Bad social media gives you an audience: stuff like reach, personality/celebrity, spectacle, anxiety, alienation, competition.

Good social media gives you community: it’s more like voice, agency, discussion, comradery.

I want a community, not an audience.

337 thoughts on “”

  1. @neil this is a great way to explain it. I’ve been talking to my partner about mastodon and why it’s so much of a better thing for me than other options (yes, I know there are issues still, no, I’m not ignoring them). thanks!

  2. @Greg @neil yeah, this is a helpful framing for me.i remember years ago thinking that i wanted to write for an audience, because i want to make things _for_ people who will respond, but that notion is in such fundamental tension with all the pathology of the internet that i no longer feel comfortable exposing things to that i’ve basically stopped writing anything in full public view and just hang out in backchannels and low-traffic places like this…

  3. @brennen @Greg @neil me too. It also makes me realize why I still like the birdsite: I mostly use it to shitpost/nerdpost with a relatively small set of people and only occasionally tune in to more broadcasty voices. But trying to do that alongside people using it for broadcast is hard & weird; I miss spaces where audience-seeking is discouraged rather than rewarded. I also like the potential to have a broad reach! But I still want it to be a conversation-starter, not a performance.

  4. @neil Granted, I don’t actually use it, because I prefer exact values over approximations in basically all cases (fuck “5 minutes ago”, and especially fuck “a year ago”, given that tends to cover a period of 12 months). But the motivation to use such a thing is sensible enough.I’d probably use it more for boosts/favs tbh. (Client doesn’t support reactions, cutls pls.)

  5. @neil If you look at the work of anthropologists, you will see that we really need both. We need a community and the feeling of belonging, but we also need audience and the feeling of competence. So in the end, it’s all about a good balance, as usual.