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.

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 I fight evil

It was a good day. It was a stressful day– I was fully expecting someone to die somewhere because of the inauguration, and I may have more thoughts on it later. But it appears that everything went off without any violence, and the right-wing goon squad seems to have dried up and blown away without the Asshole encouraging them on Twitter. Hopefully it will stay that way.

I had a Thing happen, though, unrelated to the inauguration, and if you don’t mind I’m just going to embed a bunch of Tweets because I’d tell the story the same way here anyway.

(These appear to have embedded obnoxiously, which I apologize for, but hopefully a single click will take you straight to Twitter, where you can read these and view the images in native format.)

What particularly annoys me about this is that when I’m daydreaming about winning the lottery, the specific way in which I fantasize about being ultra-rich is that I want to set up a charitable foundation, and part of the way I want to use the funds for my charitable foundation is by flitting around the Internet and randomly and anonymously completely fulfilling people who post GoFundMes and various and sundry other “I’m getting evicted, please send me money” types of things. And I can imagine a world where I might actually just do a Twitter search for “credit card debt,” and then ask for Venmo addresses so I can send folks money. So I decided to take this seriously until it proved to be a scam (which was what I expected) or I somehow got $3K from the money fairy on Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day, which trust me, was about to be taken as an omen.

Instead, hopefully I got to ruin a scammer’s day. I mean, probably not, but I hope at least BoA zaps that account and Twitter bans Annette. Either way, all in a day’s work, I guess.

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 other news…

Right now the only social media account that I have under my actual name is one of my two TikTok accounts. I have one for Luther, but I haven’t posted any videos. I am, however, posting videos under my teacher account, which until about 22 hours ago had about 40 followers. The account was giving me a mild reason to celebrate, though, because I’d just had my first video that scored over 2000 views before fizzling out.

And then I found a video of an Asian woman (her race is relevant) getting a tattoo and noticed that one of her tattoos, oddly, was the word “pizza,” spelled phonetically in Hebrew. (It may be a cognate; I’m not sure.) As the account posting the video was all in (I think) Chinese, and pizza is, as far as I know, not a hugely common food in Southeast Asia, nor are Jews, I made the not-foolproof-but-still-defensible-I-think suggestion that maybe people shouldn’t be tattooed in languages they can’t read and posted a short video saying such.

It’s now at 1.1 million views and counting, with over 60,000 Likes, and I’ve gained over 300 followers since it went up. There is also what appears to be a lively argument in Hebrew and Arabic going on in comments, and I have no idea what the hell they’re talking about, although Palestine may be involved.

I now have a viral Tweet under my belt with over six million views, a viral TikTok, and a couple of viral blog posts, although the biggest viral blog post only had a comparatively-paltry 110,000 views. I think it is fair to suggest that I may be the king of all social media. Now I just need to find a way for it to make me some money. 🙂