@vega Really great post, and well-argued; thanks for writing it and sharing here. Your dichotomy between the general and particular with regards to social media vs topic-focused fora is akin to some of the arguments I have been (poorly and incompletely) making about how social media is “flattening” us as people, forcing us to be all aspects of ourselves to all people at all times, which is unnatural and not good, at all ;-) I’m glad to see that someone else is thinking in the same general direction and I’m not entirely off in the weeds somewhere.
I personally think there is still some value to be had from visting a more general community—especially a “smaller” and well-managed one—for discovery of both people with similar interests not already in smaller communities (or smaller communities one is not aware of) and people and ideas one might not be aware of—there are a number of people I have found here on Micro.blog, yourself included, who have shared perspectives that have allowed me to see the world in different ways, which I have found invaluable—but as you ended your post, “There are surely other ways out there, but this is my path.” :-)
@smokey Thanks for the reply.
Personally, I've always kept Real Life and my online presence as very separate entities, so I find social media's centralizing effects, and the trend towards blending RL and online life together, extremely marginalizing and uncomfortable. My way of reconciling myself to the pervasive online life is to develop my own sorting system of determining which activity goes into the RL column, which goes into the Online Life column, and ensuring that the two never bleed into each other. Some people can tolerate more bleed-through, but I can't.
It's taken me as long as I've been a member of M.B to figure out where M.B fits into my internal sorting system. I've finally made peace with the fact that M.B is just going to be a room I will visit now and again, but not reside in, like I do in Discord. To this day I'm still not sure where my own blog falls!
@smokey I completely agree with your post. Boundaries are important! The physical RL world has some in-built, innate boundaries already that help us identify what to include/exclude. But the interconnectedness of the Internet (a structural feature) already predisposes one towards centralization and flattening out. I think we're all realizing that we do need structural and personal boundaries on the Internet as well. Figuring that out for yourself (and for systems design for apps and platforms) is now the next step.
@vega Thanks for your replies, too. The desire (and some cases need) for individuals or groups to maintain a bifurcation between one’s Real life and online life is one of those things that most of the people making the decisions about the systems designs and structures have the privilige of not worrying, or even thinking, about, so I try to remember that, and always appreciate reminders/reinforcement.
I also appreciate your point about the very nature/structure of the Internet predisposing us towards flattening; I had not thought about that (in part, I think, because I grew up with an Internet that was young, quirky, sparsley populated, and not yet exhibiting the symptoms, rather than the networks within networks entangled with other networks we have today…).
I think we're all realizing that we do need structural and personal boundaries on the Internet as well. Figuring that out for yourself (and for systems design for apps and platforms) is now the next step.