, 9 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
(1/9) I had an insightful conversation yesterday about social media infamy. What you experience here is an avatar of me called "@martingeddes". I could write books too, in which case you'd relate to a "Martin Geddes — the author" avatar. There's an important difference, however…
(2/9) When writing a book there's a natural end to the project. The MOST important part of any book is its REAR cover. It defines an ending MUST happen. Social media has NO "rear cover": it is an OPEN-ended commitment to maintain the avatar "in the now".
(3/9) The episodic nature of being a book author also defines a tempo with natural breakpoints. Do I want to write another book? Is my corpus complete as-is? There are no such breakpoints with being a "twauthor": stopping to reflect on how the endeavour serves you takes effort.
(4/9) When I publish a book, the authorship is "owned" by me, and distinct from copyright: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authors%2… All my investment in my authorship is MINE. That isn't true with social media: I am building up an avatar that is OWNED by someone else, but alludes to the real me.
(5/9) The consequence is that many of us are probably over-investing our time and effort into social media when we should be building up our "me-dia presence" in other ways. The structure of this privatised & enclosed social media space — complete with censorship — is against us.
(6/9) The temptation with social media is to over-share our lives, losing our privacy, and opening ourselves to stalking and attack by nutjobs. I sometimes knowingly push the boundary a little as an experiment, but it gives a false confidence: bad things can & do happen, if rare.
(7/9) I do take some steps to protect myself, such as downloading the full archive of all my Twitter data, so at least I have a copy of my own work in the event I am deplatformed. (All my essays on @Medium were "copies" of originals I published on my own newsletter and website.)
(8/9) We are learning a lot about the desirable patterns and antipatterns of social media through harsh experience. My guess is that Twitter and Facebook are the Altavista and Excite of their era, and will in time be abandoned and largely forgotten as better alternatives arrive.
(9/9) These present-day services work for the interests of shareholders (and criminal partners… so it seems). They have had a profound impact on society, for better and worse. If we want better in future, then we have to make time to reflect upon what we want, and act into that.
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