Carl T. Holscher fights for the customers.

Tag: Social Media Page 1 of 2

Digital Social Distancing

Digital Social Distancing: the act of distancing yourself from others on social networks — by unfollowing, muting, etc. — with the goal of preventing anger from infecting your mental health.

Digital Social Distancing

Good advice for every social network. Just because you agree to follow someone doesn’t mean you agree to everything they share.

Disabling boosts and retweets are often the first thing I do. I’m also very quick to unfollow people, mute keywords and hash tags.

How TikTok feels

The video is 34 seconds long and the camera follows a cat, who carries a tiger plush doll into a tiny clearing in the forest. I think that video is exactly how all good TikToks feels, like the ones Bourgeois makes about trains. You press play and nothing is explained to you, but everything is following its own internal dream-like logic. Like a portal to another dimension opens up, offers you a brief glimpse of something you never expected, and then closes.

Garbage Day

Ryan Broderick, who writes the excellent newsletter Garbage Day, sums up how TikTok feels perfectly.

I used to browse TikTok from the web site without an account for a few months. I’d go there on and off seeking a hit of joy and randomness. It wasn’t until I downloaded the app and created an account that I saw the true power of the app and its algorithm.

I know apps all use their own secret sauce to group you into buckets by their internal metrics. But I’ve never had an app actively try out different content on me to see what I responded to.

One day it was all ADHD.

One day was Books.

One day was girls dancing.

One portal opens. Another portal closes.

It was never 100% one thing or another but I would scroll through the 30-60 second clips, liking some or sharing with my wife, or just watching and seeing what was served up next. There was a definite theme to each session.

Clearly I was being served a particular set of content to see if I enjoyed it or not. As a result, I find myself in a weird little world that has both been completely built for me, but also broad enough I am consistently amused and delighted by what I see.

It’s not like other places that lumps me into a bucket and serves me the same kind of content all day. The Amazon “you bought socks, so we’re going to recommend to you… MORE SOCKS” problem. TikTok was honing in on my weird enjoyment of weird animal content.

And unlike Instagram where every 3rd or 4th post is an ad, there’s hardly any! There’s an ad when I first open the app I scroll past without giving it the time to finish. If you’re on the site too long there’s a video from Tiktok telling you to take a break. But it’s in the form of other videos. It’s seamless. I’m never taken out of the world Tiktok builds for me. Every now and again there’s a sponsored post from a creator, clearly tagged and obvious by the tone.

Despite being absolutely massive in scale, it doesn’t have the feel of a corporate, professional social network. Even the brands there are weird and wonderful. There’s a tone to Tiktok lacking elsewhere in social spaces at scale. The number of weird logos alone are the work of one creator who plays a perfect deadpan logo designer. The entire site is wrapped in whimsy where nothing is really as it seems and you never know what’s going to happen next.

Open a Portal and step through.

The duck (and friends). Pablo and his friends! (@lilquackers)

And the fish guy? Seriously, the first time I heard Bubba I lost it laughing. My wife stared at me like I had lost my mind. The ballad of Bubba and Brad is pure joy. The Goldfish Guy (@lukesgoldies) Poor Bubba. Brad always gets the best of him.

For a dose of comforting, warmth on a cold day, you should meet this buddy. Fritz and Donnybrook (@oldtimehawkey) He’ll make you a treat, share a pop with you and settle down for a movie or campfire.

There’s Stage Door Johnny (@stage_door_johnny) who deconstructs the English language and all of its weirdness. He also has a very pleasing accent.

I love the storytelling of Andrew (@andr3wsky).

Every time Kendahl Landreth (@kendahllandreth) comes up with her mom impression I lose it laughing.

Stacey ❤️ (@stacebookspace) delivers unhinged affirmations with a dose of book recommensations.

Ever seen a man feed humming birds out of his hand? Watch birdperson666 (@birdperson666) greet Hector.

