BlueSky, Mastodon, and Notes; Oh, My!

This Week In Writing, we talk about all the “Twitter Alternatives” and what makes the most sense for writers.

landscape photography of green land under bluesky
Photo by Carmine Savarese / Unsplash

For many years, Twitter was the place for writers. Less than a year ago, I sent an issue of This Week In Writing proclaiming, "you should be on Twitter." That, um, didn't age well.

Today, Twitter alternatives are a dime a dozen. Remember for a week last year when Hive was a thing until everyone realized they basically had zero security? There's also Post, which I guess still exists, Notes, BlueSky, and Mastodon. There's likely more since it's too difficult to keep up with.

I'm sticking with Mastodon. The decentralized nature is such a fresh alternative to algorithm-based feeds. Technically, BlueSky is also decentralized, but there's currently only one server owned by the company. So, that's pretty much the definition of a centralized service.

As an aside, BlueSky feels a lot like the launch of Clubhouse. It's exclusive and super-hyped by tech folks, yet incredibly unfinished for something four years in the making. Granted, I have yet to receive an invite, so I'm only on second-hand reports here.

Anyway, while I am very happy with Mastodon, there's no clearly-defined next Twitter. And you know what? That's ok. Twitter was a unique entity that combined the powerful and the common in one place. Despite the extreme toxicity that existed before the ownership change, the site worked.

Instead of trying to replace Twitter, I'd rather people start considering what comes next. BlueSky and Substack Notes even look like Twitter. Which, fine, if you're trying to make people comfortable. But what does the future of social networks look like? I'm guessing it doesn't look like Twitter, and that's exciting. I hope people start building that and stop building "familiar" networks that ignore content moderation policies and neglect to build basic blocking features.

Based on many responses to my Substack lifeboat article, many writers are late majority folks. There's nothing wrong with that, but with all these new networks, it can feel extremely confusing where to set up accounts and build audiences. Spoiler alert: you don't have to be everywhere.

Zulie Rane has a great piece recommending that writers stick to two social platforms for the sake of sanity. There are ways to connect networks with Zapier, but you still have to keep up with comments and responses. Trust me; this can get overwhelming. Instead, find the platform that you enjoy and invest time there.

With seemingly a new platform every few weeks, don't feel the need to chase them all. Try the ones that interest you and invest your time in the ones you enjoy. I don't think there will be another Twitter where everyone needs to be at the same time. At least not for a while.

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My Writing Community's Next Event

Zulie, Gretchen, Eric, and I decided on the next book club event. Drumroll, please!

Start reading the Silo saga by Hugh Howey and consider watching the AppleTV+ adaptation, which begins on Friday.

I'm halfway through the series, and it's fantastic. The show paired with the book brings another layer to our discussion, which we'll schedule once the season ends. For now, start reading.

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