Toward a Theory of Quitting Stuff on the Internet

Scott Smith has some thoughts about why he stopped posting to Tumblr:

With a presence on various platforms – here, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr – I’ve been wondering how to balance them all without publishing the same stuff in every space. In particular, I’ve been wrestling with the question of how to get myself to blog more. If you’re a writer, you tend to write because you have something in you that needs to be expressed. And writing it – as opposed to putting it in a song or delivering a monologue – is the best way to express it.

I’ve always marveled at people with the ability to populate 3, 4, 5 different social networks consistently (Scott being one of them), because I’ve never been able to do it myself. I can barely sustain a Twitter account on most days. One of the reasons I wanted to try blogging here again was that I figured if I’m going to have the energy to write anything else I might as well do it here, the one place on the internet I’ve managed to keep running all these years. Like Scott says, I might as well do it in a place I control:

It just became too important to me to own as much of the work I was doing online as possible. I’ll still post regularly on Twitter because what it gives me is as great as what I feel I’m giving to it. Tumblr stopped delivering on its end of that bargain so I found another way to keep writing.

I’ve tried using Tumblr half a dozen times, and I think it’s fun and extremely easy to use. If I were starting a brand new blog I’d probably use it, but I always struggled with the problem of what I’d actually do there. Share links and photos? Isn’t that what Twitter is for? Write essays? Isn’t that what my blog is for? I couldn’t ever find a place for it, and a big reason is because I had this blog, which for better or worse, is the place where people can find me.

Starting out on a new network and building a following always felt like too much work. Worse, it felt like I was cheating on this place, not to mention feeling like I had nothing new to say. Maybe it’s a matter of precedent. I started writing online (or anywhere really) on this blog, and that set my expectations for how to *be* online. Maybe Tumblr is the baseline for the youngs now and blogging on WordPress feels weird. Whatever tools you use for expressing yourself online, you need to have a plan to make it worthwhile. And part of that plan is knowing when to pull the plug.

PS: I started to write this as a comment on Scott’s blog and then I was all, “Screw that man, let’s do this old school trackback style” and responded to him here. Blogging!

Toward a Theory of Quitting Stuff on the Internet

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