In 2024 I would love to see more writers, poets, artists, performers, musicians, thinkers and creative anomalies embracing and advocating for the indieweb and other independent platforms rather than looking to the same cultural and corporate monoliths (digital platforms, broadcasters, organisations, prizes etc) for exposure and authentication. The truth will always be that we will be compromised by the recognised platforms unless we build the platforms ourselves.
Just because we may be “creators” (scare quotes because it’s not a term I like using) doesn’t earn us the right to default to passive consumer mode when we chose our platforms. For instance, the fediverse is the best option when considering all of the Twitter clones. It’s the best option because it’s already set up and ready to go, the only building that we have to do is through amplifying, promoting and making the platform a place to be in the social sense.
A lot of people bounced from Mastodon because they saw it in the same way that they interpreted centralised social platforms. They saw it as something that was competing with Xitter, Threads and BlueSky for the privilege of their participation. But the difference is that Mastodon and other true fediverse platforms give you more power in making the platform what you want it to be. Whereas (promises to federate via activitypub notwithstanding) the centralised platforms are in their pre-enshittified state. This means that the service they offer now to bring in more users not the service they aspire to become when they enable advertising and harvest your data.
I also take some encouragement from all of those video essayists that have joined platforms like Nebula and how it feels like more of a collective endeavour for them. Even if Netflix suddenly think that cool art stuff will bring in the money they will still platform vile bigot stuff that brings in the money too and will dump the cool arty stuff as soon as it stops being profitable.
At the same time, I have to acknowledge that I’m still using insta, threads and substack for a lot of my work, the latter being my main platform for a lot of my writing. This has become problematic because of substack’s willingness to platform nazis while saying that they don’t like nazis. My current plan is to stay there for now but cross post everything here at Niall’s Notes while I keep an eye out for alternatives. Substack offers the best functionality for monetising written content at the moment but I also think that substack will go the way of the enshittification cycle and that we are currently witnessing it going through the early phase of bringing in users before their Venture Capital angels decide it’s time to make good on a return.
I do understand the will for people to rehabilitate platforms and institutions from the inside. This was particularly heartbreaking when one of the first exoduses to Mastodon in 2022 was met with disdain for those that wanted to stay and fight the good fight. The problem was that Twitter has become the fiefdom on one individual with nobody to answer to. The only inside that could result in change as far as the platform was concerned was the void between a billionaire’s ears.
The problem with all of the centralised platforms is that most of them were not made for the good of users, even less so for artists. The only platforms that will really serve us well are the ones we make for ourselves. If we aren’t able to do that alone but we see someone else having a go, we should head on over and give them a hand rather than expect them to look like the other platforms during their honeymoon periods.
So look, you’re still going to see me on threads, insta and substack but I’m going to double down on Niall’s Notes being the home of most of my writing, even if it simply serves as a dry, no-thrills archive that doesn’t find a lot of eyeballs.
Wishing a happy New Year to anybody that reads this and everybody else besides.