Use social media without being social

September 23, 2017

Social media seems to be more about creating a persona that voicing your thoughts and ideas. Not thinking about public opinion enables you too emit thoughts without fear of judgment, which is why I’ve found it helpful to use social media without being social.

I make accounts on social media that are totally protected. I don’t follow anyone or let anyone follow me. I keep the account locked so no one can even visit it. This way, I can use the cutting edge technology ecosystem and infrastructure of social media giants for my own personal journal.

I do program, so I could write my own diary program (and I have). But there is something nice about having a ready-made solution with so much support. In fact, just Twitter has almost 100,000 repositories of varying quality for interfacing with it. This means, if you decide you want a Twitter library written in [random language] then you probably can find it.

Social media as a private experience

Here is how I use my social media. I am using Twitter, but that is interchangeable with most of the other platforms, as they are all big enough to have support. I could’ve easily done the same with Facebook, Tumblr, etc.

Keep track of things to do

I like to do stuff from the command-line, so I found one of the 100,000 repos devoted to interfacing with Twitter: https://github.com/sferik/t. Its well written and supported, and its easy to use. I use this for some of my updates.

I keep a list of things todo. Using t I can easily see what I have todo:

> t search timeline  '#todo' | more 
#todo get ice cube trays from the dollar store
#todo get a haircut

or update my todo-list

> t update "#todo mow the lawn"
Tweet posted by @?.

Run `t delete status ?` to delete.

And if I’m on my phone, I can just go to my Twitter feed to quickly look at a grocery list, or update something I need to do.

Sample tweets from my #todo feed:

Quickly jotting random thoughts

My twitter feed is best for random thoughts. I like that the Twitter application is polished enough that you can use it anywhere, even when there is no data/wifi. The draft will be saved and posted when you reach a place that does.

This failsafe is hard to program into things I make, so I’m glad that I can take advantage of this to post random thoughts, such as:

Using IFTTT to keep track of everything else

There are many things you can hook up to IFTTT, to keep a record of in your Twitter biography. For example:

  1. Keep track of songs I like on Spotify. E.g.:

  2. Record the daily weather. E.g.:

  3. Connect public life (Facebook, Instagram) to Twitter so my private log is updated.

  4. Keep track of my movements with the IFTTT geofencing.

Caveats

Obviously, Twitter is a company basically offering a service for free. I would always be wary of that. So, I would never post things that are truly secret (i.e. passwords, bank statements, etc.).

Also, I chose Twitter because it has a option for export. Their export option is suboptimal (it only updates every two weeks or so), but it is a requirement that I can have my data that I create.


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Written on 23 September 2017. Categories: thoughts.

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