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Resisting The Migration Of The Herd

It would appear as if *everyone* is bailing-out of Twitter, following-on from the sale of the social media platform to a bid fronted by Elon Musk. So, what's the alternative?

The destination for the initial herd migration would appear to be Mastodon - a distributed social network that's built upon the W3C's ActivityPub standard. This not-for-profit alternative, one that is not funded by ads, to me, feels right and 100% inline with my belief in and adherence to web standards. You can, if it pleases you, find me at @stevewhiting@techhub.social.

However, most users appear to be knee-jerking into this jump from ship-to-sure. Following the herd isn't necessarily a bad thing; after all, the lesson of social media would appear to be that it's better to shout into a crowded global marketplace than into an empty town square. Nevertheless, my social network experience has been one of open and enthusiastic participation but one that hasn't amplified my voice and translated into a large following.

So, with little to lose, it's time for some experimentation.

In the formative years of social networking, journos, influencers and pundits dubbed Twitter a microblog; a handle assigned in attempt to figure-out how Twitter differed from Facebook and others. Yet the spirit of the blog is one of self-publishing, instead of reliance upon a corporate network to do your publishing for you. There are, quite clearly, benefits to working through the corporate; for one, it's so much simpler and faster to post a tweet than to post a blog.

The moniker of microblog that was assigned to Twitter, however, never sat comfortably with me because, lurking away in my mind was an awareness of all that is possible with RSS. RSS offers us all the ability to own and manage the output of our own content. RSS offers people the ability to subscribe and unsubscribe to RSS feeds; an inherent ability to moderate and edit the providers of content without being able to do anything but reveal these publicly. RSS doesn't track your behaviour, invade your privacy and attempt to figure-out how to monetise your online being. RSS doesn't need to sell ads in order to fund itself. RSS isn't driven by a suite of algorithms programmed to deliver maximum stakeholder value and engineered to show you only what 'they' want to show you. RSS doesn't need you to accept cookies. RSS doesn't coerce its users to develop fixations, strategies, anxieties and dependancies upon likes, shares, comments, followers and favs. RSS is wholly independent and free. RSS is, in fact, really simple.

When an RSS feed is hosted under your own corporate/personal domain, it may be considered to be part of your existence and an extension of your online persona. Search engine robots may crawl your feed and learn about the connections you make and the opinions you share, leaving the world in no doubt that the opinions are, indeed, your own.

My personal experience of social networks is that I have not been able to use them to amplify my voice. I could follow the herd, migrate to Mastodon and begin the process of building a following all over again. But what's the point if I work for 15 years to secure 200+ followers?

I've given this opportunity a great deal of consideration and have come to understand that I have more to gain from search engine marketing, as opposed to social marketing. I now wholheartedly believe, with 100% conviction, that the best amplifier for my own particular voice is Googlebot.

View the original tweet.

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