I’m disappointed to hear that WordPress posts will no longer be able to be shared to Twitter automatically. It’s of course possible to do this manually, but it’s still frustrating for me, as someone who has used this blog for several years with this functionality. The reason is Twitter removing the ability for other platforms to do this without a charge. Given that these posts (not just me, of course) generate a lot of content for Twitter with no cost, it seems like they want one side of it, but not the other.
I keep thinking that my days on Twitter are numbered, but then this week the response to the Alexandre Koyré and a network of ideas post was far better there than on any other site. So I’m really reluctant to lose that community, but this feels like another step in the wrong direction. I’ve been trying to make Mastodon work, and there content has to be manually shared, as there isn’t a WordPress-Mastodon link as yet (it’s been long promised). But the engagement on Mastodon is very limited, even though I have quite a lot of followers – I sense a lot of people joined but their accounts are largely dormant. Recently the ability to post project updates on researchgate was removed. Email listserves are largely unusable these days. I see some other people are going down the Substack route, but I’m not sure about that.
I’ve long been aware that most people follow this blog for the information about other people’s work – recent books, conferences, etc. – rather than my own. But I could build an audience through that, and keep a record of stuff I found interesting, which also benefited my work. The advantage of automatic posting was that I could do one post here and it would be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms I don’t use. But take that away, and the idea of manually reposting things across multiple platforms is much less appealing.
How are others who use WordPress going to deal with this?
Afraid I don’t produce enough content, and don’t have an individual Twitter account anyway. A very few people stumble across the blog, with a posting about Birdy and Brompton bikes being the most popular entry. Maybe the trend is that social media grew for scholars, then got too much, and now appetites are cutting back again?
Maybe, though I think this is two different questions. One – which I was complaining about – is that a useful tool for sharing material is going to no longer be available.
The other is the decline in blog readers. I’ve noticed a drop, though I recognise part of that is content – my new project is of more limited appeal than Foucault or territory.
But I also notice that unless a post gets likes or shares on social media very quickly, it sinks like a stone. And there doesn’t seem to me to be an obvious relation between the potential and actual interest in something, other than whether some of the initial people who see it actively mark that interest with a like/share/retweet/boost, etc..