So, how are the various social media platforms doing?

From Chuck Wendig:

So, how are the various social media platforms doing? Are they worth your time as a person, as a writer, as seven possums in a trenchcoat? Given that community and audience are both found and earned through these social networks, I figure it’s worth taking a gander at them again as I’ve done a number of times over the last year — in part because the social media landscape has broken into a number of little islands thanks to various tectonic shifts beneath the internet crust and we’re all just trying to find a place to rest our digital heads at night. Also in part because, as a writer, I need to find not just a place to HAWK MY WORDY WARES, which is of dubious value, but rather a place where I can meet writers and readers and agents and publishing folks and bookstore people and in general contribute to a larger, greater, cooler bookish ecosystem.

That said, as always, this is all purely my perspective. It is zero percent useful wisdom and one hundred percent just some bullshit that passed through my head like a cloud of stupid. I am not to be listened to. I’m just some jackass with a blog. Proceed with that situational awareness.

Threads.

So, to jump to the start, I’m on Threads now.

It’s fine!

That’s more or less my capsule review. It’s fine! It’s fine. It’s fine.

Some general thoughts about it:

a) It’s obviously tied to Instagram and Facebook and therefore is tied to Zuckerberg which is bad and not good. No, it’s not awesome having to pick your social media platform based on which billionaire sociopath upsets you the least? But it is what it is, I guess. Our choices in life do not always amount to great ones, woefully.

b) If you want the place where the celebrities, the brands, the media outlets, are all going, it’s probably there. It’s got a big crowd — a lot of transfers over from Instagram, I guess? Despite the big crowd I don’t think it feels that peppy as yet. I can’t actually tell how many people I’m following (?) but it seems like a good group. That said, I do see a lot more general activity happening on Bluesky. Still, Threads is not precisely quiet, either, and even in the week since I’ve joined it looks to have picked up a bit.

c) There is a “who you follow” feed, which appears to present the posts of your followed accounts in the order they are posted. But it defaults to an algorithmic FYP feed, which shows a random disgorgement of… I mean, I assume it’s whatever the Insane Robot That Governs The Place wants you to see. It definitely seems to prioritize verified accounts over non-verified.

d) There does seem to be a pretty good bookish crowd of writers and readers.

e) The vibe there is… I dunno, is it wrong if I say, Ruby Tuesdays? Applebees? Like, if Twitter is currently your local Nazi Bar, and Bluesky is your local Eclectic Diner, this definitely feels like a popular-but-functional chain restaurant. People are having a nice enough time and it feels pretty reliable. It’s the “Hey, let’s go to Chili’s” variant of social media. Sometimes, you want that, and that’s okay, no shame.

f) The one thing I like about it in theory but not in practice is the granularity of how you can see your engagement — there’s All, Follows, Replies, Mentions, Quotes, Reposts, Verified, Dunks, Trolls, Posts By People Who Don’t Know What They’re Talking About But Probably Mean Well, Devil’s Advocates, Robots, Dog Photos, Replies From Stalkers, and People Who Still Think NFTs Are Cool. Or something like that. Point is, it’s definitely more granular but… I also don’t feel like each tab works great, and I’m really not seeing a lot of actually existing replies, and the overall GUI of those pages feels noisy and hard for me to parse, for some reason. That might just be me, though.

So, it’s fine! I don’t hate it. I don’t yet love it. It exists and I’m using it and have found some value there and in part that value is finding friends who are using it, too. Which is nice. I wasn’t going to join it but… real talk, writing is a lonely gig and sometimes you want to feel like there’s a room you can go into and hear some voices. Further, publishing is in a place where it’s still not sure exactly how to navigate the shattered social media landscape, and as much as I hate to say it, that means it’s (yet again) on writers to actually carve out their spaces and — well, we’re all just trying to either not die in the abyss or, at the very least, find other people dying in the abyss with us so we can commiserate with one another as we sink softly into the pudding of oblivion.

(Also, The Pudding of Oblivion is my next next novel, out in 2026.)

At the very least, Threads is not Twitter.

. . . .

TikTok.

I continue to not be on there or literally see anything that happens there and I’m probably better for it, and you’re probably better not seeing me there, and I think that’s a good decision we’re all making. I do understand that BookTok is currently *checks notes* kind of in control of publishing, whether it realizes it or not, and as such, I guess I should probably be there and be paying attention? At the same time, I can’t control it, and I suspect it would just cause my brain to swell up like an overfed tick and then it would pop and there’d be anxious brain goo everywhere. So, again, I remain here. Without the Tiks or the Toks to keep me warm at night.

