Getting Social Online

Examining my options to become a bit more socially engaged online

Getting Social Online

“Parasocial” mediums are optimized for creating parasocial relationships moreso than social relationships: conversations flow in one direction, from creator to audience, where the creator produces and the audience consumes.

“Social” mediums are optimized for people having conversations with each other, and not for producing and consuming “content”.

I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend about my parasocial vs social interactions and how I want to communicate online (and be communicated with). I want to enjoy more social interactions with people online, as I think it will help me expand my skills/career/network (I’m focusing on this a lot at work), I want to give creators more direct interactions with their work, and I hope to gain more interactions with my own creative work online. I want more conversations.

What I want

I wrote a thousand-word essay here, describing different online social sites/protocols (RSS, email, webmentions, micro.blog, Bluesky, Mastodon, etc.). I talked through the pros and cons of each one, evaluating how much time I should pour into each, and how much each one would foster these social relationships. (You’re not going to read it, though writing it was helpful.)

Then, another (Threads) launched overnight and I sat down to evaluate it, and I realized that all I had written didn’t really matter. None of that evaluation would help me get more socially active online.

I just spent an entire weekend jumping from friend to friend, multiple groups each day, so much social activity it was exhausting. How did it get so (fantastically) packed? Because I’ve shared my life with those people.

Online, I haven’t shared my life as much. I have spent years lurking in online forums for developers. In the last month, I’ve started commenting a bit more to people in those same forums and already I’ve had individuals book two video calls with me for advice on their businesses. All I had to do was contribute a bit and it’s paid off.

I don’t need to evaluate any new app or protocol - they all do basically the same thing: let people talk to each other in little snippets of text, let people repurpose snippets from other people. What I need is to write and share, and I can do that from here. And I need to respond when people share their own work, and I can do that when possible.

So I’m removing this rabbit-hole as a distraction and simply adding other outlets of this site (and my notes site) as they can be easily integrated and let the things people create there be publicly accessible and owned by the creator (i.e. me). For now, that’s just Mastodon: posts from here will get mirrored to mastodon.social/@joshbeckman, where I’ll respond if you comment. If you like Mastodon over RSS or email, head over there.

I’ll still prefer my tried-and-true contact and subscription methods, but I’m extending this one to reach a few more people where they are. Maybe I’ll create another outlet in the future, but these will always work for me. Cheers, to posting through it.

www.joshbeckman.org/blog/getting-social-online