Friday, 18 November 2022

Where do we go if we leave Twitter? by Lu Hersey

 So much has happened in the last month - another new Prime Minister, a new Chancellor, a former cabinet minister busy eating grubs and kangaroo penises in the jungle with Boy George, and Donald Trump running for president again. And all before that infamous lettuce has even wilted. It's all very unsettling...

Which brings me onto twitter. Recently taken over by Elon Musk, Donald is allowed back on (along with any other nutter or troll who wants to shout poison - Musk believes in free speech). Consequently people have been leaving it in droves. So where are they all going? Do we need to panic? Where can we all talk about new books and hang out together if it folds? I thought it might be worth checking out some other platforms to try and find alternative social media hangouts, in case Twitter dies completely.

First off, I tried Mastodon. Recommended as the new twitter by a friend (ironically through twitter), thought I'd set myself up a profile. If you haven't done so already, don't bother. Yes, I have a Mastodon account. But because setting up gives you so many confusing server options, I've forgotten which one I used, and now I can't find it. Anyway, I had zero followers, and worse, couldn't find a single person I knew, not even the person who recommended it. You might think Twitter is just an echo chamber, but for me, Mastodon turned out to be a massive white elephant. (PS am revising this today as actually found Mastodon account again - it helped when I spelt it right...)

Decided to try TikTok next, as that's where the cool kids hang out. Turns out, I'm really not a cool kid. I set up 3 separate TikTok accounts by mistake, and the right one (the only one where I managed to upload a couple of videos and find 3 friends) isn't even on my phone. So I'm unable to upload all those hilarious videos I might have made for any of the #toks (#booktok, #witchtok, #anythingyoucanthinkoftok) in a universe filled with pouting youth and guaranteed to make you feel like the oldest person in the world. (On the plus side, I saw some amazing parrot videos. Sadly I don't have a parrot, but boy, parrots are REALLY clever.) 

Of course there's always that old favourite, Instagram. I've had an account for ages, and apart from an unfortunate incident where a hacker took it over for a while and turned my profile photo into a woman with a very large chest who seemed to have lost all her clothes, it's generally a place I like. It's great as a visual account of what fellow writers, friends and family are up to - but on the downside, book promotion stuff on Instagram doesn't really grab me. Yes, of course I'll show you my new book cover, or someone else's lovely book cover - possibly even a few photos of a book launch with friends. But generally I'd rather show you a picture of the moon rising over Glastonbury tor, or the badger in the garden, and occasionally my family behaving like twats. Basically, I'll never be an 'influencer' and don't even follow any...

Facebook? Still popular and used by a lot of writers, but I've still never managed to work out the algorithms on my author account (probably because I don't pay to advertise) - the only real plus is occasionally gossiping in closed facebook groups with other writers, and Messenger, which is great for chats with family and friends. Maybe I'm just too wary of Zuckerberg's metaverse. Apparently it works well for online publishers promoting digital book sales, but self promotion? Erk! *shudders *

So full circle, back to Twitter. At the moment, I'm still there. It's a good way to find out what's going on, whether you like it or not. However, it's far more toxic than it used to be, even for writers. In the past I've made real life friends via twitter, but these days it's best to be careful what you say. Sadly, the writer world is currently busy fighting over trans rights, of all things. Never mind that the world could end soon because of climate change or potential nuclear war... Anyway, if you avoid engaging with any of the crazy, it's still ok...for now. But if it implodes completely, hopefully someone will come up with somewhere else to hang out, otherwise I'll be writing in the void. 

To be honest, it feels like that most days anyway...

Lu Hersey

Twitter: LuWrites

Facebook: Lu Hersey

Instagram: luwrites

TikTok: LuWritesBooks

Mastadon: I have absolutely no idea...


Test said...

Mastodon seemed to be more phone friendly, and I'm not downloading any apps. The good news is that some of us will still connect on blogs, which is where I started in 2006. Thanks for your insights. I'm going to follow the crowd on this one. So far, Instagram seems to be where most of the people I know are retreating and regrouping.

LuWrites said...

Having worked out Mastodon a little more, actually like it more. Seems pics of badgers are more welcome than boring industry news. Quite a relief for someone like me!