For your Gen X news, look no further than Corrbette Pasko (@corrbette).

For wild and wonderful monologues, run, don’t walk over to Musings of a Crouton (@mr.mosebys_lefttit).

I love people talking about their process and have fallen in love with Jordan Hexem (@jordanhexem). He shows you the location vs. the shot. It’s wonderful!

When I need my Sports Ball news, I turn to Sports-ball news with Taylor! Taylor Page (@trashprince522)

This is a smattering of the accounts I follow and bring me joy. I don’t post. I’m here to watch and enjoy. There’s a culture on Tiktok of showing your work and explaining how videos were made. The ability to stitch (reply within the video) and duet (play multiple videos all together) open up a world that lacks the pristine polish of most social spaces. This allows for “conversations” between separate videos, a group of musicians to perform “together”, and getting to see multiple sides of a story.

The ability to interact with video within the video gives the entire site a more organic and feel. If Instagram is walking into an art gallery, then Tiktok is showing up at a pop-up art exhibit in the middle of a busy city with people on their way to work, stadiums and running out for coffee.

Portal opens. Portal closes.

If you’ve seen mention of a Bones Day / No Bones Day. Yup. The messiah is a 13 year old pug names Noodles who dictates the days.

Man on motorcycle about to kiss blonde woman

Facebook Boyfriend

I was an active and avid Facebook user for a very long time. I got an account with a .edu address before it was open to the rest of the public. I would check but I deactivated my account last September. And today I requested it be deleted. In 14 days it will be gone (assuming we believe Facebook ever truly deletes anything).

Merlin and John had an interesting exchange about Facebook at the end of episode 75 of Reconcilable Differences about the Facebook Boyfriend.

Audio Clip

Merlin: After Friendster and MySpace, Facebook came along and it’s so pretty and freshly scrubbed and it was like the boyfriend with the good job who brought flowers.

John: And dressed nice and combed his hair.

Merlin: Believed in event dining and having friends over and asking how your day went. And you had a pretty good boyfriend in Facebook and then at some point it became less

John: He started doing meth.

Merlin: Hang on. Hang on. Now we’re in a relationship. He still picks up his socks. But maybe he doesn’t always put the seat down. And then you get two years into it and you’re suddenly realizing things are stable? It feels stable. It feels like things are mostly ok. I have a lot of friends that are getting divorced and that’s really sad. But this is OK right? This is good… right?

Merlin: And now you’re 10 years into it and you’re still going, This is good, right? Because it’s familiar. But yeah. Maybe he’s doing meth and you haven’t figured it out yet.

Merlin: But would you walk into Facebook today as a new experience? Would you walk into that ecosystem today knowing the risks, benefits, ups, downs and what you’re actually going to put on the line?

Merlin: It really is going to be an ex-boyfriend in 6 months. He’s mean to other people but he’s nice to me.

This mirrors my experience with the service. It was a breath of fresh air from Myspace. Myspace was the wild west of media. It was Geocities with the same glitz and glam gifs. I used to leave comments with a 1000px wide transparent gif embedded in it for the spam sites. It would completely break the site of the spammers.

Facebook was uniform. It was fresh and clean and legible. It was the good boyfriend. It was a place to hang out and meet other people in college. There were no companies on it. No parents. No other people outside of schools. I still think the defining moment is when it opened up to companies and advertising.

Though that may be the least of it given where Facebook has gone since. Between the data leaks, privacy destroying bugs and general negligence the trade offs are too great.

I turned off my account last year because I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. It was so desperate to show me content, it would pull things from people I never knew and don’t care about.

The sister of your old co-worker’s boss had a baby.


A friend posted in a group you aren’t interested in.


Long ago Facebook stopped being about people and started being about sharing (mis)information.

I want to see how my friends and family are doing. Where did you go? What did you eat? What’s going in in your life?

Posting the same news stories repeatedly with a comment isn’t the same.

