Social Media: Benefit and costs

I have been flirting on and off with social media for quite some time. Between this blog in the various versions of the years, and traditional post dot bomb incarnations of social media I have had a varying presence. Currently I have a Youtube, LinkedIn, and Twitter account. I from time to time have a Google+ account but that is based on the varying rules Google imposes on the YouTube account. Added into the mix I read and follow a few email based list systems. I have no Facebook, Tumblr, Vine or Instagram accounts. When accused of ludditism upon occasion I mention that there is cost and benefit to those platforms. My cost and benefit calculation may differ from others.

I recently returned to LinkedIn at the request of some of my students. They had various reasons but basically wanted to be able to say to people in the future (THAT was my professor). Whether that was meant to be a good or bad thing likely has more to do with where they are in their careers now. I find myself more than disenchanted with LinkedIn currently. My SPAM arriving from linkedIn itself is off the charts. Changing my preferences seems to have little effect. The number of recruiters contacting me has dwindled but has remained at one or two a week. Usually for jobs far below what I would consider. I really don’t want to work from home and make $400 a week in 3 or 4 hours a day. Add the two phishing attempts, various LinkedIn generated spear-phishing attempts and I’m just about done. I can quit you LinkedIn.

Twitter is also on the chopping block. It’s been fun, it’s been swell, but it has become mainly links to stories I’ve already read in my feed. I’m guilty of posting links too. As of now I’ve sworn off posting links to Twitter unless I generated the content. On December 1st I will make a decision if I will use Twitter in the future. If I decide to drop twitter there will be much like Facebook and LinkedIn no announcement to that effect. Just silence. Then 30 days later I will kill the account and that will be it. I already killed all of the sharing mechanisms in my technology solutions. This isn’t the “argue to keep me on LinkedIn or Twitter” type discussion. It is that I can get most of the information with less noise through other means. I like most of the people I follow but they are directing me to other places to get the information I’m really interested in (blogs, articles, websites). Twitter actually just becomes a barrier to consumption of creators work.

As a side note I get almost ZERO traffic to articles on from Twitter. I track back to links and shares. The most hits I’ve ever gotten on a story from Twitter this year was 30. On a mail list if I post a link I get over a 1000. That tells me more people are posting than consuming on Twitter. In other words it is becoming an echo chamber.

Finally I am also considering killing off the selil blog as of the first of the year. I have gotten average traffic to about 10K unique visitors a month. A tiny amount compared to other blog properties I have managed or worked with. I thought when I started pushing more professional and relevant information to the blog starting in 2003 that I would be more renaissance with everything from food, to motorcycle and from infosec to swimming. The result has been bitter criticism when I publish an article unrelated to the interests of those who read for other reasons. That has caught me a bit off guard. The worst part was being told if I talked about motorcycles I couldn’t be serious about infosec.

There are a couple of reasons that the blog has been giving me issues. I thought that sharing students work in progress would help the students but I have had them complain I was exploiting them. I don’t exploit people and don’t want to be accused of that. I have used the blog to point employers at possible students to work for them as examples of their work. IT has in fact resulted in jobs. I don’t get any benefit out of that other than a sense of accomplishment. My other issue has been the management. The blog is under almost daily attack by east european and Indonesian botnets using pretty standard low-brow software. Primarily they are aiming at SPAM and comment SPAM type attacks. Since the blog sits on a shared server there is little I can do to protect it. That has resulted in near ubiquitous rejection of sign ups. That kind of ruins the social aspect to a blog.

The final problem is an issue I’ve talked about before. It goes something like this. I post something on my blog and share it out. Everything on my blog is copyrighted. An entity then copies the entire post and claims fair use, academic use, or some other form of we get to steal your content. They even post their own user name or author name over my content in some cases. Then a few months or even years later somebody doing a search finds both articles (in one case dozens of copies) and I get charged with plagiarism. That really pisses me off. As far as the blog I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’m rapidly approaching 20 years, but flat filing the entire thing would be trivial and then I could take a lot of work off my plate.

I’m not sure what to do. I’ve been thinking about it and I’m pretty sure LinkedIn is toast. Twitter has very little hope of making it to the end of the year. I’m even paring back my various interactions on forums I belong to. The homily that if you’re not paying for the product you are the product is not necessarily wrong. It is an indicator that I should be thinking more about how to insure I’m not giving away the store in various ways. I’m thinking this over and mulling it. I’d say leave a comment but it is nearly impossible unless I’ve already given you permission.


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