On the current state of my social media

I don’t know how necessary this post really is, but it’s been knocking around in my head for a week or two now and I haven’t written it yet, so screw it, let’s go. Here’s where I am across the Web and how those accounts are doing:

  • The blog, infinitefreetime.com itself. I’ve been here almost ten years and I’m going nowhere. Traffic is way down from last year but still getting about 100 hits a day. WordPress also tells me it sends out about 10,000 emails every time I post, but I don’t know if it actually counts if those people read the post in their browsers (I kinda doubt it) and I don’t know how many of those accounts are actually alive; I feel like that should turn into way more than 100 hits per day if they’re real. I will keep yammering into this space until the internet itself shuts down.
  • Twitter, @nfinitefreetime. 10,597 followers, a number that drops by a few every day for no clear reason but who appear to be actual live accounts. Twitter has all sorts of problems but I love it, and it provides an outlet for Politics Luther, which keeps him away from the blog most of the time and (much more importantly) keeps him from ranting at my wife all the Goddamned time. All of my old tricks for gaining followers stopped working right after I hit 10K on this account and nothing I’ve been able to do since then (and that was a couple of years ago now) has really moved the needle much.
  • TikTok, @lutherteachesmath. As of this exact second, 7,744 followers, a number that continues to creep upward slowly despite the fact that I’m not posting too often. I keep almost killing this account, because I don’t trust TikTok as an entity at all– I’ve known too many creators who had their accounts suddenly permabanned for no fucking reason at all to be willing to think of this site as anything more than a flash in the pan that’ll be gone in a few years. This is, for those of you who care about such things, the first time I’ve linked to my TikTok from the blog since I took my real name out of it. I figure the issue isn’t people going from here to there isn’t an issue; what I don’t want is people going from there to here, which is why the word “Siler” appears nowhere on the TikTok.
  • Goodreads, right here. I have 722 “friends” and 110 “followers” on the site, but to be honest I really don’t use Goodreads as a social media site at all; I use it as an online database to keep track of my various reading projects. I approve every friend request I’m sent and don’t interact with other people there at all unless I know them from somewhere else. That said, if you want to see what I’m reading and the other half-dozen ways I have available to do it don’t work for you, I’m probably not going anywhere anytime soon from here either.
  • YouTube, lutherplaysgames.com. Currently 22 subscribers and also currently absorbing more of my mental energy than any other site I use. I am going to have to dial back how often I’m posting once school starts but I’m having a hell of a lot of fun with it right now. I know I’ve been yammering about it a lot lately but you really should come say hello.
  • Patreon, right here. Currently sixteen very patient Patrons; this site is all but defunct and I haven’t charged my Patrons in forever. I should probably just shut it down but I feel like everyone who is still supporting me deserves a free book if I ever write another one (Click doesn’t count, because that’s a reward for the $2 level and everyone got one when I made it available anyway) and I’m just trying to remember to cancel billing every month until that actually happens.

I have permanently shut down my Facebook account and haven’t missed it, and along with that I also shut down my Instagram account, which I admit I do kind of miss. If anybody wants to recommend a photo-posting site other than Insta or Snapchat, feel free, especially anything Facebook doesn’t own. I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed anything I currently have an account on, or at least anything I’m paying attention to. Any fun communities out there I should be a part of? Go follow me on everything that exists!

On subscriptions and social media

I don’t seem to have actually made an announcement when I ditched my Facebook and Instagram accounts, so I’m not actually too sure how long it’s been since they went away, but a month seems reasonable. It might have been more than that, I dunno. And while I’m not going to subject you to a lengthy blogwanking post with, like, any charts or anything like that, April and May’s traffic was … bad. Real bad. If I was the type of guy who was interested in, like, science and testing assumptions and shit I’d turn the account back on and just not interact with it at all and see if traffic goes up at all …

… but then, summer is starting, and traffic always goes up in summer anyway …

… and Facebook is fucking evil …

… and I do actually miss some people who I basically only got to interact with through Facebook, but it’s not like everyone who wants to talk to me doesn’t know exactly where to find me.

Blech.


You might remember me talking about my first Winston Box a couple of months (an actual couple of months, as my frequency for boxes was “every two months”) ago, and deciding that I was going to keep it going for one more box. I have, and it has arrived, and I am now done. First, the second Winston Box was a bag, not a box– the type of plastic packaging that Amazon sends clothes in– and God damn it the unboxing is half the fun, and if you’re called the Winston Box and you’re not sending your clothes in a box something has gone ridiculously wrong. I dunno, it’s probably petty, but it aggravated me.

