That First Post
It's been months, and so far all I've managed is a lame "I'm here". Is that Ello’s fault? Because I have been posting on Facebook frequently in that time, and occasionally on Twitter. Maybe it’s because it’s all new. If so how does my Ello use compare with the way I started out on other services?
My first tweet was also short, just the phrase “surfing the net" -- clearly my response to whatever the prompt was way back in Jan 2007 (from memory, “what are you doing?”). But I didn’t stop there, and tweeted 12 times in that first month. The audience would have been almost zero. Certainly there was nobody there that I knew and in reality few people had even heard of it, let alone “microblogging” or “social media” or whatever it was. Whatever the label, nobody then could really define Twitter's purpose or understand why they might use it (and not much has changed in that particular regard).
Later that year I joined Facebook, about a year after it stopped being closed to anybody outside of a few educational institutions. I hadn’t bothered until then because it was even less on the radar than Twitter, but by now people were starting to talk about it. There, probably as a result of practising on Twitter for 8 months, I started with something that had a little more content, perhaps more a contemporary social comment than an answer to a question:
> Ohhh! - So that's what's wrong with the world!!!
(It was all about maps, and helping the Iraq, according to Miss Teen South Carolina.)
Fast forward to now, coming to Ello, when I have about 8 years of practice with various social media platforms. And not just Twitter and Facebook: I’ve been a frequent early adopter, trying many others along the way such as the now dead Jaiku, Plurk (apparently still around in some form) and App.net. You’d think I would be jumping on here all the time like some kind of “social media expert”, with some witty 100 character or less ripostes and pearls of wisdom. But no, all I’ve got is “I’m here”, then months of nothing.
In part it’s because I have been doing it all so long. I don’t need another place to post my questionable humour or to incite political upheaval (my Facebook modus operandi). And I don’t need another net-based time sink. Just as for early Twitter, with the “purpose” unclear and the audience limited, I don’t know why I (or anyone) should even be on here. I’ve seen some friends who joined early check in occasionally, choosing then to not post here but elsewhere something like “no, still nothing happening on Ello”. They expect a community to be in place from the start, and they want to interact the same way they do on other social media platforms. But as I said when Twitter was new there was also no community, and people didn’t even know why it existed let alone why they were there. Yet they ignored all that and posted whatever they wanted. Perhaps the pressure was off with the 140 character limit and nobody watching: there was no expectation of writing anything of substance, so no barrier of resistance. If you posted what you were eating or reading or watching, that was enough, and you at least posted something.
This is not meant to be any kind of analysis of Ello’s purpose or future. I’m simply thinking about why I myself am “here”, but so far not really “here” (and not in the way Descartes or Heidegger would think about that). I suspect it’s to do with my own resistance. I decided up front I didn’t want to use this the way I use other sites, because then there would simply be no point. I thought to make this place representative of a different aspect of me, or at least to present it in a different way. And that raised the bar for what I might write or post. Added an element of fear, or perfectionism, or whatever other form my resistance chooses to take today.
If I am going to be “here”, and whether or not I do something different, I should be here at least occasionally. That is, I should definitely create something.