The few people I kept up with on the site were fun. But the rest of the site is a mess and I didn’t enjoy being there. I was in a couple of groups. So I used the Facebook Groups app.

Until they killed it.

It was time to make a decision. Was Facebook worth it? And that answer was no.

I deactivated my account on September 27, 2017. I wanted to make sure nothing broke when I did. I used the “login with Facebook” for a few things and wanted to make sure they didn’t fail.

They didn’t.

I also wanted to see if I could stop using the site. Did I miss anyone? Did anyone miss me?

Maybe? But just this last weekend one of sister-in-laws asked if I had seen something on Facebook she posted.


I decided it was time to delete my account entirely after the latest in a long line of data breaches.

Facebook is gone from my life.

The Three Percent

Why Facebook Is a Waste of Time—and Money—for Arts Nonprofits

I’d argue Facebook is a waste of time and money for any group or organization where your goal is to grow your following. But let’s hear it from an arts non-profit.

The Center for Artistic Activism discusses their experience with their Facebook group.

We currently have 4,093 “fans” of our page on Facebook.

These 4,093 fans were gained over years of activity and posting. They do not pay for followers, choosing to use their dollars on furthering their goals of artistic activism, rather than enriching one of the largest corporations in the world.

Screenshot of C4AA’s Facebook analytics. Courtesy of Steve Lambert.

This shows how many people (anyone, not exclusively fans of our page) have seen our posts over the past three months. With a few exceptions, you can see most posts don’t reach more than a tenth of the number who have opted to follow our page. In recent weeks, we’ve reached an average of around 3 percent.

3% of their audience is seeing their posts.

People think the Facebook algorithm is complicated, and it does weigh many factors, but reaching audiences through their algorithm is driven by one thing above all others: payment. Facebook’s business model for organizations is to sell your audience back to you.

If you pay Facebook, more of your audience will see your posts. If you don’t pay Facebook, you’re better off screaming into the night. Or posting flyers on a telephone pole.

Do we think that Facebook is turning the internet from an autonomous, social democratic space into an expanding, poorly managed shopping mall featuring a food court of candied garbage and Jumbotrons blasting extreme propaganda that’s built on top of the grave of the free and open web? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

I love this description of Facebook. It also reminds me of the food court in Tysons Corner mall. For those outside the area, think of the last time you were in an airport. Now turn the televisions up louder, make the seats less comfortable and add a dozen screaming/crying children and you’re off to a good start.


I have been off Facebook for a few months now. I have thought about it for a long time. I am friends with a lot of people on the site. There are a few people who I 1) care enough about to follow their lives and 2) can only connect with them through Facebook.

Some people have blogs. Others I can keep up with on Twitter or Instagram. For the rest, I do miss keeping up with them and their hijinks with their kids.

And I haven’t found a good solution for them.

I want to reopen my Facebook account so connect with those few people. If I do, I am going to go through my list and unfriend most of the people there. (Unfriend is such a harsh word. And they use it purposely.) We are not Facebook Friends™.

My biggest problem with Facebook is the endless striving for more! More people, more connections, MORE FRIENDS!

When I deactivated my account, its first solution was to suggest that I connect with more people. As if that was the problem… Not enough friends.

If I reactivate my account, I am going to pair the list down to those few people. I know Facebook will continue to show me friends of friends and people they think I might like. And people who commented on a post they made one time.

I don’t care about their family members.
I don’t care about their friends.
I don’t care about their co-workers.
I don’t care about…

I care about the people I care about enough to friend. The End.

And that’s the problem with Facebook. There’s no money in it for them for me to keep my social network small. And that’s where we disagree.

Facebook is not important enough for me to fight that fight. It’s not worth my time to keep fighting Facebook’s interests.

Most importantly, I haven’t missed it. I haven’t opened the browser or downloaded the Android app since I deleted it back in October. It’s not a part of life I find missing.

Do I want to reopen that door?

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