Categories
Technology

On Social Networks

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially with the introduction of WT.Social, a new social network from the co-founder of Wikipedia, which boasts about being a better alternative to the mainstream social networks. We all know those mainstream networks, and we’re all probably on them. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, but there’s a lot more out there, and sometimes I wonder if that’s becoming a problem.

Originally, Facebook introduced itself as the only social network you’ll ever need. Almost 14 years later, it doesn’t seem like that has happened. Smaller players have joined and left the field, even big players have. Google’s own Google+ lasted 7 years, and let’s not forget Apple’s own iTunes Ping which lasted for a mere 2 years. But, others are hanging in there, like Tumblr, Reddit, and even WordPress.com has a social network element. They thrive on a loyal user base that prefers their product over others, and as Facebook continues to land on the wrong side of privacy, security, and marketing, no wonder other social networks are still thriving.

In the old days, we’d check probably just 1 social network probably just once a day, but now it’s more like 4 or 5 social networks 4 or 5 times a day (likely more). Is that a problem though? Is there an issue with having access to your friends and family, and a whole world of information, at all times? I believe that social media fatigue is real, so I suppose it all comes down to how you use them.

For me, I consider Twitter to be my primary social network, I’m on there and engaging the most, largely thanks to Twitterrific. I’m also on Instagram for photos, LinkedIn for business-y things, and reluctantly Facebook because that’s where I can connect with the most people I know. WordPress.com is in my life too, but that’s where I work, so I still consider it work. I do have my eyes set on Tumblr, but someone has squatted my username, and after winning Twitter and giving up on Instagram, I don’t think I’ll bother right now.

I have joined and thoroughly enjoy one alternative social network, MLTSHP (pronounced Malt Shop). It’s just a place where folks share fun images, GIFs, or videos they found around the internet. Think of it like a curated Tumblr or Reddit. It’s not free, there’s a small $3/year membership fee to keep all the junk out, and it works! Everyone there is kind and supportive, you’re immediately one of them just by joining, and anyone who joins with ill will is usually within hours of violating MLTSHP’s Code of Conduct anyway. The mainstream social networks are free and powered by advertising, you’re the product. MLTSHP is powered by that membership fee (and a $24/year upgrade for folks who want a few extras) and it’s entirely open source. You’ll never be the product at MLTSHP, and you could always fork it if it ever shut down, which is actually how MLTSHP was born from the ashes of MLKSHK (pronounced Milk Shake). You can follow folks there (like me), but the total membership is only in the hundreds, so you can go through the entire incoming feed once a day easily.

For me, MLTSHP makes up the missing piece of my social network collection. Twitter for engagement, Facebook for connections, LinkedIn for business connections, WordPress.com for work, and MLTSHP for fun. While I long for the unlikely days of 1 altruistic social network to rule them all, I think I’ve struck a good balance with these 5. Social networks will come and go. You should definitely try new things, but the best thing to do is to watch out for fatigue, however you handle that.

(Photo by Merakist on Unsplash)

Categories
General Technology

Small Twitter Victory

twvictoryWhile my tiny corner of the world is being loomed over by the type of room-shaking thunderstorms it rarely experiences, I did find a tiny ray of sunlight. MacManX on Twitter is finally mine, after spending the last five years trying to wrestle it from the clutches of a long-abandoned tech news account. I don’t know why it’s so important to me, but it always bothered my that it was just sitting there unused and unloved, while I had to use MacManXcom instead. Well, now it’s mine. Time to find some sort of tiny victory horn to blast, but probably no one will hear it over this thunder.

Changing usernames on Twitter is shockingly easy, it’s actually just another settings field. You type in a new username, it instantly displays if it’s available, and you save your settings. Your Tweets are transferred over, your Followers are transferred over, everything is transferred over. I was very impressed. The only negative point is that there is no way to redirect the old username. You have officially given it up for someone else to have, which I suppose is perfectly fair. One minute to change the username, one hour to find and change any links and integrations that are within my power to change, and another hour to take a black marker to my business cards (way too many business cards). A nearly five-year struggle was over in two hours.

Categories
Technology

Tweet From Your Blog

Are you tired of your Twitter client, or do you just want to turn your blog into your own social media hub? Well, now you can Tweet from your blog!

Yes, I did mention this briefly in my earlier Timepiece post, but I figured it was so cool that I had to mention it again.

If you have a WordPress.com or Jetpack-powered WordPress.org blog with Publicize enabled, posts with no title (typical of the Aside post format) will be sent to your Publicize connections (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) with a 100-character excerpt and a link to your post. Of course, you know what that means, but I’ll say it again anyway. You can now Tweet from your blog!

Any untitled post will send the excerpt via Publicize, along with a link to the post to bring the discussion back to your blog.

If you have a blog, feel free to try it today! If you don’t, there has never been a better time to own and control your own content, and to break your reliance on other social networks.

Categories
Technology

Your Blogging App is There for You

With the recent news about Twitter strictly enforcing token (user) limits against third-party clients, it’s important to remember that your blog still loves you.

When you post to your blog, the content is still your property, and you can use any blogging app without fear of artificial user limits or high prices due to limiting and confrontational business policies. Plus, most blogging platforms provide some way to automatically share your new posts on Twitter and other social networks, like Publicize for WordPress.com blogs and Jetpack for WordPress.org blogs.

In the world of mobile usage, I’m particularly fond of our mobile apps. If you’re looking for a third-party mobile app, I have heard great things about Poster, but haven’t tried it myself yet. All WordPress apps use the open XML-RPC protocol, which will never be closed or limited.

If you don’t have a blog yet, and don’t know where to turn to in this era of social networking turmoil, open a free WordPress.com blog today. If you want just a bit more control and don’t mind a few more responsibilities, try WordPress.org instead.

If you have a WordPress.com blog, it will remain online and your property as long as we’re still in business, and you can export your blog’s content at any time. If you have a WordPress.org blog, it will remain online and your property as long as you can keep it running. For both WordPress.com and WordPress.org users, our mobile apps will always be available free of charge.

I know that your blog and blogging app will never truly be a replacement for a Twitter client, but they do allow you to reach your audience (even via Twitter) without compromising content ownership, app usage, or other limiting policies.