What is the role of social media in 2018/19?

What is the role of social media in 2018, going forward into 2019? I’ve been thinking about that lately, given my continued frustration with Twitter, Facebook and the other big social media platforms.

The answer varies for each person, but for me what I’m looking for isn’t that much different to 15 years ago. I started blogging as a way to explore a topic I was passionate about: web tech. These days I try to use Twitter for that same, topic-focused, ‘micro-blogging’. I don’t want to hear about your personal life on Twitter, to be frank. I also don’t want to hear your political opinions (actually I don’t want to hear those on any platform!). To me, micro-blogging isn’t about real-world socializing - it’s a way for me to follow interesting people in subjects I track and it’s a great way to network.

On the other hand, what I most like about Facebook is that I can share baby photos to my family and real-life friends. I used to post stuff from ReadWriteWeb and other tech articles I wrote, and I still post my weekly column and get some engagement on FB today. Well, at least my Mum regularly ‘likes’ my columns. But by and large, I don’t see Facebook as a ‘media’ platform anymore - much as Zuck would like me to. I want it to be about family and my real world friends. I am also interested in seeing what people I met through RWW over the years are up to, but the problem is it’s usually the same over-sharers who get in your (opaque, uncontrollable) Facebook feed.

So to micro.blog. I’ve read and totally agree with what @manton has written recently: the way out and how to support micro.blog. I’m testing micro.blog out currently as a way to get back to how I used blogging in 2001-03: as a way to follow a passion of mine (web tech), put my thoughts out into the ether and see if anything resonates with others, and track what people think and are doing in this area. Maybe I’ll find my way into a community again, as I did with blogging 15-16 years ago. We’ll see.

Either way, it’s an interesting time to experiment again. This era kind of reminds me of the post-DotCom boom and bust and pre-Web 2.0 era (2001-03). People are clearly dissatisfied with the current state of social media and searching for something new, just as they were back then.

As @manton said, owning your own domain (again) and using that as your base…it’s a good start to find our way to something new and exciting once more.

Richard MacManus @ricmac