The cross-posting dilemma
They say exposure is everything on the social web and best practice advocates cross-posting to multiple platforms to gain the most exposure we can. I can't help but have a dilemma with this.
Much of the reason I stopped posting on Twitter was the environment I found myself in every day and a key trigger was when my Nuzzel daily summary email had Trump in the title of every story.
Twitter has changed.
Not so much as a company or a platform, but what it contains. We are at a turning point where just about everyone is talking about the same things. Everyone is political now, whether it's about Brexit or Trump or beyond.
We follow specific accounts for specific purposes but now even those are talking about news and politics.
We used to talk about serendipity on social networks, those happy accidents when people and content would briefly align but serendipity is all but dead because everyone is talking about the same thing.
Breaking stories would always gather pace, trend and take over for a few news cycles, but now our feeds are one never ending story, inescapable and all consuming.
An unsatisfactory social experience is often blamed on bad account management and following the wrong people. By that definition, just about everyone has become "the wrong people."
Escaping to concentrate on the blog seemed the only solution. There I can cover the topics I want and cross-post to Medium for (hopefully) that all important exposure.
Medium, however, is suffering from the same ailment as Twitter, although to a slightly lesser degree.
It is good that people are passionate. It is good that they want to become involved and push for what they consider the best interests of society. But the vitriol being poured forth in the name of what's best is often as intolerant as the ideas being complained about.
The platform is suffering and people are leaving because of it.
Medium's strength is also its biggest frustration - the network effect empowers us, exposes us to more people but having to rely on others in order to be seen is hard.
We see a bump in reads but realise that it is only for our responses and not for our original content - making us just an observed contributor, viewed because we have become attached to someone else's work.
A feature of Micro.blog will be cross-posting back to Twitter so your followers there can keep up to date with what you're doing. Having sworn off Twitter, however, I am dubious I want to start pushing updates and getting dragged back into that environment.
Just like Medium, the value is in the network and its engagement; just pushing updates and not interacting has no benefit, it's like whispering into the Grand Canyon and people don't follow links any more. But that required engagement risks becoming mired in a quicksand of negativity.
Considering this, and the double-edged network effect, also makes me wonder why I persist in cross-posting to Medium. Am I being hypocritical?
Rather than just hitting publish and letting the WordPress plugin do its thing, that I am still investing time and effort on Medium reflects that it has not yet plumbed the same depths as Twitter.
With the uncertainty over Medium's latest pivot and any new business model it is natural to wonder if this is still the place to entrust our creativity to. There is hope they have caught it in time.
With Micro.blog being a completely new network fuelled by that pioneer spirit there is hope that it can flourish whilst avoiding the pitfalls experienced elsewhere.
Maybe there is even hope that Twitter will settle or that we'll get new ways to see what we want to see and avoid what we don't.
Maybe then I'll start cross-posting.