liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
[twitter.com profile] kake linked to a cool post by [personal profile] doug about changing history with a time machine. It's the sort of post that makes me realize just how weak my history is. There's absolutely no way I could come up with any sensible argument for which people and events made a substantial difference to the course of history, or how history would have been different if those fulcrum events ran differently. Anyway I really like reading stuff by knowledgeable people playing around with ideas like this!

Also I accidentally rekindled the debate about whether Harriet Vane is a Mary-Sue at [personal profile] staranise's place. People are being careful about major spoilers but if you don't want to know anything the plots or characters of any Sayers books at all you might want to avoid the thread. [personal profile] legionseagle quite rightly points out that my initial premise was simplistic and probably sexist, and also has some really informative and insightful ideas about Sayers' oeuvre, about Mary-Sues, and about the law. And lots of thinky stuff about class and how that's changed historically from various people, including [personal profile] naraht. And [personal profile] staranise herself brings the psychological insight regarding relationships between authors and characters.

One of the major topics I've been thinking about recently is how to maintain communication with people I care about a lot but who aren't regularly in my life. Partly sparked by this really chewy discussion chez [personal profile] kaberett, which started off responding to a Captain Awkward discussion about when you should just assume someone who isn't getting back to you doesn't actually want to be talking to you and it's time to stop pestering, and moves on to talking about different media and how they work or don't for communication. Also I've been talking to [personal profile] lethargic_man about related stuff; he used to joke that the reason he asked me out was that that was the only way to get me to answer emails, and it's somewhat true, I've been a direly terrible correspondent in the decade since we broke up. And now I am committing the terrible irony of failing to keep up with an email conversation about ways of keeping up with email conversations...

So, I'd like to hear from people, how do you manage this kind of thing? What sorts of communication media work for you or don't? I think a lot of why I'm a little angsty about this is that my absolute optimal way to keep the people I care about in my life is... Dreamwidth. To a first approximation, if you post on DW at all regularly, I feel connected. Doesn't matter what the content is, it can be linkspams or rants or random daily updates or media responses or whatever, and it only needs to be a little bit above the absolute minimum of once every few years posting to say you really should post more. Of all the people I've ever hoped to have a long-term friendship with, the ones who posted to LJ in the 2000s and have moved to DW now are almost always the ones I feel closest to even many years after life circumstances (eg university, jobs, meeting on LJ) happened to throw us together.

There's an obvious problem with this, which is that DW isn't for everyone and also we're starting to fall below the critical mass where people want to be here because their whole social circle is even if it's not their favourite medium. I don't in principle like DW folk better than people who prefer other channels. It's just that, well, I find the reading list format unbelievably convenient, and DW is very much part of my regular routine. I genuinely do read everything that everybody I'm subscribed to posts, mix of having at least an hour in the evening where keeping up with my d-roll is what I do, with reading on my phone whenever I have a spare five minutes. It's chronological so I can easily find where I left off, it's comprehensive, no ridiculous algorithms promoting content and missing out other stuff, it's permanent so I can go back and read old posts if I want to, or catch up if I've been away for a while. I also really like being able to tweak the layout, colours and font to my satisfaction, and being able to read something that looks pretty much like the page of a book, where smallish text takes up most of the screen. No giant header images, no tiny squished little column in the middle to make room for adverts, no huge fonts with masses of white space because that looks modern.

I'm not absolutely brilliant at commenting, I know. Partly cos I read from my phone a lot of the time and it's a bit of a pain to type, partly because I don't always have the oomph to think of something to say. And it is true that barriers to interaction are high compared to more modern platforms. I go back and forth on whether DW would benefit from a "Like" equivalent, in some ways I sort of hate the idea, but partly because of it's association with evil Facebook and tracking and feeding the users to advertisers. In others I think there would be a lot to be said for a one-click, and more importantly one-tap, way to give people positive feedback and therefore make posting more rewarding. Either way, there's a pretty glaring gap between here and everywhere else on the internet where you just start typing under whatever you want to comment on.

