We discussed syndicating notes from your website to Twitter at yesterday’s Homebrew Website Club in light of the upcoming Twitter ownership transfer, as a way to demonstrate existing POSSE technology and encourage more people to adopt IndieWeb approaches. I expressed that I struggle with *whether* I want to do this rather than *how*. What seems like it should be a simple step — posting to Twitter from my website — reveals itself as a complex decision rooted in how I want to present myself online.
Tl;dr: having one place to host all my content is simplest, but means being ok with uniting all aspects of my identity.
What I’m doing now
Dividing my writing across four platforms
I consider each platform to have a distinct purpose, so I silo where information belongs in my mind,* even when I own the silos.
* I also have this struggle with notebooks, and can’t write the wrong info in the wrong notebook. It’s a problem 😂
The platforms where I post now and their purpose
I started my blog Cascadia Inspired in 2011 as a way to help me adopt the Pacific Northwest as my home, and over the years my focus has shifted to creative work. My blog hosts long-form articles, photo collections, and personal accountability — in short, anything about making things.
- articles about creative work
- personal accountability
- nature photos and excursions / trip reports
In 2020, I transformed tracydurnell.com from a dead portfolio website to a digital garden, a place to save information and start to think about it, without having high expectations of myself for producing high quality writing or original insights. My intention for this site, up to this point, has been to track and process my intake.
- bookmarks and replies
- personal data, like tracking my reading and listening
Wanting to reduce my use of Instagram and Twitter, I joined micro.blog in 2021. I use the microblogging service to post (mostly boring) things from my daily life. What I post on my micro blog is personal, rooted in connection.
- day-to-day fluff (e.g. what I baked)
And I still have my Twitter account, which I created in 2014 and have used sporadically since, finding it addictive. I knew it was a problem when I started composing tweet commentary in my head as I walked around during the day. Periodically, I go through my past tweets and purge most, granting myself a clean slate from past opinions. I have to resist falling back into the habit of commentary, which I in particular needed to be careful of when I worked in local government. I hold onto this silo because I get very little interaction on my blog or this website, so Twitter remains in my communication stack for promotion.
- anything I want people to actually see (e.g. IndieWeb events, friends’ accomplishments, personal promotion)
- social and political commentary, when I can’t restrain myself 😎(preferably in my drafts folder here)
What writing belongs where?
The boundaries blur as I write more online…and add platforms
Now that I have more channels, I’m struggling with where exactly other content I want to make should live:
- Personal accountability posts (like quarterly reviews) currently go on my blog, with the reasoning being that it’s about creative work and work-life balance…but it’s also very personal information, so maybe it makes sense to live here, where my other “currently doing” info lives? As I experimented with weeknotes this fall, I also posted those on my blog.
- I’ve transferred my listening reports and reading reports here from my blog, where I used to post them before this incarnation of tracydurnell.com. I’ve been tracking listening and reading here, so it made sense to bring over the analysis of that too.
- Sometimes I want to post personal posts about my life that don’t quite fit on my blog. I have tried posting those on micro.blog, but it doesn’t feel quite right. It also doesn’t necessarily feel right to mix them in with my feed of intake, here.
- How long need commentary be to “count” as a blog post? Should some articles I post here instead live on my blog, if they are related to creativity or nature?
- I recently started to add recipes to this website, which makes sense as basically another reference. But I’ve been thinking about developing more pages about specific topics that would be more original content — reference for other people, but thinking for me. Should those live on my blog?
- How about a collection of photos? I’ve thus far limited Cascadia Inspired to PNW nature content, so I haven’t had a place to post non-nature shots or from outside the northwest — but photography clearly falls into the blog wheelhouse of “things I made.”
What is the best way to present my writing online?
As I juggle this increasing number of decisions, and want to add more varieties of content, it’s raising bigger questions, namely:
Should all of my writing and information live in one spot? I’ve been writing at Cascadia Inspired for ten years*, so I don’t want to erase that history. Yet this site bears my name. Does it make sense that the website under my name — likely the first impression people get about me — hosts my arguably shittiest work, while my highest quality work is off on another site? 🤔 *Dramatic music plays*
* And apparently I posted about my ten year blogiversary on Twitter but not on my website 🤦♀️
Am I comfortable having my full identity represented in one place?
It comes down to identity: I have faceted elements of my online identity onto different platforms, but the boundaries are mutable.
If you only read my micro.blog, you’d think all I care about is reading and baking. My Twitter account is mixed content-wise, but overall with the intent of demonstrating I’m thoughtful and enthusiastic. My blog presents a clearer picture of my interests and personality since it hosts my accountability posts, but paints me perhaps more philosophical and reflective. And this digital garden is the most unfiltered of my writing, covering the broadest range of my interests, but in slapdash quality.
Having only one platform would certainly make the decision-making process about where to post things easier. But even here on tracydurnell.com, I segment info by having a separate RSS feed for my read posts, which I exclude from my main digital garden RSS feed — in a way, filtering what identity is shared by different feeds.
The questions I need to answer before POSSEing my tweets
- Do I want to post the kinds of things I’d post to Twitter here on my digital garden, or on my blog? Self-promotion might make sense to post from my blog, and promotion of others or events from here. Is the tone similar enough, or would it be jarring? Could it even be beneficial to mix in some more professional tone posts here? Would having some posts of a different tone impact my comfort in continuing to write freely and naturally on this site? Can I handle writing (briefly) about things I make here and not on my blog?
- Do I want to expand this site beyond ‘intake’? Is it even expanding what I post here, considering I write enough commentary that it’s hard to say I’m not ‘making’ anything here 😉 Can adding tweets here also make me feel more comfortable adding the other things I want to add, like photos?
- Is it too weird to post a note about an article on the same website? Tantek pointed out this could be addressed by excluding notes from the main feed, so readers could subscribe to notes separately.
- Would I feel comfortable with my daily life posts from micro.blog also appearing on Twitter? Maybe. I use a chattier voice on micro.blog and try to be somewhat more professional on Twitter. It feels more vulnerable to share real life things to the broad and sometimes hostile audience of Twitter.
- Generally, am I also comfortable expanding the range of what I share on Twitter? Posting more would probably be beneficial, but also means engaging with the site more often, which is dangerous to me.
- How about posting what I would post on Twitter on micro.blog and syndicating from there? Yeah, this I’d be ok with.
- Are there things that I post to Twitter that I would not want to lose? Generally no, though perhaps my framing when I share articles adds value — an editor’s note, if you will.
In thinking all this through, my instinctive balking at combining my writing streams may be more resistance to change than reasoned refusal — there are a number of potential benefits I’ve raised in this exploration. Instead, the problem is more in feeling comfortable freely expressing myself everywhere I am online, and letting go of my ‘work voice.’ As an anxious person who struggles with caring too much about what others think of me, this is rooted in fear of rejection. How much do these platform personas benefit me, and how much do they hold me back?
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