On the continuing contraction of my social media

My Facebook and Instagram accounts have been closed for some time now, and while I occasionally miss Instagram a little bit, I find I haven’t missed Facebook at all, and I think at this point it’s probably fair to say that I’m not going to be reactivating that account ever again. And I find myself looking around at the rest of my accounts and trying to figure out what could go next.

I gotta be honest; I’m starting to think about losing Twitter and TikTok. I’ve pretty much stopped posting on TikTok; maybe a video a week at most, and the site mostly exists as a time sink for me now. I could, I suppose, completely rework how I use it– the good thing about TikTok is the way the site celebrates enthusiasm of all kinds, so if I went through and made sure I was just following the woodworking and bookmaking and cooking and BookTok and other maker types of accounts, I could probably keep it up for longer, but right now it’s not really doing anything for me other than giving me something to stare at, and the way the site’s moderation works even without any regular posting it’s only a matter of time before they decide to ban me for no fucking reason at all.

And Twitter … man, I’m really split on Twitter. On the one hand, it’s my main source of news, and one of the really big ways I discover new books nowadays. On the other hand, it’s my main source of news, and the news is constantly horrible all the time and evil has won. I have a number of people I interact with over there who I really like, but they’re all parasocial relationships with people who probably wouldn’t actually miss me much if I disappeared from the site and a fair number of them show up here or on YouTube anyway. (YouTube is not currently in danger, for the record.)

But … God, I need to get the despair under control lately, and I really am starting to think that Twitter is an overall drag on my mental health. But it has some utility to me beyond just being a time sink, and for that reason I’m not nearly as likely to decide to get rid of it. I just need to find a way to get the horror aspects of the site under control, as it’s become perfectly clear lately that I am never going to be able to block my way out of the bullshit. My blocklist is in the mid-five-figures right now and there’s still just an endless torrent of bullshit every single day. Just today alone I found out that Joyce Carol Oates, Letitia Wright, and Tim Burton were massive assholes, and, like, I don’t need this shit.

(Also up for debate: is Twitter what’s causing a decline in my mental health, or is it the state of the fucking world, and it’s just Twitter taking the brunt of that? Or both? There’s no reason it can’t be both.)

(Like, it’s not Twitter’s fault that the Republicans are literally going to tank the world economy less than a month after I decided to take retirement investments seriously. But Twitter is how I’m hearing about all this shit so it’s taking the blame.)

I dunno. I’m not doing anything anytime soon, but I’m starting to think about it in a more serious fashion than I have in the past.

Saaaaturdaaaaay

Today has featured taking down the pool, finishing a book (I recommend Clint Smith III’s How the Word is Passed, but I don’t think I’m going to review it,) petting kitties and getting ahead on my YouTube channel. What I haven’t been able to do is come up with anything I want to talk about.

Actually, wait, that’s a lie. Are you familiar with the “devious licks” trend on TikTok? If not, you’re not a teacher. The internet has convinced these dumb motherfuckers to start filming themselves destroying the bathrooms at their school and posting it on the internet, resulting in half of the schools in America locking their fucking bathrooms for the last couple days of the week. Which absolutely fucking sucks, in oh so many ways. My favorite of the ways was how our principal made an announcement about why the bathrooms were closing, in which he instructed teachers that when w were taking group bathroom breaks– now the only way the kids are allowed to pee– that we would need to be in three places at once, one of which was guaranteed to be illegal for any given adult in the building, to monitor the kids. Four, if you remember that the kids need to get water after they use the bathroom, and due to a quirk in the way things are arranged in my hall it would have been four if I was also monitoring the drinking fountains.

It was, as a result, a long fucking week. The children were told repeatedly that the only way that this stops is if they go against their typical instincts and rat out every little bastard who has Fucked Around in the last week, and let them Find Out. And from what I’ve heard, it’s been working, so hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

And if I didn’t already hate TikTok before, and I did, I absolutely do now.

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!

In which it’s official

… my stupid viral TikTok video that I shot a few weeks ago is now My Most Viral Thing Ever. The ZIP Code tweet has been viewed 6.2 million times and has been interacted with about a hundred and fifteen thousand times. The video is now up to 6.4 million views, with 276,000 Likes, 1600 comments (most of which are annoying) and 860 shares.

I have 11,000 followers on Twitter and 3300 on TikTok. It’s been fascinating to see just how much more interaction I get over there than I do on Twitter, despite the substantial difference in follower numbers. Also, entertainingly, I now have more followers than any of my students.

In which I apologize in advance

It’s happening again, somehow– my first viral video on TikTok is now up to 3.7 million views and really hasn’t slowed down all that much, and I woke up this morning to discover that one I posted last night had amassed 130K views overnight and has tacked on another hundred thousand in the 10 hours I’ve been awake.. The first video got me from around 50 to just under a thousand followers; this one has taken me from 900+ to 2100 in less than a day.

I am apparently at least a little good at this.

I still have over five times the following on Twitter that I have on the TT account, but TikTok gets massively more engagement than Twitter does. It’s kind of shocking how much of a difference there is given that TT doesn’t have any sort of “retweet” type of function.

(I know I’m still kind of being a dick by not posting my address on here, for those of you who care. It’s because it’s under my real name, and I’m still trying to avoid crossing the streams, so to speak. If you’re curious, email me or drop a comment and I’ll let you know individually.)

I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be somebody who gets this kind of engagement on every single post. I was just starting to break away from constantly checking my notifications inside the app like a rat in a Skinner box looking for a heroin fix, and now it’s started all over again. I assume that once it starts happening all the time you get over it, but it’s nuts how constant the new notifications are. There have been sixteen while I’ve been writing this, for example, and I write fast, and they’ve started to slow down because everything always slows down around this time of day. If this behaves like the other one, in an hour or so I will be able to clear my notifications, then reload and immediately have new ones, and I’ll be able to do that constantly. It’s nuts.

Still looking for a way to monetize this. At some point in the last 24 hours they decided I was important enough to unlock live-streaming on the app, which is terrifying and I’m not going to do it. If I get another 98,000 followers I can join the Creator Fund, but I gotta figure that’s still a ways off, right?

right?

Yes. Definitely.