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Erin Bensinger
Erin Bensinger

Posted on

Let's talk about our social media intake, shall we?

Hey hey DEV Community! Boring day on the internet, huh? /s

I'm kidding β€” in case you hadn't heard somehow, today is the day that Elon Musk has completed his drawn-out, dramatic purchase of Twitter. Or, as he put it:

I'm not here to argue the finer points of Musk's takeover plan, the future of Twitter or Meta, their impact on democracy and global politics, etc. If you want to chat about those things, check out @jmfayard's post on the topic.

Here's what I am curious about: what it would take to change our scrolling habits.

It's clear that things are changing in our current social media landscape, between this high-profile takeover and reports about the state of business at Meta, nΓ©e Facebook. There are so many reasons to quit! It's also true that these platforms, over the years, have rewired our brains to crave their patterns and rewards β€” meaning that leaving platforms or quitting entirely can be really, really hard.

On the other hand, there are less-centralized, less-addictive platforms out there for socializing and networking online (hello! You're on dev.to!). Lots of folks on Twitter are flocking to Mastodon today, too. I made an account there for the first time and I've been having fun piecing together how it works and how I want to show up in that space.

So devs, here are my questions for you:

  • Which social media platforms do you spend the most time on, and for what purposes? Networking, socializing, brain-numbing?
  • What do you enjoy about your preferred platforms? What do you hate about them?
  • What would it take to make a sustainable change to your current social media intake?

Top comments (15)

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j3ffjessie profile image
J3ffJessie

This is an interesting discussion topic. I honestly don't spend much time outside of Dev and LinkedIn for the most part. I work and spend time with the family and occasionally look at Twitter if something is going on that is trending and I hear about it and want to find more information. Other than that I don't really engage much on social media anymore because people are so damn hateful anymore that it isn't worth sharing an opinion or you get attacked by others that have a differing opinion like they forgot you can still have a conversation about a differing opinion without attacking the other person or group. Social media has gotten so toxic that it honestly isn't worth the time invested in reading through to find the good stuff while scrolling through the mile of negativity that exists just to get to it.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard πŸ‡«πŸ‡·πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¨πŸ‡΄ • Edited on

I think it heavily depends on your personality traits.

So first thing I would do is to take one Big Five personality traits - maybe this one, ranking high on google search? bigfive-test.com/

For background, check out Wikipedia

The Big Five personality traits is a suggested taxonomy, or grouping, for personality traits, developed from the 1980s onward in psychological trait theory.

For example among the Big Five, I'm big on introversion (solitary/reserved) and neuroticism (sensitive/nervous), so while I'm sure that Mastodon has advantages over Twitter, it wouldn't still be good for me.

A big thing is that I like long form arguments. Like a whole paragraph. Maybe more than one. Sometimes I even read books, can you imagine?

It's quite funny to me that people points to the use of screenshots and Threads as a proof of Twitter creativity.

For me those are obvious symptoms of the limitations of the platform.

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pinotattari profile image
Riccardo Bernardini

these platforms, over the years, have rewired our brains to crave their patterns and rewards β€” meaning that leaving platforms or quitting entirely can be really, really hard.

Really? My experience is completely different.

Twitter

For example, I have an account twitter that I visit maybe once every three months, I would not call my usage "craving." I guess could close it.

Facebook

A couple of time I auto-suspended my Facebook account for several months. It was on occasion of some political events and Facebook was full of polemics and discussions that generate more heat than light; I was getting angry every time I went there, so I decided to suspend myself. I spent several months without accessing Facebook feeling neither craving nor freedom... I reactivated it after a friend of mine contacted me on LinkedIn worried if everything was OK.

Why did I not close my Facebook account then? Because I use it to keep in touch with old friend, because there are few groups that are funny and because it allows me to get update about music artists that I like, events organized in restaurants I go to, ...

Honestly, most of the post there (besides the funny groups) could use a one-way ticket to /dev/null

LinkedIn

To round up, I have also an account on LinkedIn that is just for work purposes and keep contacts with colleagues and coworkers. Let me tell you: it is not a pleasure at all to skim through LinkedIn posts, most of them are just collections of "nice stories," superficial politics and the latest trend in technology (as saw by non-technical people, enough to make me sick).

