Hey, hey! As you’re probably aware, social media is experiencing another seismic shift. Ugh, right? Yet another network changing? Exhausting. For creators and small business owners, it’s always challenging to know how your social media usage will be impacted by a paradigm shift. At the moment, it’s too early to tell what changes will be implemented and how they’ll affect individual creators.
Twitter possesses a lot of benefits enabling us to have interesting and cool parasocial connections. At the same time, it has not prioritized user safety because it focuses on engagement—a common goal most social media platforms share. So, for some people there’s always a risk when engaging while others have never had any issues.
This is where I throw up a bunch of question marks for Twitter’s future, because improving safety while increasing engagement is a great goal—I’d love to see better safety tools, not less. It’s also something that tends to get downplayed in favor of bigger, bolder moves. If I had to speculate, I’d say that we’ll see broad strokes first, then adjusments after the fact. My guess is that Twitter will be bumpy for a while.
Money, too, is a hidden factor to consider when you’re thinking about what to do next. Social media used to be a tool where you could invest in social media marketing for free, many of the tools reward paid users through direct and third parties to generate followers, encourage engagement, and offer that dopamine hit—Twitter included. Thus far, I haven’t seen any indication the world’s most popular social media tools will remain static and won’t change in favor of monetization.
So what does all of this mean? I believe the reason why you use Twitter is crucial to your decision on what to do next. If you are using social media for its initial purpose, connection, I have every confidence the communities you engage with will survive outside of the tool you’re using. Twitter Communities look like they have promise, but I haven’t seen enough people using them to know if they’ll work long term. It is absolutely your choice whether or not you want to stay; if you’re hesitant to leave, you might be feeling capitalism’s roar in the background and FOMO from not being present when something cool happens.
Figuring out why you use Twitter and what you want to use the platform for is a great journalling exercise. Sit with those answers for a second. Maybe your community is shrinking and you decide you’re focused on finding a tool that facilitates connection and community growth. Great! Ask a fellow community member where they’re talking and chatting. If, however, a chunk of your time is spent online to market yourself or your creations, then consider whether or not you need to make adjustments. At the very least, this exercise might help you brainstorm next steps.
If you’re focused on selling your works, however, you can accomplish similar goals by leaning into traditional forms of marketing. You can build a newsletter, work with your e-tailer’s on-site marketing tools, and pop into peer-based communities to work with other, like-minded creators. It might seem cumbersome at first, but marketing strategies for long-term growth is something I absolutely feel it’s worth investing in. Relying on what any one tool does put you at risk of loss, because you don’t own or control that space. We’re all just renting out a booth, and paying for that time with our personal data.
If you’re hoping for another Twitter-like experience, I’ve seen a few other social media platforms mentioned. They are: Discord, Facebook/Facebook Groups/Instagram, Tribal, TikTok, CounterSocial, Fetlife, JuggaloBook, UNtappd, Mastodon, and private forums/crowdfunding programs like Patreon and Ko-Fi. I’ve been having a lot of fun on Discord and am taking a low-key approach to social media marketing right now, but if you’d like to connect socially don’t be afraid to reach out.
What about you? What are your plans? Have you tried any of the tools listed? Comments welcome!
Just wanted to let you know I'm very happy with CounterSocial's moderation policies, so I've signed up there as @booksofm. We'll see what shakes out!