I am usually behind the times. No help for that. I find my kitchen and garden and books and making and doing far more interesting than much of what passes for au courant. Heck, I find sitting staring out the window far more interesting. Especially if there are crows. So I’m normally not motivated to stay on top of things that aren’t here in my little corner of the world, and I’m often the last person to do X-screen-related-thing in any given group. But it seems like I’m really behind these last couple months.
Granted, I’ve been working excruciatingly long days. Doing actual work. Like hefting 40-50 pound boxes around the store and schlepping cardboard out the recycling bin and climbing all the interminable stairs between the store and our remote stand at the hockey rink (uphill, both ways… ). So by the end of the day, I’m dead tired. And there are never two days in a row off. Because retail… So I don’t get much in the way of recovery.
Ergo there have also been several weeks of collapse. COVID rounds 3 and 3.5. (Because apparently relapse is far more common than just getting better and, you know, staying better.) There was also an inexplicable case of strep throat. (No idea how or where that came from.) And there has been considerable blow-back on various autoimmune fronts. (Because COVID makes every-damned-thing unutterably worse.)
As a result, I was only dimly aware of certain trends in social media over the last many weeks. I knew in a vague way that Muskrat-boy was or was not or sometimes both taking over Twitter. But that narrative had been spooling out for so long it was thinner than a telenovela plot. Maybe somewhere near Twilight… So I may be forgiven for thinking he was just making “camera back on me” noise and wasn’t seriously going to do anything. I mean, why bother? What’s the attraction? That is, unless you have an ego the size of our local galaxy cluster and the functional brains of a mildly masticated annelid… I sort of thought he was at least to fruit fly on the brains side… Ego is another issue. And it apparently won.
Last night I learned what that might mean for me.
Now… I’ve been having problems with Twitter for over a year. Accounts that I am following are removed from the list of things I’m following without any input from me. Notifications never work. If I suspect that there might be some response to something, I have to load the notifications page two or three times to see the response. Which I am reluctant to waste my time on. Because kitchen, garden, making, doing, crows, etc… This fall they went and tossed me off my Wednesday Word account. I can still see it, like the rest of the world, but, like the rest of the world, I can’t modify it. So for all intents and purposes, it’s dead. And don’t even get me started on what I get to see in that “Home” feed list of hell. Posts from people I interact with regularly? Posts from accounts I follow? Posts from anything that relates even somewhat tangentially to anything I’ve ever posted? Nothing doing… I don’t even consider it doom scrolling. More like watching television at 3am. One long, idiotic and inscrutable ad after another with no discernible difference between one square and the next.
But last night I wanted to see what people were saying about the midterm elections here and there. Silly me. Oh, yes, there was plenty on the midterms, but nothing more substantial than “vote blue or die an ignominious and slow death” (in my part of the Twitter-verse, that is; I’m sure other corners have a different palette). But there was also evidence that the Muskrat had finally Done Something. There was a whole lot more spluttering on his recent act of piracy than anything about the election of our government. (And, yes, that does say something about the medium. Though, at this remove from reality, one is at least protected from the flying spittle.) Apparently, the Something Done involved firing the board and putting several thousand others on notice and waffling on about possibly charging for the privilege of creating content for his newly acquired plaything.
This last does not seem to be highly popular…
I don’t know about you all, but the people/things I associate with on Twitter seem to be absconding in droves. The change to my “following” and “follower” lists was glaring even in the context of a year of fluctuating numbers. And those that have not yet left are busily organizing new networks or scheming up ways to subvert the new regime. “Blow up Twitter” was very popular (though noticeably not trending… hmmm, wonder why… ). I guess I see their point. Here was this nice thing that more or less worked with little management and didn’t cost a great deal in either time or effort. People could talk with just anybody and find allies and assistance all around the globe for just any idea. Trust a man-baby billionaire to stomp in and foul up that sandbox…
But me?… I’m just not that invested.
I only joined a bit under two years ago and that mostly to get this blog going. Now, I have many more contacts on the blog than I do in all my social media accounts combined. So the point is?… It seems a waste. And it has seemed like a waste for quite some time. This is just the final shove.
