Back in August, I opined about how and why I established accounts on Twitter several years ago and Facebook this year. Since then, there’s been a few things I wanted to opine about those services. First, some broad thoughts about the 140-character universe that is Twitter. Well, I should correct that to 280 characters. Back in September, the geeks at Twitter “launched a test” so that some users could “express themselves easily” in a tweet whose character limit was double what it had been before. It turned out to be successful enough, according to the geeks, that Twitter expanded everyone’s limit from 140 to 280 in November. The belief is that the longer the tweet limit, the more engaged users will be on Twitter.
Just a couple quick thoughts to share on this Sunday afternoon. First, as I noted in my post from Friday morning, I did indeed stay away completely from Twitter all day Friday. I did so as a show of support to the “#WomenBoycottTwitter” protest meant to highlight Twitter’s inequities in applying discipline in matters of harassment and safety among its users, especially in situations where women on Twitter were being harassed and Twitter did little or nothing to punish the misogynistic men that freely hurled the abuse.
So, how did it feel, you’re asking? For me, of course, it felt somewhat liberating to be away from the 140-character universe. Rather than read and scroll ad infinitum through my Twitter timeline (both my female and male accounts), instead I checked out my Facebook accounts. Since joining Facebook this year, I’ve been rather conservative in my use of that platform (i.e. usually visiting it once or twice a day). But on Friday, Facebook served as a nice substitute. So did, Instagram, which Male Mode Me has an account on. The nice thing about Instagram is that it lets the pictures do the talking, and just like one of those fidget spinners (the big fad of 2017), the photos can be so soothing, especially when it’s a nature or broad landscape photo. Ahhh…
While recently writing about my online and social media lives, it occurred to me that I should bring up, in a separate post, another risk one encounters when venturing into the World Wide Whatever: Deception. Or, I’ll go ahead and say it, downright intentional fakery.
In the earlier of those two posts, I discussed my need to add a digital image of myself to my online accounts. Before buying a digital camera, I resorted to using an anonymous-looking cartoon avatar for my representation on Yahoo! The day I uploaded the very first digital image of myself en femme is an important day for me, as it confirmed to the world that, yes, Allison M. was and is a real, living, breathing human being. Sadly, the online crossdressing world is full of people who willfully misrepresent themselves. I’m not talking about people who fill their Flickr accounts with photos of beautiful women (trans or otherwise) and specifically say that they the types of women they admire and would love to emulate. No, I’m talking about people who’d post a photo of Cindy Crawford online and say they look exactly like her. Or someone who’d Photoshop their own face on the body of Cindy Crawford and claim it’s them. Or someone who’d not only do all of that or something similar but also fictionalize a backstory… all for the sake of deceiving others in the online world.
In this post from late last month, I detailed the topic of my general presence online. That post and the one you’re about to read were inspired by one of the “June Jour” topics my WordPress peep, The Finicky Cynic, posted on her site in June: Thoughts about social media use. As I noted in that post, I tend to think of my online and social media presences as intertwined with each other. After that lengthy post about the online life, I will center this post on how I got to the “You Are Here” point on social media, as well as whether there’s too much of it and if I tend to rely on it too much (spoiler alert: There is, and I do).
I will start off by alluding to some relatively personal social media news: I had mentioned once or twice on this blog that I was never keen to establishing an account on Facebook. I gave reasons such as the controversy over Facebook requiring users to use their real names and not their stage name or preferred private alias, to the image of Mark Zuckerberg being a big prick (yeah, I got that from The Social Network). And I still feel a lot of trepidation and hesitance over establishing a Facebook account.
And yet, out of necessity, I’ve established a Facebook account.
Now, you will certainly brand me a hypocrite for joining Facebook after expressing for so long how nice it was to not have done so. But I have two key reasons for doing so, which I’ll get to later in this post. First, I want to start off with my first venture into social media, Twitter. As I mentioned in this post, I had never thought about answering the siren song of social media until a couple of months after getting my first full-fledged smart phone. Before then, I had one of those basic flip phones for a few years, but with the rapid advancement of personal technology, that phone became oh so archaic by the time I bought my first smart phone in 2010.