A Rumination on Social Media Platforms

I spend a fair amount of time and effort in writing, as those who follow this platform and others on which I work (such as the Tales after Tolkien Society Blog) can guess. (How effective those efforts are, I do not know, and though I hope they are quite so, I do not know that I want to know.) And I’ve recently made an effort to return to posting on yet another platform, one I had been more active on and seem to have neglected for quite some time. Another webspace has been detailing my efforts in that regard; I look forward to seeing how matters play out in that regard. But of moment for this webspace is some consideration of the social media platforms themselves–not only this one (since blogs do count as such), but of the others on which the materials here appear.

Related image
A fair sample.
Image from HuffPost, used for commentary.

For the sakes of ease and of retaining the sanity I (arguably) retain, I tend to replicate materials across platforms. That is, I post in one place, and the post either populates across my media platforms or, in one case, I copy it over “manually,” so that those who view one platform and not others can see it. Doing so has the advantage of getting what I write in front of as many eyes as can be expected with minimal effort and less expense (because, though I would like to make more money from doing this, I have yet to do so–though that is a matter for another time). The problem, however, is that the process also tends to homogenize my self-presentation across those same media. While it is the case that having a consistent “brand identity” (and there is something indeed problematic in describing people in such terms, but it is one of the prevailing paradigms, and I cannot escape my social contexts) can be beneficial, the idea of different platforms, of different media, is that there should be difference of presentation among them.

Each constitutes a different context, addresses a different audience with a different purpose. What I seek to do in this webspace, for example, is to present myself as an engaged scholar and teacher, and as a writing professional. In another I maintain, I carry out any number of personal ruminations, opening my efforts up to critique but writing primarily for the practice of it. (It does seem to have been helping. I am writing better now than previously, if the results of some of my workplace writing are to be trusted.) In yet another, the aforementioned Tales after Tolkien Society blog, I also work for scholarship and cultural commentary. I am not ashamed of any of those presentations; I would not make them public if I were. (That I keep a personal journal, and in pen on paper, might be looked at in that respect, at least in part.) But I do not know that what I show in one context is necessarily the best to show in another. That is, I do not know that all my media platforms ought to be all that consistent. They ought not to be identical.

Ought they?

Help fund my efforts at expansion?


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