Now, there was a plan. Because there’s always a plan. I was going to do short-ish posts nearly daily on social media and maybe two longer posts a week on the blog. Most of the calendrical stuff was going to be short. I’d intended to do daily comments on daily stuff, especially the ever-weirder weather. Maybe a “currently reading” post every few days. And I’ve done that. Mostly. And I’d like to continue that.
But for one thing I don’t think much of anything except my snark ever drew a response. So it felt like navel gazing. Which I’m not good at, not being a big fan of navels generally and mine in particular. (There are scars, you see…) Social media feels too performative and not nearly interactive enough to be named social, though it’s definitely got the media bit down. That’s all it is to me, one huge wall of mediation, so that none of us can ever interact directly with anyone else.
But more importantly… I’m not willing to put my limited time and resources into this. So I’ve never been that good at social media. And I certainly will not pay so Elon Musk can add to his pile. In fact, I will not pay for social media, full stop. It’s just not that important to me. Not worth any investment on my part.
So I think I’m leaning toward an unmediated future. I’m going to move the daily posts here, though I have to figure out formatting and so on. I’m also going to start leaving comments open on most pages so that there can be some interaction here. I’m thinking on ways to start a message board page so that people can talk to each other in and around my blog posts. Haven’t got there yet.
I will continue to maintain Twitter. I just won’t put much into it. So it’s liable to get lost in the shiny new Twitter-for-profit brave new world.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m sort of opening an independent platform for discussion. On any topic — if you want to talk cider donuts or dark ecology or whatnot else amongst yourselves, far be it from me to put the kibosh on that! So comments are open today. If this goes well, I’ll make that permanent.
Currently reading (still): Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper, 2022). Absolutely brilliant modernization of David Copperfield. Set in Lee County, Virginia (very pertinent) slightly pre-21st century (enough that no cell phones can mess up the plot). Every page is laughter and tears. Sometimes in the same words. Kingsolver’s best book yet! And from her, that’s saying something.
More currently reading (because there’s never just one book… ): The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011). Figured I needed some refreshers here and there before I really dig into that quarter acre jungle across the street. But I think everyone who has a yard — and anyone who wants to perpetrate guerrilla gardening — ought to be very familiar with food and fiber trees and bushes. This book is reinforcing that belief. Added benefit in that Phillips is a supremely funny writer!
©Elizabeth Anker 2022
The Comments Section
And now… it’s your turn. Anything you feel like sharing (except the usual injunctions).
2 thoughts on “Unmediated?”
I am a new reader and enjoy your informative and opinionated posts. As a freelance writer/blogger I have struggled with the use of social media. I never joined Twitter but played the FB and Instagram games for the last decade. I am too busy and don’t have reliable high-speed internet so Instagram became a frustrating experience. I have curated my FB feed by eliminating hundreds of “friends” and focusing on groups that appeal to my interests. I spend about 15 minutes a day checking my feed but in the past, I spent several hours each day posting, commenting and liking to drum up interest in my own website. All of the online business gurus tell us that this is mandatory. I don’t sell anything; I simply offer how I live on my homestead. FB has been helpful for my rural community, we use it to communicate everything from lost pets, escaped livestock, road and weather conditions, and the non-stop issue of the lack of broadband access.
Re: the books you listed
I plan to order Kingsolver’s book but I have a monthly book budget and have already spent November’s! My October purchase was Hagitude by Sharon Blackie and my November book is The Cure for Sleep by Tanya Shadrick.
I am a long-time home herbalist and orchardist Michael Phillips and his wife wrote a book on developing an herbal pathway. His last book is Mycorrhizal Planet: How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils. Sadly, last spring, he died from a massive heart attack while out in his orchard.
I look forward to whatever you develop here.
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I think my comment got eaten? If not, sorry for double posting!
I’m not greatly invested in Twitter either, though it has been a good way to meet and stay up to date on local alternative transportation issues. So as long as that keeps going, I will keep checking in. But I never really spent much time making my own posts.
Thanks for the Holistic Orchard book rec! I will check my library for it for sure. I am currently in the holds queue for a new book (I believe also from Chelsea Green Press) called Home-Scale Forest Gardening
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