However, what DW does have that really works well for me is an expectation that you only comment when you have something to say, it's perfectly good etiquette to read mostly without commenting. Equally comments are allowed to be short but not forced to stay within a strict limit. I can say "cool post, thanks!", I can choose to reply to just one aspect of a long post, I can bounce off with something tangentially related the post reminds me of, and I can also write several hundred words of how the post makes me feel or even come back to my own journal and react at length. So generally reading is its own reward – I get new words in front of my eyes, I get interesting stuff to think about, I feel connected to my friends, and commenting is almost entirely reward, with no sense of obligation or feeling like it's a task I ought to do or a standard I have to live up to. The time-scale is great for me, too, I don't have to reply instantly, I can take time to compose what I want to say or wait until it's actually convenient to sit down and type. Equally the bulk of discussion usually happens within a couple of days of a post going up; if I haven't managed to get back to something after a week or so, it just quietly falls out of my mind rather than sticking around on my overcrowded mental to-do list metaphorically rotting.

What makes DW perfect for me obviously isn't applicable to everyone else, though, so the question is how to make best use of other media and channels. LJ is basically close enough, I feel less comfortable there because of the advertising and lack of openness, and visually the interface suits me less well, especially with recent changes. But for those few of my friends who actively prefer LJ over DW, it has most of the same advantages so it's fine for keeping in touch. Other social media, not so much.

I am just about ok with Twitter, as long as I keep in mind that it's purely ephemeral, I can't catch up if I miss a few days or go back and find old Tweets. But if people chat, either about day-to-day things or political opinions on Twitter, I do feel connected to them. (If Twitter starts auto-filtering feeds, as is rumoured, it will become a lot less congenial, mind you.) Real blogs: well, as soon as anyone mentions they have a real blog I add it to my RSS reader, and I try to follow. But RSS seems to be unreliable (eg lots of blogs randomly stop updating) and the modern internet doesn't really like the format, so there aren't good tools for it. Also I am really really unlikely to comment on real blogs, partly because I have to click through from my reader to the OP, and sign in with some complicated system that often as not doesn't work, and no, I'm not using my FB ID or selling my soul to Google+ just to be able to say, hey, nice post, that reminds me of thing. Also there's a kind of culture that bloggers write for "the public" rather than primarily for their personal friends, as is much more expected here. Tumblr is not for conversation, and FB is just awful for reasons that have been gone over plenty of times so I won't repeat them.

And sometimes I do want one-to-one conversation or even private conversation. The obvious asynchronous tool for that is email, but most of my adult life has been one ongoing struggle with email guilt. I think it's partly the thing of letting other people set my to-do list, my inbox tends to be a mixture of practical stuff I need to deal with, and actual chatty letters from friends. Sure, sorting it into those different categories helps a bit, but not entirely. The feeling that I "owe" people email, that it's supposed to be a kind of ping-pong where one person writes a mail and the other sends a reply, is a huge psychological barrier to actually dealing with email. Also, as I was chatting about with [personal profile] kaberett and [personal profile] swaldman, I came to email in the 90s and my email culture is about in-line replies. That means I feel kind of obliged to reply to every single line in an email I receive rather than top-posting with either a general response or a comment on one particular bit as I would do with a DW post. As a result, emails tend to languish for months until I have time to sit down and concentrate for several hours and write a "proper" reply, by which time I feel guilty for not having got back to my friend, and it's all a bit hopeless.

The only really successful email-based relationship I have is with [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel, and even then it took about 8 years of trial and error to find a mode that works for both of us. Partly it's that [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel's super-human efficiency makes up for the ways I'm unreliable as a correspondent, and partly we've come to an arrangement where I don't have to reply back in exactly a 1:1 ratio. In general I would like to write more emails to more people, especially the ones who have drifted away from LJ/DW. Except that the only slack time I really have for doing this is on my train journeys back and forth across the country to visit my friends and loved ones, and that time is earmarked for writing to [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel.

