. I have introductory videos up for the serials, and then I have templates into which I pop the information for each new episode. It’s definitely driving traffic to the serials at the moment. As I work on other creative projects this summer (and once I get my new camera), I will play with more types of videos and see what I can come up with (still remaining off camera).
Tribel: I find that waaaay too many members follow to get someone to follow back, then unfollow. And too many people have no profile information and/or no original posts. Again, similar to Twitter, it’s about algorithms. Since I started on the platform, it’s more about politics and less about art (and the impact the arts can and do have on politics and all aspects of life). I got increasingly frustrated with the platform, even after trying to spend more time on the platform to find more colleagues. In February, I only posted the #28Prompts. By early March, I rarely went on it anymore. Too much screaming, not enough conversation.
Tumblr: In January’s roundup, I forgot to mention Tumblr, even though I’ve had an account there for years. It automatically cross posts from some of the blogs, and then I visit it to drop the newest links to the serials. When Twitter started flailing, there was an influx, and it looked like it was going to get wider engagement, but that’s scaled back. I still post steadily and visit a few times a week, trying to engage more.
Twitter: Twitter just makes me sad, most of the time, now, so I spend less time on it. I’m sick of people demanding free administrative labor by others on their accounts, claiming they “can’t tell” if anyone “sees” their tweets. No, I am not doing your hoop jumping because you are too lazy to go through your follower list. Fuck off. And the amount of “faux engagement questions” that people have no intention of engaging, but just ask something to get a high rate of responses irritates me. I’m blocking a lot faster than I used to, and that helps a lot. I locked my account in May, because there were too many trolls, which has hurt engagement and traffic. Also, a good portion of my audience is no longer on Twitter. The fact that I can no longer directly post from WordPress or from Insta is a big minus. However, with the WGA Strike going on, it’s the primary source of discussion with other writers affected by the strike. It’s frustrating. Also, they want me to “choose” which kinds of ads I want, and interrupt postings to try to force it. I don’t want any of the dumbass ads on there now, so I just close out and then go back in. I’m constantly trying to decide if it’s worth spending time there, or if it’s such a dumpster fire, I need to leave at the end of the strike. I block probably 50-60 right wing trolls per day right now.
I’m trying to streamline the way I create and post on the various sites, since none of the schedulers (Buffer, Hootsuite, etc.) give me access to all the platforms I need, and I’m not paying for a service that doesn’t let me do what I need to do. I would rather carve out a 4-hour block once a month and schedule all the serial posts, and then be able to connect the blogs to every platform on which I want to share them, but everyone wants exclusivity without giving enough in return.
I suspect I will cut back on more platforms between now and the end of the year. In the summer, I’m going to buy some paid advertising for the serials, and we’ll see what kind of effect that has on sales. If it works and I’ve picked the right platform, that will be my focus. To be rude and blunt, as much as I enjoy hanging out and having conversations, if it’s not also driving traffic and boosting sales, I can’t put my time there. I have to place my time on sites that give me both the social aspect and drive traffic to my sites, leading to increased sales.
I’ll do another post either near the end of the year, or early next year, updating the changes from now through the end of the year.
All of this underlines that your own website as basecamp is more important than ever.
What conclusions have you come to from your social media experimenting?