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crowdozer profile image
crowdozer • Edited on

Oddly enough, Discord is the social platform I spend the most time on. Me and many of my close friends and their close friends spend a lot of time talking, posting, chatting there. Collectively there's maybe 20 heavily active users with plenty more slightly active or inactive. For us it works because we all spend a lot of time at our computers, so we're pretty much always available to just chill in a voice channel, talk, stream, play, etc. I like it because it's a relaxed and semi-private space. It's like a virtual living room, more or less. Usually everybody is bringing in the content they like most from other platforms too, like twitter, tiktok, etc

I used to spend a LOT of time on facebook but over the past few years, I noticed my posts are few and far between. I think my last FB post was over two months ago, and it was just a re-share from the "your memories" thing. I don't even use the messenger except for one group chat to keep in touch with some people outside of the aforementioned group.

The closest second for me is twitter, but I only use that to scroll through memes to repost into our discord or follow updates from people of interest I'm interested in (usually gamedev or softdev studios).

For the most part I really don't like being on facebook or twitter. Too much of it is ads, attention bait, or clout/snark farming. Particularly I can't stand facebook's "laugh react anything I don't understand" culture (twitter has the same thing more or less, just in different form). It's something that seems to bleed into most open social "zones"; discord is no exception, but it's easier to avoid them when you can join and leave those "zones" rather than being algorithmically placed into them. Or you can just restrict them to your friends.

Over the past few years, discord has done a good job catering towards this type of "virtual hangout" approach at creating social zones. I can think of a million imaginary horribles they could implement ruin their platform, but I couldn't tell you which would have the biggest impact on me.

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theaccordance profile image
Joe Mainwaring • Edited on
  • When it comes to passive doom scrolling, Twitter and Instagram are my guilty pleasures. Professionally, I've been making a habit of content curation on LinkedIn and Dev.to on a regular basis.
  • What do I enjoy?
    • Twitter: Access to a real-time feed of the world
    • Instagram: I do enjoy the randomness of Reels, and the network has become a calmer place to stay connected with anyone and everyone from my past. Opinions aren't so vocal.
    • LinkedIn & Dev.to: Rep building
  • In terms of ditching platforms, either I'd have to dramatically change my life in a way that negated the desire for that platform, or the platform would have to get so swampy that I no longer think my participation adds meaningful value. Facebook is 95% in this territory for me, I have maybe 2 private groups that I still participate in.
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pontakornth profile image
pontakornth

My preferred platform is Facebook because people I know are already there and Facebook is more suitable for longer content. Other than socializing with friends and family, I follow pages that publish news about my tech stack or tech event in my area.

The problem is the algorithm is kind of terrible. I even saw some casino ads disguised as food advertisement, and it is illegal. People you follow heavily determine what you will see. For example, I see people debunking fake news more than fake news.

For social media intake, I probably manage it by using something else such as creating weird projects on GitHub or gaming.

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ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke • Edited on

Although I occasionally doomscroll Twitter and Instagram, both owned by dubious dudes now, social media has lost a lot of its fascination when people started to leave MySpace in favour of Facebook. Other feeds of news, social notifications, and messaging, are messengers, multitudes of Slack sites (every project, every coworking space has one of its own, still better than Teams), LinkedIn, and - at least more entertaining than any of the aforementioned ones - devRant. Altogether, a lot of "social media intake" time.

I still have some hope that DEV can prove an alternative to "tech Twitter" but we'll see. At least no hate speech affirmative algorithm here.

I will also try to use Mastodon / Fediverse as well as Twitter, but maybe now is a good time to start wasting less time on so-called social media altogether and stop checking this kind of sites (including DEV) more often than once in a week.

Thanks for posting and emphasizing the topic!

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mellen profile image
Matt Ellen

I use tumblr and dev.to. I used to use Stack Exchange a lot, but that has dropped off to browsing Stack Overflow when I need a break. I also browse Twitter a few times a week, but I try not to because I find that it makes me feel helpless and worthless.

