Saying Goodbye to Twitter

I didn’t want to use a Twitter logo for this post. So, here’s a cool photo of downtown Des Moines I took instead.

You might have noticed that I don’t write too much about politics here. I’m not sure when or where I mentioned it before on here, but I’ve made a conscientious decision to focus this blog (and my Substack page) on, as I put it, writing and the writing life.

Occasionally I might mention items about politics on my own personal Facebook page, or perhaps other places. I don’t mention them here. It’s my belief that keeping a clear focus for this blog and not letting it be about whatever pops into my head. I had one blog where I wrote it anonymously and that was just about anything that came into my head. That blog wound up just lasting a couple months before I got bored with it. I kept this blog on the specific topic of writing, the writing life, and my writing life in particular. It’s now well into its fifth year of operation and going steady, although it’s not like I’ve been able to use it to make any money. Yet.

As part of this effort to express myself online, I also wound up getting on social media. My time on Facebook, and the page I dedicated to my writing, actually predates this blog. For a while, I also was on Twitter, first with a personal account, and also an account associated with this blog. I just thought it would be a good way to get the word out about what I was doing here.

Until now.

You might have heard that the son of a South African emerald mine owner has purchased Twitter for such an insanely inflated price that he spent the better part of this year trying to get out of the deal until a Delaware court all but forced him to go through with it. This is not the place for me to recount the whole story of what has happened to the service (many others are doing a better job of that online), but it is sufficient to say that to buy the company he wound up cashing in a lot of the stock he had in his existing company and securing far too much financing from the government of Saudi Arabia for comfort. Since then, he has apparently been busy slashing payroll and expenditures to the detriment of the platform’s services, driving away advertisers and users by ignoring proper content moderation, and allowing the site to become a haven for right-wing terrorists and bigots.

This is now the portion of this post where I will briefly become political. Don’t worry – it will only last for a couple of paragraphs.

I refuse to believe that anyone in this world can earn a billion dollars without either inheriting a large portion of that sum or exploiting other people. I fail to see how anyone with any hint of sanity would not see that having $999 million dollars would not be a sufficient fortune and feel compelled to grub for even more money.

Although there are many things that are worthy of debate, human rights and equality is not among them. Bigots of all kinds have no valid contribution to make to society and their “opinions” on what type of people are worthier than others have no value. The proper way to deal with such people is not to coddle or understand them, and certainly not to debate them. They must be shunned and opposed under any and all circumstances.

As a result of this, I don’t feel like I can support being on such a platform anymore. After carefully downloading a data record of both my accounts, I posted a final Twitter thread to them last night. This is the pinned Tweet on my Liegois Media Twitter page as of this moment:

Barring technical difficulties, I’ll be deleting this account in 48 hours (5 p.m. CDT 27 November 2022). Anyone after that trying to claim on Twitter that they’re Jason Allan Liegois who grew up in Muscatine, Iowa, for any reason, personal or otherwise, is fake and/or a bot.

As much of this is a supposedly principled stand that I am making, I also have to admit that there is a slightly mercenary aspect to this as well. I had long hoped that my presence on Twitter would result in some additional engagement with people who might want to read this blog. In all honesty, that hasn’t happened. For example, I decided to leave my Twitter threads up for about two days to give any followers of mine sufficient time to bookmark the links I left posted there. I will be highly surprised if anyone uses those links, much less that even a single Twitter user will respond to those posts. On Twitter it often seemed like I was yelping into the void, in all honesty.

I had toyed with simply deleting all of my tweets and leaving my account open as a zombie account, but it’s much easier to delete the whole thing, and I already have the data if I ever get morbidly curious about all of the items I posted over the years.

It was very therapeutic to unfollow everyone on my Twitter accounts and slowly see my Twitter feeds dwindle to a blank screen. It was even cooler to see how many of the writers I follow on Twitter have Substack pages, so I was taking the time to subscribe to those pages so I could continue to read their work. I would really like you, or anybody really reading this, to subscribe to my Substack page. I am using that to develop an email list of subscribers and an online community that I hope will be much more sustainable and personal than “social media” networks. Most everything on this site (with the exception of perhaps my writing journals) will be posted on the Substack site.

Go ahead and join me there. We’ll talk writing.

Expanding My Online Footprint

There’s a lot going on at the moment, but I wanted to touch on a couple of new things I’m also excited about. Recently, I’ve had the chance to sign up for a few web sites expand my online footprint.

With the publication of the new book and it being carried on Amazon, I decided that it would be a good idea for me to get an Amazon author page. You can get to mine here. You’ll see the new book there, as well as an anthology I contributed to a few years back. (Feel free to buy a copy of that, too.)

I’ve also got a Goodreads page as well. My profile is here. I’ll use it to list some books I’ve read, follow authors, and connect with fellow writers and readers.

The idea is to reach out in different ways to potential readers and fellow writers in a way I haven’t yet had the chance to do. I’m still learning about some of the potential of both sites, and I’m looking forward to the process. Also, both of those author pages will have my blog feed, so you can check out my posts at those places, too. You can now find a permanent link to both my Amazon and Goodreads pages on the sidebar of my blog.

In addition, I’m also still on Facebook as Liegois Media. Originally set up as a page for my journalism career, with my reentry into teaching, I decided to rebrand it as my first writing interest page. I post interesting articles, photos, quotes and memes on writing daily basis, as well as the posts from this blog. In addition, I also crosspost everything that goes on the Facebook page on Twitter via my handle @LiegoisMedia.Links and feeds to both of those pages, as they have been before, can be found in the blog’s sidebar.