. . . .

Facebook.

If you need to know what your racist aunt or that guy from high school is up to, Facebook is your jam. I dunno. It seems to throttle links now and ennh. I use it as a walled garden to keep up with family and friends, that’s it.

Link to the rest at Chuck Wendig

26 thoughts on “So, how are the various social media platforms doing?”

  1. Not sure if I’d be taking advice on social media from the guy who managed to get himself fired from writing for the Star Wars Expanded Universe because of how obnoxious he made himself on pre-Musk Twitter.

    • I have – for several weeks now.

      I’m still completely baffled how to find community.

      It is as I always imagined Twitter to be: a firehose of people writing and commenting, sometimes reacting to each other, in a stream no one could possible parse or drink more that a few splashed drops from.

      I don’t know if it will get better or if I will give up yet, but all I really want to do is find my group, and I have no clue how.

      • A firehose of (unverified) streaming content is what all of social media is.

        The problem is they’re all ad-dependent so they need to maximize the user base *and* the content the individual users see.
        What comes closest to what users need is subject specific forums like USENET. But that is monetized, if at all, by other means:

        https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/the-best-usenet-providers

        The failings of social media is what keeps TPV and similar (small?) focused sites like Mobilereads going.

        • I don’t have a problem with FB – and that’s where my online support groups hang out. Knowing what to do, plus AdBlock, is enough to keep me reading only what I want.

          I don’t have the bandwidth for new stuff, but someone persuaded me to try Mastodon; I’m nowhere near getting what she seems to get from it (including book sales), and don’t find it intuitive. Knowing what’s out there, finding a place other than my blogs, locating new readers…

          If you’re a writer, you want readers. Finding them means figuring out where your kind hang out, and then getting their attention in a non-annoying way.

  2. I gotta be honest, Twitter being portrayed as “your local Nazi bar” seems to be projection. Many spaces inhabited by ‘more enlightened’ posters seem to delight in anti-Semitism, bigotry (particularly against ‘my people’ – family is from WV), and a general assumption that ‘people who think like us and echo our biases are the Smart Ones’.
    FWIW, generally on Twitter your feed is slanted by those you deem worthy of following. As I don’t follow Nazis, I don’t see their feed.
    What I DO use Twitter for is expressing contrarian thinking – standing up for individual rights, particularly 1st Amendment, and the 2nd, which makes the 1st possible, prioritizing reduction of the Federal budget and Federal debt (as it will, eventually, hit the average American, including the poor, MUCH harder than they expect), and getting government nannyism out of my life. Twitter is generally against blocking feeds, based on partisan attempts to silence opposition (you know, like ACTUAL Nazis).
    If that makes me a Nazi in this person’s estimation, then the word doesn’t mean what I thought it did.

    • I tend to agree. I had a conversation with a fellow writer, SF fan, and person I’ve known for nearly 40 years and she was going on about Nazis. I can’t remember who those Nazis were, and I said to her they’re not Nazis.

      We had a polite conversation over what makes a Nazi, and she said that my definition of a Nazi was confined pretty much to members of the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers’ Party), and or groups who claim to follow the ideology of NSDAP, which somehow made me wrong.

      It’s Godwin’s law extended into any conversation about people who disagree with you.

      • It’s the reverse of the euphemism treadmill (where new euphemism are continually invented as the old ones are turned into vehicles for bullying and hate).

        Nowadays, social media warriors – typically lacking good arguments or data – take advantage of the moral opprobrium that clings to some word to smear and silence their opponents. The result is the reverse of that seen with euphemisms, rather than gaining hateful connotations, the supposedly insulting words gradually lose their moral power, and typically also their meaning.

        It’s always been that way. Sixty years ago the Communists in Oxford were calling the Trotskyists “fascists” – and I got the same treatment for expressing environmental views they didn’t like – but all relation to the actual meaning of Fascism (at least as defined by Mussolini’s party#) had gone. So it’s no surprise that Fascism and Nazism have pretty much lost all meaning, other than synonyms for “baddie”, “authoritarian” or “person I dislike”. Your fellow writer may also have been confused by the Communists decision to equate Fascism and Nazism for political purposes, which taught a lot of people to ignore their actual significant differences.

        As the Nazis, Fascist and Bolsheviks were the three descendants of the First World Wars’s effective demolition of the International Socialists, but the first two terms are now used by people on the “left” to insult those on the “right” (whatever these terms really mean outside of the voting lobby of the House of Commons) there is a strong motivation for their users to avoid any consideration of their actual economic and administrative policies.