I use tumblr for self expression and having fun, mainly. There some politics on there, but the vibe over all is a lot more positive than Twitter. A much more "can do" attitude. It helps me to relax. I don't dislike much about tumblr. I don't like that hitting my phone's back button refreshes my feed and loses my place, because I'm a bit clumsy.

I use dev.to to take a break from work but still stay in the developer mind set, also I write posts to help me think about programming topics I find interesting. I don't like how many article titles I browser through thinking "meh". I will follow Ben Halpern's advice to cultivate my feed at some point, but the tags I'm into don't have that many good articles, so I think I will have to broaden my horizons.

I used to use Stack Exchange a lot, and sort of had friends there, but things changed, and at some point it felt like an obligation, and I grew tired of that feeling, and the friendships had degraded, so I cut back considerably.

Is discord social media? I've started using that a lot now that certain groups I'm part of use it.

I cannot remember why I joined tumblr. I have Twitter, facebook, linkedin and instagram accounts, all because my offline colleagues, friends and family have them. I used to use facebook and instagram a lot, but I really don't like how facebook treats its users. I joined dev.to because, I think, I saw something about it on Stack Overflow, maybe? Perhaps it was Twitter, but noone else I follow there uses dev.to (that I know of).

I move to new platforms when people I already care about are using them, or if I think I might be able to make a connection there.

I will drop social media if my friends stop using it (e.g. myspace, bebo), or if the platform owners turn out to be treating their users badly, well, worse than your usual hypercapitalist techbros. (Although, I didn't ditch tumblr when it messed up the lives of sex workers and smut peddlers, so I'm not 100% consistent.)

To instantly change what I'm doing now, something good would have to come along and a lot of people I know would need to use it.

Incremental change just sort of happens, as with Stack Exchange.

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eecolor profile image
EECOLOR

In my mind social media are things like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I however am quite convinced that I'm wrong. It seems platforms like Youtube and Google (newsfeed) fall in this category as well, I however use them almost exclusively for consuming.

What I like is that they know what I find interesting.
What I do not like is that they seem to feed my confirmation bias.

I wish these platforms would feed me more from the 'opposing camp', broadening my perspective.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair • Edited on

Which social media platforms do you spend the most time on, and for what purposes? Networking, socializing, brain-numbing?

  • Mastodon, for the banter, tech info and general distraction.
  • IRC and Talkers because I'm of that generation.

What do you enjoy about your preferred platforms? What do you hate about them?

I like that they're not full of hate speech, and that I can choose my own special-interest group (as it were) with a Mastodon instance or an IRC channel but can also be part of the wider community.

I like the federation aspect, so I can follow someone on pixelfed from my account on bookwyrm for instance.

What would it take to make a sustainable change to your current social media intake?

Nothing really. I'm happy with it the way it is.

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glenn_miller_860ba12ffbf7 profile image
Glenn A Miller

Discord is my main squeeze these days. Only the content that's relevant to what I'm working on. I'm too opinionated to make it on the Twitters.

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snowmen10 profile image
Cliff Lin

I will change my scrolling habit for content and socializing.

What content!?

Well... People post slightly different content on different social media platforms, even on the same subject. You just won't post exactly the same content for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, IG, Youtube, etc... due to format and target audience.

For leisure, I like Youtube the most. I usually don't have an hour or two to kill in a day, so watching Youtube and interacting with people on it has become one of my things... I don't like the ads, but that's how most quality YouTubers generate income, so I have to accept it (unless I pay for the premium)...

For my interest other than work, I like IG the most. Their video and/or message are short and precise. The only thing I don't like is a lot of female profiles popping up that aren't related to what I usually browse...

I don't usually browse anything work-related on social media until I join dev.to. So I try to spend about 30 minutes every night looking at it and see if anything exciting is popping up.

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leonardo jaques πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’»

I think I spend like 15 hours a day on Discord. It's crazy how addicted I am to be constantly participating in servers

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suyashbhawsar profile image
Suyash Bhawsar

I like Telegram as a lot of folks from the DEV community and other communities are there.
Also, it’s fast, UI is good and not addictive at all.

Here is a post you might want to check out:

Regex for lazy developers

regex for lazy devs

Sorry for the callout πŸ˜†