Congratulations to Wab Kinew who, this past Tuesday, made history not only as the first First Nations individual to be elected premier of a province but also the first YA author to receive such an honour. It was a good day, to see a tired Conservative government give way to a more positive NDP one.
But what I thought was particularly interesting was how I found out. I just happened upon a Facebook post by a friend. Up until that point, I didn't realize there was an election going on in Manitoba, much less that the NDP was looking to win it. While it's been a busy time at work, I used to be a political junkie. I used to feed on this sort of stuff. But I wonder, with Twitter now a total dumpster fire and Facebook tantruming against the Federal Government, blocking access to Canadian News, if that has had an effect of making me less connected with the news around me.
There was a fair argument that I was too connected before. I know plenty of things that are happening in my local area, in my province, and in my line of work, thanks to my work. Social media used to be a firehose of media, though -- so much so, that I wonder now if it was healthy. But it's changing. Without the access, it feels far less consequential. Even if the way I got that errant piece of news was through a friend's Facebook post.
Years ago, I felt the shift of the Internet as personal blogs gave way to social media accounts. Before Twitter and Facebook, I used to be part of a wider conversation. We'd write, we'd link to each other's blog posts, we'd comment, have debates. Then all of a sudden the comments dried up. The conversations moved to social media. And it became a bit of a chore to write here, where there was a sense that nobody was paying attention anymore. But most of us, myself included, accepted it, and moved to where the conversations were happening. Now, however, I wonder if the field is changing again. Twitter is being run into the ground and Facebook is... acting strange. I'm missing conversations; I'm seeing friends' posts days after they post them, and some of my posts, which link to posts I've written here, don't seem to be getting any traction. The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if this is something from Facebook's algorithm, trying to keep people from leaving their site.
Either way, Twitter has no credibility, and Facebook is not as fun anymore. And I'm wondering if this might be a good time to get back into more regular use of this blog. While it may not currently have the community element that blogs used to, it remains a good place to make announcements or put down my thoughts. Given the clear issues of putting too much of our communications infrastructure into the hands of a few billionaires, returning to the part of the Internet that I own, hosting words that I control, has a certain appeal, if a retro one.
I've promised myself that I would use this blog more often, and I've failed to live up to that promise, so I won't make that promise again. But it's good to know that I will have this to come back to if the conversations fade elsewhere.
And, speaking of controlling your own words, I'm on Mastodon at https://mastodon.online/@jamesbow, and thanks to Kate Orman, I now have a BlueSky account at https://bsky.app/profile/jamesbow.bsky.social (though the latter is corporate controlled). They both have the fun atmosphere that Facebook and Twitter had when I joined them, and they could be a helpful partner in drawing people to my blog. So, if you want to join the conversation, comment here, or comment on my new social media feeds. And we'll see what we shall see.