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.

  6. @neil Hi Neil, well said. That’s exactly my motivation for mastodon.I even noticed that controversies here don’t get out of hand most of the time. Compare that to the situation on that birdsite.I actually think conflicts escalate there more easily, because people feel they’re watched by their audience and feel pressured to perform.Just my 2ct.

  7. @neil Absolutely! Additionally, the same social media platforms can be good or bad depending on how you use them. Facebook/Twittter/etc. bias you toward “bad social media” while Mastodon is (in my opinion), more of a neutral platform which can be used for either.

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