If you just want to email me, you can do that at liegois.writing@gmail.com.

Hope I hear from you no matter how you want to reach out to me.

Regarding Social Media

You may or not be aware that I have two Liegois Media sites set up on social networks – A Facebook page and a Twitter page. I talked about it before, but basically both of those pages predated this blog. I got them started up back in the days when I was still in journalism and wanted to have separate pages for contacting people over social media apart from my personal accounts.

That worked out well for a while, but when I left journalism, I still had these pages sitting around, gathering virtual dust for a bit. However, I decided to repurpose them as the locations where I would write about/share articles about writing and writing-related topics. I also wind up sharing more than a few writing memes.

Those pages eventually helped inspire me to set up this blog. I also wind up cross-posting all of my blog posts onto those pages, which is pretty convenient for me. In time, as I approach having a book that people can actually buy, I have the feeling that those might be some of the primary promotional tools that I have at my disposal to do that promotion.

However, my own interest in social media has been wary in the past couple of years. I’ve long been concerned about what I saw as the lack of concern from those companies about online harassment and trolling. Now, the role Facebook played in the recent election and their reaction to it makes me very wary of it, as well.

Despite all that, for the near future, I think that I need to keep those pages to reach out to people. However, I wanted to make an effort to reduce my personal time on those platforms, both to indicate my disappointment with the companies, as well as trying to get rid of the time suck social media can be. If you examine this blog regularly, you can see how good I am at procrastination.

With all of this in mind, I made the decision last week to delete my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram apps from my phone. (I still have my Facebook Messenger and Page apps, as well as my WordPress app). It is amazing how much it has been helpful for me to reduce that screen time from what it was. I thought of that decision as a temporary experiment, but the more I look at it, the more I think I might make that decision permanent.

Anyway, don’t forget to visit my Facebook and Twitter pages. 不不不

[EDIT: April 13, 2019: I eventually put Facebook back on my phone, but I use it far less than I used to. Now I’m more on Reddit. 不不不]

Coordinating Social Media and the Online Presence.

On my Twitter page, I remember that I was boasting recently that I’ve managed to integrate all of my social media platforms. The idea behind that is to make sure that I have an active stream of material on those sites, updated regularly, in a way that is relatively easy for me to maintain.

A bit of background is in order. I first joined Facebook about nine years ago and have been tooling around with my personal page ever since. I did not mess around with Twitter up until I got back into journalism and joined the staff of my local newspaper back in late 2013. I did that essentially to make sure I was able to communicate easier with sources, help break stories, etc.

Taking the advice of others that it might be more prudent to have separate work and private social media presences, I created a Facebook page, Liegois Media, and a Twitter handle by the same name in addition to my personal FB and Twitter accounts. I use the private Facebook account all the time; my personal Twitter, not so much. The media FB page and the media Twitter account got the amount of use I was expecting.

Once I left journalism again, I was left with two social media sites that no longer served their purposes. Instead of letting them die, I decided to repurpose them as pages that would concentrate on my interest in writing and writing-related articles and media. The use of these pages was sporadic, at best. Even as I began to pick up some steam with my writing, I didn’t really have a handle on how to make use of them that well.

To paraphrase the US Men’s National Team soccer coach Bruce Arena, sometimes you have to try stuff out. For me, this came in several steps:

  1. I discovered Hootsuite as a way to post on multiple platforms simultaneously. It was also the first time I had ever discovered the concept of scheduling posts ahead of time. Although it had potential, its limit on the number of platforms you could use simultaneously and keep it free, as well as other factors, limited its usefulness to me.
  2. After despairing of daily posts on my FB writing page of my talking about writing, I decided, why not do reposts of articles, images, and memes about writing that I had read and found interesting? I decided to do more of that, and my activity on that page rose.
  3. I eventually learned that I could schedule posts whenever I wanted, so I could look up a whole bunch of posts and schedule them days or weeks in advance. Right now, in fact, I have posts lined up for the Facebook page for at least the next two weeks. (I’d later start doing fun theme days as well.)
  4. I notices how many writers have their blogs to do longer-form writing, as opposed to just posting articles, quotes, random thoughts, and memes. That was the genesis for Liegois Media here on WordPress.
  5. Now I’ve started to figure out how to link media so that posts on one site can be linked on others. I’ve paid attention, for example, to how Wil Wheaton does his social media. From what I can tell, his Twitter page serves as a communications hub. He has his blog for the longer posts and think pieces, which then is fed to his Twitter page, and his Twitter page feeds into his Facebook page.
    Essentially, Blog -> Twitter -> Facebook.
    Since I’m a little more comfortable with the Facebook platform than Twitter, how I’ve linked it up is slightly different. My flow chart would look like this:
    Wordpress Blog -> Facebook ->Twitter.I’m not going to get into exactly how to get all of these linkups going. What I wound up doing was getting curious and looking up the help pages for Twitter and Facebook to make it happen. (It was pretty easy to get my WordPress blog to post other places.

    So, that’s how I made things a little easier for myself on the social media front. Oh, and today I just link my personal FB posts to go on my Twitter feed, so that place won’t be as dead as it usually is. Fun times.

    [EDIT: Apparently I can’t link my personal page to a Twitter page and a Facebook page under that same account with another Twitter page. If anyone can show me how this would work I would appreciate it.]