As an author, I’m constantly looking for ways to get the word out about my work and to engage with readers and other authors. And one part of my strategy is social media.

Before social media, there were blogs. Long before I was a published author, I started blogging. I first start blogging using a wiki, then switched to Drupal. I maintained a blog at Esperanto-USA while I was webmaster there. Many people used blogs primarily to link to and comment on the other things they were reading.

Most people didn’t have the technical chops or resources to set up their own blogging environment, so they chose a site managed by a third party. Typically, these were offered “free” in a limited form as a kind of loss-leader supported by venture capitalists trying to make a bet on what the “next big thing” was going to be.

One of the most popular with authors was Livejournal. I wasn’t a published author in those days, but I was aware of the robust author community there. But when Livejournal was purchased by the Russian state and began to censor and persecute users, most of the writer community abandoned it.

This was around the time people began to use microblogging platforms that became what people collectively termed “social media”. The most popular with authors was probably Twitter, which I’ve written about elsewhere. As I took my first steps into the author community, it was great to have a place where the other authors were active: sharing perspectives and supporting one another. And occasionally quarreling.

I predicted that when Twitter became a Nazi bar, the community would move somewhere else. I was hopeful that they would settle on Mastodon. With Livejournal getting purchased by a repressive regime and then Twitter getting purchased by a narcissistic billionaire, I thought maybe they would have learned something. Unfortunately, it appears that the largest part of the active author community has settled at Blue Sky where they are once again suckling on the teat of venture capital.

But there is no longer a clear center. Blue Sky seems to have more of the established authors. But the largest microblogging community may well be Threads. And Facebook and Instagram are still the largest overall communities, though young people are more likely to be on Tiktok or Discord.

So it’s not at all clear which community is the best to focus on. I’m still guided by a presentation about book promotion I attended a couple of years ago that said, “Don’t pressure yourself to do it all.” I like the community at Mastodon. So that’s where I spend the most time. And I forward a few of my more announcement-like posts at Blue Sky and Facebook. And then I call it a day. Because, in the end, I would rather spend my time writing new fiction.

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