Paper letters are basically useless; they have all the disadvantages of email as well as the additional ones that I write a whole lot slower than I type, and I have to get round to finding a stamp and an envelope and looking up the person's address (which change more often than email addresses do and I might well not hear of a change of address) and putting the letter in the postbox, rather than just pressing "send". I have a few people who emotionally I consider friends but whom I'm just not in touch with, because they don't believe in social email and don't have journal-type blogs, and I can't maintain connections on Facebook and snailmail just doesn't happen.

One idea a few people have mentioned, which perhaps I'd like to try, is to buy a bunch of postcards or small notecards, and write just whatever fits into that small space. That would make it easier to keep in touch regularly, without the intimidation of needing to write a long-hand reply to a letter. In some ways I think what I want is to be like Victorian ladies you read about, who had an hour each morning for "correspondence" built into their daily routine. I mean, on the one hand they didn't have jobs and had servants to cover most of their domestic responsibilities, but on the other, I probably spend about that much time each day following my friends on DW, so perhaps I could use that time more constructively. And that might well be email or making more of an effort to comment on posts, not necessarily getting all paper-and-ink romantic about it.

Phonecalls: I don't hate the phone as much as most people do, but honestly if I just randomly call people or they call me, it's as likely to be annoying as charming. I'm actually quite happy to spend a couple of hours chatting, as long as it's at a pre-arranged, mutually convenient time. Incompatible timezones make this harder, but it can sometimes work. When I do manage to arrange it I always feel good about having a proper natter and giving someone my full attention without multitasking. So I don't manage to phone my friends as often as I'd like, but I do it some, and it helps a bit. Phone is my parents' and grandmother's preferred medium, which is perhaps a generational thing, but we all end up feeling a bit dissatisfied with how rarely we actually have time for synchronous conversation compared to how much we actually want to talk. I count VoIP systems like Skype or Google Talk as basically equivalent to phones; having video available isn't a big plus for me, the fact that it's free even internationally is somewhat helpful.

In many ways I prefer IM over phones for synchronous chat, partly because typing is less physically tiring than talking, and partly cos I can kind of hang out with someone in a low-key way while doing something else, or I can give them my full attention for a pre-arranged time. And I can use the same channel to do the pre-arranging, rather than, like, sending an email to ask when we can chat by phone. I'm mildly annoyed that basically everybody is using either Google Talk or Facebook chat for IM these days, because I don't really like the idea of those companies plus the NSA having complete records of my conversations, but that's a minor downside. The main reason this doesn't work for keeping in touch is that probably only a small minority of my friends use these systems at all, especially not in the model of just hanging out online rather than setting up times to talk.

Anyway, how do you do this? How do you handle email guilt and deal with Facebook's horribleness? Are you comfortable flexibly moving between different media depending what suits your friends? Have you, like me, started to lose people now that lots are migrating away from DW? Thoughts very much welcome!

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Date: 2014-09-16 05:37 pm (UTC)
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
From: [personal profile] forestofglory
I a bit of a system for corresponding with people who don't have much online presence.

For email there are two friends that I send an email a week to. One of the them writes back regularly, the other irregularly. I have set days to send the emails. They are maybe 500 words long, and just talk about my daily life. (Sometimes I recycle bits of them into DW entries, and sometimes I recycle bits of DW entries into my emails.)

I have one friend to whom I write a postcard once a week. Then I send postcards to other friends occasionally as well. Postcards are nice because they are a real physical thing you can hold. I think this makes them Unlike letters postcards to not require replies. I also enjoy collecting postcards when I'm traveling.

I had one friend whom I was writing letters to, but she moved to Mexico where the postal service is quite bad so I've been writing her emails instead. These don't really have schedule, just when I feel like it. Which seems to work ok so far.

