A few years back, when I changed my website host, location was one of the things I considered. I moved from the US to a server in the Netherlands. And more recently when there was talk about shutting down social media organizations without local offices (and who were avoiding paying tax in the country as a result), I began to think about access to social media.
There is a very real possibility that access to my accounts could be cut off. Of course, there are many VPNs to use to get around any block that might occur, but the ease of access would be gone. So far that hasn’t occurred, but having experienced the throttling of band width during various protests, it’s a distinct possibility, especially with elections due in the next year or two.
Another aspect of social media is ownership. Most social media sites demand the right to use whatever content you put on them, in exchange for publishing it on the platform for all users to see. In many cases the algorithms which determine which content gets seen and which gets lost are not easy to understand, and in a lot of cases they change regularly depending on which type of content is popular. It’s all video at the moment.
Turns out there is an idea called POSSE or post on own site, syndicate elsewhere. This involves posting to your own site first, getting a permalink and then posting the content anywhere else you like accompanied by the permalink to the original location. The inverse is PESOS or post elsewhere and syndicate to own site.
Cory Doctorow began doing this two years ago with his Pluralistic blog. I first came to it through Twitter, where the entire blogposts are posted in threads. I found the idea intriguing, though I’m not sure about sharing a whole blogpost in bits, I do think certain content is more suited to certain platforms. Pluralistic also doesn’t collect any data about anyone or anything. No pageview numbers, no data. I guess that’s the definition of digital privilege, where you’re popular enough not to need this kind of data.
Apart from the larger aspects of access, I’ve been trying to cut down on doom-scrolling on social media. Much and all as this can be a wonderful way to pass time when your brain is too fried for anything else, it does not help mood. At all.
I generally browse on the tablet since I logged out of all social media apps on the laptop a few years ago. So I put timers on the apps there. I have notifications disabled on the phone and have put timers on the few places that catch me there (ok, ok it’s Twitter of course).
It’s all in an effort to try to use social media wisely, not to spend my time without consideration. All of these can be bypassed, but it requires effort to do so and interrupts the scrolling in the process. It’s enough to make me ask – Am I sure this is how I want to spend my time?
Contrary to this drive to scroll less, there is the need to post more. I need to move from being a lurker to actively contributing. It’s not going to be easy to overcome my natural reticence, but once I get started I may never stop…