        What I do hate is the latest step in this progression where “genocide” is now being deliberately misused in the service of anti-semitism. Currently it is still a marker which says that the user is a dishonest person who is going to defend vile and barbaric acts and to offer up a whole batch of lies about both history and current events. However, I fear that the great moral opprobrium which adheres to the word will soon be washed away, and that there is little or nothing that we can do to prevent this.

        # When someone asks me what Fascism really is – typically because I’ve said that their use of the word is pretty meaningless – I like to say that it is “National Syndicalism with a philosophy of Actualism”, which at least tends to sow confusion, though some do understand that it implies an association with trade unions (and I have to admit that I don’t understand why Actualism even exists as a philosophical position).

        • I have an old dictionary from the 1930s, when Fascism was first coined:

          – The banks and the military run the country.

          So Today, it’s essentially:

          – The Military Industrial Congressional Entertainment Complex (The MICE Complex)

          The country is essentially run by a bunch of MICE. Based on the book, Who Moved My Cheese(Old 1998 meme that never made sense.)

  3. I unsubscribed from Wendig’s posts long LONG ago. Not because of his gratuitous use of foul language — I was a Marine, so meh, the guy’s an amateur — but because I couldn’t take the constant assault of blatant political innuendo, half-truths, and outright lies like the inane “Nazi” comment in his post.

    Seldom have I seen a more blatant example of the south end of a horse walking north specifically to advertise the glory that is that south end. Poor Chuck. Who will defend him when the baddies hit? Not this kid.

    • I was surprised he was still alive. I remember him from about ten years back.
      Wendig fails to realize some language is best suited to speech, and looks stupid when written down.
      And I doubt he would have made it through Boot Camp.

      • I think he would. And he probably wouldn’t do a lot of ‘praying to the sun god,’ as we used to call it. He’s a go-along to get-along kind of guy. As long as the ones he’s going along with are holding the butter for his toast. But I seriously doubt he’d make it through combat.

  4. Thanks to you guys for introducing me to Godwin’s law (I looked it up) and the spot-on observation that the word “genocide” has become “a marker which says that the user is a dishonest person who is going to defend vile and barbaric acts and to offer up a whole batch of lies about both history and current events.” It never ceases to amaze me how many seemingly sentient humans, capable of walking upright and speaking some version of English and occasionally even serving on the Oakland City Council, can make public statements that are the exact opposite of the observable, provable truth (such as who is actually calling for genocide and whether babies cut their own heads off). Thanks for this splash of sanity in an increasingly insane society.

  5. Fun questions to ask sophisticated elites.

    1. What is fascist economics?
    2. Can you have fascism without fascist economics?
    3. How do the policies, practices, or statements of [fill in the blank} further fascist economics?
    4. According to Hitler, what was the primary difference between Hitler’s Nazis and Lenin’s Communists?

    • I think that 1 to 3 is my answer above.

      I used to know the answer to #4, but now I forget.

      – What did Hitler see as the difference.

      That would be useful to know.

      Thanks…

      • Hitler said both he and Lenin were socialists. But Lenin failed to recognize the incredible value to the state of the owner and managerial class. They were a national resource to be exploited like any other resource.

        Hitler said business should serve the needs of the state, and the best people to make that happen were the owners and managers. Hence, that class should be used to to run businesses in service to the state. The state defines the desired outcome, and the managers make it happen.

        Hitler claimed Lenin made a huge mistake by purging managers and installing incompetent commissars.

        • As Hitler said to Hermann Rauschning:

          ‘Our socialism… does not change the external order of things, it orders solely the relationship of man to the state.… Why should we need to socialize the banks and the factories? We are socializing the people.’

          He also said, with more than a hint of menace, that if private industry did not follow his orders, ‘then the National Socialist state will know how to solve these tasks’.

        • We’re seeing a lot of that lately, aren’t we?
          The state telling enterprise what to do.
          Both the elected and unelected parts.

          Definitely story fodder because, what else to do?

        • elliot01 said: Hitler claimed Lenin made a huge mistake by purging managers and installing incompetent commissars.

          That’s right. It’s been decades since I saw that.

          Thanks…

          No one discusses stuff like that anymore, so I forgot. I’m just starting to notice how little actual history has been taught over the past few decades. PBS used to have great programs that were challenging and insightful. That started fading out mid 90s.

          I’m only seeing that lately as I watch people trying to rebuild institutions.

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