Other than DW and LJ I don't use a lot of social media. (And I seem to keep meeting new people here.)

I've given up on never feeding facebook at all, but it doesn't really feel like social connection. More like a news service about people's lives most of whom I'm not very close to. (It is also useful for me for some real news.) I kind of enjoy having a lot people notice things when I post there.

I don't have twitter account. I do sometimes find myself reading other people's feeds, so it might be worth having an account for that. But then again I don't have a smart phone, and I often go for hours and hours with out being online, which doesn't really go well with the twitter mentally.

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Date: 2014-09-16 05:51 pm (UTC)
randomling: A wombat. (Default)
From: [personal profile] randomling
So, er, I am genuinely terrible at keeping in touch with people I like. And not very good about updating my DW (I keep thinking I should make that a Routine but there is so much I'm struggling to get done and it seems like other things should be a priority).

I find that I would really especially like to have more people to chat with over some kind of IM on a regular basis (though like you, I loathe Facebook chat and would rathr not log into Google Talk if I can possibly avoid it - I do have AIM, though).

I am also terrible at email but I'm at least working on a more comprehensive filtering system so my email is less overwhelming (I get far too much email, most of it not from people at all).

This is a bit rambly and I'm feeling a bit self-conscious because the comments here (and you yourself) tend towards the polished and erudite, and because I have zero solutions! But, er, hi, you're most definitely not alone.
Edited ("all" and "alone" are different words) Date: 2014-09-16 05:52 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2014-09-16 05:58 pm (UTC)
ursula: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ursula
I'm interested that you don't mention text message at all? I definitely have friends for whom that's the preferred method of communication.

I feel like the GCHQ deserves a shoutout, too, if you're worrying about government data collection :)

Personally, I prefer email. I'd say that compared to you I probably feel less obligation to write thoughtful emails and more obligation to write thoughtful dw posts, which affects relative rates of production.

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Date: 2014-09-18 12:19 pm (UTC)
ursula: (sheep)
From: [personal profile] ursula
I should add that although I share the grumpiness of a lot of your readers toward Facebook, I do find it highly useful for networking. I've done a lot of math on Facebook in the last few years (that's why I went to Korea this summer!) I also answer questions from people I don't know in person, via the various SCA message groups.

I started using Facebook regularly because my spouse prefers short status updates to long ones.

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Date: 2014-09-16 06:15 pm (UTC)
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
Hah. I am always super-flattered when you act as though I have useful/thought-provoking things to say; thank you. (Also I suspect I reckon you value me less highly than you obviously do: thanks, brain.)

Beyond that, nothing much useful to add at the moment... ;)

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Date: 2014-09-16 07:02 pm (UTC)
rysmiel: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rysmiel
At its peak, LJ basically had every non-immediate-family person I wanted to keep up with around except for my Evil Siamese Twin and my Adoptive Big Sister and that made things a lot easier. These days, not so much, partly because of people moving away from LJ or not using it in the kind of keeping-up-with-stuff way that I most benefit from, and it may not be helping that for Reasons I have entirely friends-locked my journal as of a couple of months ago. I have a DW account basically in case LJ disappears, and don't intend to use it otherwise, for philosophical reasons; I follow a few Twitter feeds manually, only you and [personal profile] daharyn with any thoroughness; I am starting to lean towards starting a tumblr as the number of Homestuck-centric tumblrs I am following manually is getting to the point where that might help, despite my dislike of the interface and the conventions; when coping with things that risk making me depressive it would help to be able to filter some of the more depressing things in people's tumblrs. I don't do Facebook at all.

