Sign In, Sign On, Drop Out

Trudi CanavanUncategorized

There’s nothing more sure than change, and perhaps nothing embodies that more than the internet. Social media in particular has never had much permanence and stability. A few changes have happened recently that I wanted to write about. It’s a bit of a ramble, but I’m a writer so can’t help wanting to add context and ‘make it into a story’.

I first started interacting online back in the 90s when newsgroups were the thing, limited at first to the rare few who were tech-savvy enough to have access to the internet (or in my case, knew people who were). It was fun and exciting. Then along came websites, and my Australian publisher started running a forum on theirs and a great little community of writers and readers formed.

Then LiveJournal arrived and kind of superseded the forum by having a global reach. I joined in 2005 and my friends thought I was nuts for keeping it ‘friends-only’, but the growing number of fans wanting to get in contact led me to keep public and private communication routes separate. This blog began in 2008, and replaced an earlier website I’d created to facilitate that.

These early formats taught me some valuable lessons: nothing is ever truly private on the internet, forums subjects will cycle around again and again no matter whether there’s a FAQ page or not, and if there’s a way to scam or spam people, someone will do it.

I left LiveJournal in 2011. In 2009 I’d given Twitter a try and liked it, and I could take it with me on my iTouch (remember those?). As the years passed self-promotion grew rampant and outrage was never-ending. 2014 I deleted the app from my phone and restricted myself to only checking Twitter for reader queries every week or so on my desktop computer. I still do. For now.

My UK publisher had created a Facebook Fan Page for me but wanted to run it themselves. This was fine with me at the time because I had enough on my hands with this site and Twitter. However, it meant that I couldn’t reply to reader comments or post announcements for other regions or languages on Facebook. I did eventually gain the ability to comment, but it was between book releases and before I had a change to post there I found Facebook had somehow booted me out again. You have to go through all sorts of hoops to have a fan page now and, well, it’s too much trouble and I have… had Instagram.

Ah, Instagram. In 2015 it seemed mainly about posting artfully filtered photos, but writers, artists and crafters were using it so I decided to give it a try. It was lovely. My calm place, where I only followed users who posted quiet, soothing images. Until Facebook acquired the app and, no matter how much I tried to train the algorithm it kept disrupting my feed with noisy, flashy ads. But without Twitter or Facebook, and blogs not being cool any more, it was the only place where I was interacting with readers. I stayed, but I decided to avoid confusing them with art and craft posts and created a second account for that.

Then recently I lost the ability to sign in to that account. No matter what I did, I couldn’t regain access or went through the hoops of proving my identity only to be signed into the author account instead. This suggested the two accounts were still connected somehow, so eventually I resorted to deleting my author account to see if it would delete the other one.

Now that it’s gone, I’ve decided not to open a new Instagram author account. I don’t trust it not to shut me out again. Which makes me think of Facebook and how it booted me out of being able to post on the fan page. And that Twitter is not even called Twitter any more and everyone hates it. And that Pinterest was great until it changed. And how the other social media that I tried never came to anything.

I’m so over social media. I’d just keep this website, but lately email has also grown unreliable and most of the time I can’t reply because the recipient address is on gmail or hotmail, or was written under a full moon under the influence of cheese.

So I’ve reluctantly rebooted my Threads account. Which was disturbingly easy – I didn’t have to set up anything again so clearly Meta hadn’t really deleted it at my request. Anyway, it’s probably the best way to get in contact with me now.

Until, of course, it changes. As it inevitably will.