Steel silos storing sunflower seed along the west side of the small West Texas town of Ralls, Texas.

Busting social media silos

I’m slowly getting my website set up to do everything I want (aside from stocking the web shop as well as the Etsy one…) which means putting together as many ways to connect to it as I can. Facebook, Twitter, the fediverse, email, and of course the best one, RSS/Atom. If you’re seeing this via only one of those, now you know you can find a different way if you prefer.

“I have to be on Facebook,” (or Twitter, or Instagram), “that’s where everybody else is” is kind of self-perpetuating. If you’re running a business, there’s no excuse to be only on Facebook. For five bucks a month you can get a perfectly adequate website at a host who will step you through installing WordPress. (DO is just an example.) Use that to write the posts, and then your customers can decide whether to read them on Facebook or not.

If you’re a customer, feed readers are definitely the way to go. (Am I biased? I might be biased.) You get every post in the subscription, not just what Facebook decides to let you see. And they all read and write OPML files, so if you get tired of, say, The Old Reader and want to take up Feedly, you just export and import one file and all your subscriptions transfer. (Saved posts and annotations and whatnot are often specific to a site, though.) If you don’t want to use a third-party service at all you can run your own, though you usually lose the ability to sync with your phone, if that matters to you. I use QuiteRSS, because it doesn’t matter to me.

If you’re reading my blog entries via email, I promise a feed reader will look much better. You’d be surprised at how much stuff you can find a feed for, at least outside of silos. Pinterest boards, comic strips, YouTube accounts, news sites, Flickr feeds… basically everything but Facebook/Instagram and Twitter, and even those you can sometimes find a converter for (though both companies play whac-a-mole getting those shut down, trying to preserve their monopolies).

This morning I installed an ActivityPub plugin to make this blog an instance of the fediverse. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, then you don’t need to worry about it, but if you have a fedi account it’s @silverseams@silverseams.com. I don’t know what it’ll look like there until this post goes out, so that’s still experimental.

Update: Facebook looks like this:

Twitter like this:

and the fediverse like this, at least on Mastodon (clients/sites vary):

So now I know!

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