Different crowdsThoughts on personal interests and sharing
This post was meant to be a small musing on my new
/nowpage. But I just kept writing, and writing, and writing as more thoughts poured out of my head.
A mammoth-shaped realisation
At the time of Elon Musk's Twitter acquisition from hell, I made a Mastodon account out of curiosity to see what the whole Fediverse craze was about. Honestly, what I ended up loving about the experience had nothing to do with the Fediverse, as in the way it works. It was the fact that:
- A lot of my favourite people in/around/hovering/observing/reporting-on tech migrated there from Twitter.
- I found a couple of fellow South East Asian people (specifically Malaysian and Singaporean) there who've been posting about my own culture (or at least neighbouring cultures with some common links). I'm guilty of not really broadcasting/promoting my own culture, honestly speaking. It was fun to even learn some things about Hokkien (the language or Chinese dialect, it's highly debatable what it is, that the maternal side of my family speaks), and to even interact with the stranger that posted it (something I would never have done on Twitter)!
- TikTok/Reels-style trends aren't really a thing here. I don't feel like I'm being left out of yet another thing which I don't actually care about. Though, people posting about travel seems to be unavoidable regardless of what platform you're on. (I'm not the biggest fan of travelling.)
- Hot takes aren't as common as on Twitter, so flame wars where people throw surface-level facts, half-truths, and half-baked opinions aren't polluting my feed.
Putting it out there
It kind of sucks that not many people in my personal circle (family, friends, acquaintances) aren't on it. A lot of them are on Instagram where they've been dutifully keeping their stories fresh and new posts hot off their Camera Roll, but that just isn't for me (aside from being a nosy observer).
On the other hand I'm a little anxious about sharing content to my personal circle. I guess there's a touch of sadness when I learn that not many people I know are that interested in what I'm up to. But let's be real, they have the right to not care - all of us have wildly varying interests and no one could honestly care to pull off constantly throwing a variation of a "this is so cool" comment at someone's updates on their hobby or interest that isn't their cup of tea.
Who am I kidding? Sometimes getting those likes and comments of explicit approval give a bit of a dopamine rush. But, I don't want to conform to the masses. I don't want to get into the latest trends or fads. I don't want to do shit that would make me popular but that I would absolutely hate doing. I get so much more joy at just doing what I like doing rather than getting people's approval.
It just hurts more when someone makes that lack of interest explicit, without being asked to, without any filter whatsoever. Back when I was developing my Linux distribution, illume OS, and actively sharing updates on my personal Facebook, an ex-schoolmate coldly commented "No one fucking cares".
What really matters
What I'm really getting at is that sometimes the people we really want to share our interests or finds with don't actually care. And it hurts to find out they don't give a shit. And that's OK. It's not their fault, and neither is it yours. We just have to look at those who still have not learned to put a filter on what they do or say with pity.
Social media and the like have made everything a numbers game. They've made getting any kind of symbolic approval that bumps some counter up a huge achievement, like you're in sales and each like is equivalent to a multi-million dollar deal.
Circling back to Mastodon, I don't have many followers nor do I even post anything (so far). But the fact that I know that I could learn a thing or two and even feel encouraged to interact with people without having that like count dangling over my head is refreshing. On Mastodon, it doesn't mean jack shit if one or a million people liked your post or reply. It's even more refreshing that people post there to show their excitement over whatever they're up to, and seemingly without any appetite for likes or re-shares.
The quantity of social media interactions shouldn't mean a thing. Rather, the fact that you could connect with interesting people, even if for a fleeting moment or maybe not at all, and learn something new, interesting, or cool to you is what should really matter in the end.