Anyway, once I opened the bag, I found 1) another bland t-shirt with a graphic on it; it’s fine (I’m wearing it now), 2) a three-button, short-sleeve, collarless burgundy shirt that I was about to declare a win until I saw the weird striped cuffs on the sleeves, which I hated a lot, and 3) a pair of shorts that, from the material, I initially thought was a bathing suit, only it was just a pair of shorts and not a bathing suit, and a pair of shorts without pockets at that. I suppose it’s possible that it’s a bathing suit and just doesn’t have a liner, because I know they do that nowadays? Either way I’m not wearing them, which means this box had one thing I was neutral on and two things I actively dislike, and that’s enough to cause me to bring this experiment to a close.

Scam alert update

It has been pointed out to me that the suspect checkout interface I pointed out yesterday is apparently the base checkout screen for the Shopify platform, and I had a couple of people show me legit websites that they’ve used repeatedly that use that platform. I’m going to slightly back off and modify my claim from yesterday, from a flat “avoid” to a “back out and do some research.” I’m also going to echo Elisabeth’s comment from yesterday that another thing these shitty sites have in common is Facebook and Instagram ads. You’re probably all familiar with this phenomenon; you click on one ad, sometimes by accident, or sometimes just linger over one too long and suddenly you have ads featuring the exact same pictures from several different sites.

I have a policy now; if I recognize a photo of a piece of merchandise from another ad, I start reporting every single ad where I see that photo as a scam. I have threatened to do this before and not followed through, but I’m closer than I’ve ever been to shutting down both Facebook and Instagram for good. I have here, TikTok and Twitter; that really ought to be enough social media for everyone.

Not much else going on today, but I thought I’d point all that out.

On #deletefacebook

I hate Facebook.

I feel like I have to have started a dozen posts with that sentence by now. I hate Facebook, I’ve always hated Facebook, I resisted having a Facebook page for years after most of my friends were already on the service, and my tenure there was characterized by frequently shutting my account down for a while and occasionally deleting every single thing I’d ever posted to the site. I finally permanently shut my Clark Kent account down … a year ago? Two? Longer? I dunno, it’s gone, and my only presence there now is as Luther. Luther rarely posts anything other than the automatic notifications of new posts, although I do comment occasionally on other people’s stuff.

Here’s the thing: Facebook does allow me to at least nominally keep an eye on some people who I’d have fallen out of touch with otherwise. But the site in the last couple of years has transitioned from Something What I Don’t Like to, like, actually genuinely becoming evil, and it’s getting harder and harder to justify having a presence there. The problem is (and I’ve said this before) that I do get a decent amount of traffic driven my way from there (I am not unaware that many of you are seeing the first couple of paragraphs of my I-still-don’t-like-Facebook post on Facebook), and while it’s not like I make any money from the blog I do like the idea that people look at it every now and again. The other problem, and this is a bit more serious, is that many of the shows that I go to to sell books basically only have a presence on Facebook. They have websites, but the websites are static, and the number of important updates from conventions that I’ve only seen because I was following them on Facebook is quite a bit larger than it should be.

I’m able to justify remaining on the site because I block nearly all of their ads (I saw an unaltered Facebook page not too long ago and was shocked at how much clutter and advertising I’ve been avoiding with my adblocker) and, well, nearly everything the site thinks it knows about me isn’t true. Facebook isn’t making any money off of mining my data. My name, birthday, home city and a bunch of other stuff are all either at best sorta-true (Luther, as a pseudonym, exists, I suppose) or utter lies. I have tagging turned off in photos and most of my privacy settings turned up to 12 so even if someone were to put my picture up somewhere they can’t tag me in it, and if they did, it would be under the wrong name.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish other people would stop using Facebook, and I wish these cons would have more robust websites so that I didn’t have to have a Facebook account to interact with them. If the site shriveled up and died I wouldn’t miss it at all. But I still have one because right now I feel like to a certain extent at least I have to, and the second I no longer think that’s true will be a happy day around here.

STATION IDENTIFICATION: Infinitefreetime.com

I’m Luther Siler.  I’m an author.  Welcome to my blog, infinitefreetime.com.

I’ve written several books you might be interested in, ranging from short story collections to near-future science fiction to fantasy space opera to nonfiction, all available as ebooks or in print from Amazon.  Autographed books can be ordered straight from me as well.

I can be found in several different places on the Internet.  Here are the important ones:

  • Support me on Patreon!  Just a dollar a month gets you access to exclusive stories, early access to new books as they come out, and more!  $2 or more a month gets you access to CLICK, an entire exclusive book!
  • You can follow me on Twitter, @nfinitefreetime, here or just click the “follow” button on the right side of the page.  Warning: Twitter is where Politics Luther hangs out, and Politics Luther is usually angry and profane.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.
  • My author page on Goodreads is here. I accept any and all friend requests.
  • My official Author page on Amazon is located here.
  • Feel free to Like the (sadly underutilized) Luther Siler Facebook page here.  It’s mostly used as a reblogger for posts.
  • And, of course, you’re already at infinitefreetime.com, my blog.  You can click here to be taken to a random post.

Thanks for reading!

Prostetnic hi-res cropped