As for email guilt; I am very much a multitasker and answering email to someone is usually one of the tasks I am engaging with by default, often in parallel with something work-related or with soothing media of the less dense variety, so I do not really get behind on most of my correspondence except occasionally when something wants a considered reply and I mentally earmark it for when I have more time and then lose track of it under a bunch of quicker-responding emails. I can enjoy chat in specific more or less predictable contexts - it particularly helps to most of the time have a reasonably well-defined stopping point beyond which I can then plan to do other things - the failure mode of a chat planned to start at a specific time is feeling unable to really engage with things for hours beforehand for fear of getting caught up in them and missing the intended start - and I am much less good with phone calls or chat in contexts where it meanders on indefinitely save in rare specific circumstances.

*hug* I am extremely glad you have been comfortable with assigning answering my mail to your train journeys, and that that works regularly enough to keep that working for us both.

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Date: 2014-09-17 01:17 pm (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
Curious as to why you have a philosophical preference for not-DW.

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Date: 2014-09-16 09:36 pm (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
DW and LJ are my mainstays, for similar reasons to yours. I prefer long-format posts. I don't feel like I comment enough, but I hope that by periodically assuring people I read everything (and I do!), they know I'm always taking in their content. I do feel like LJ is pretty deprecated now, but DW is still thriving, due to active maintenance of subscription list.

I use Twitter on a stream-of-consciousness basis. Having discovered muting retweets from prolific users, as well as certain topics that I find upsetting, it's easier to keep up with a larger number of people.

I check Facebook twice a week (reverse chronologically), and I periodically let people know that it is not a good way to ensure that I don't miss something. If I can't get through the accumulated content in an hour, I stop reading. I also read it through Tinfoil on my Android phone, which means I don't get any push notifications from it.

IM: I hardly use IM at all any more, unless the bloke is away and Skype is playing up.

E-mail guilt: I use personal e-mail for contact with people I see in person regularly and for my immediate family and honestly that's about it. Work e-mail sucks up nearly all my e-mail-related energy as I get hundreds of messages a day.
Edited Date: 2014-09-16 09:37 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2014-09-16 10:56 pm (UTC)
jenett: Big and Little Dipper constellations on a blue watercolor background (Default)
From: [personal profile] jenett
DW, LJ: I use it partly to talk to people, but also just to sort out my own head/keep a general record of what's going on in my life/etc. (Comments are awesome, but most of my posts, I am fine with people not, y'know?) I also like the one-to-many aspect, where I feel like I'm talking with people with the time/focus/energy to spare, and everyone else can keep doing their own thing.

I also strongly prefer long-form for sorting out my own thoughts, which is a factor in the rest of this.

Email: I like it for one on one conversations, but I'm very bad about initiating them (once a conversation gets going, I am usually a prompt replier.)

Facebook: a) I do not care for them building their business model on my content, b) most of the stuff I want to reference (religion, health, the broad range of things I read) I do not want to discuss in places with bad privacy controls where my co-workers (and potential employers, etc.) might see, and c) even if those two things weren't an issue, I have a basic fundamental problem with a company deciding which posts I see from the people I've chosen to get content from.

It's a lot easier for me to say "Yeah, just don't Facebook except for the bare minimum needed to manage things for work." (Fortunately, most of my actual friends consider this an entirely reasonable approach, and will ping me if there are cute kid photos/stories I actually want to see.)

Twitter: I tend to use it when I'm at conferences for backchannel and not for anything else? I occasionally dip in from a web browser for conversation on particular events. It's both that I don't do well with concise, and that I really don't need another fast-moving data source in my life.

IM: I do a lot (and I am generally often logged into a MUX as well for chatting with friends). However, that's generally with people I'm closer to, or have ongoing conversations with, and for Alternity project stuff. I tend to be nervous about IMing with other people until I've got a sense of their habits around pacing/expectations.

Phone: so very not a phone person and never have been. (I have a smartphone. It is the computer that lives in my pocket that I use as a phone a couple of times a month in a busy month.) I find phone calls bizarrely disruptive to my train of thought at home: getting one means I get derailed from the other stuff I was doing that evening.

I do have a couple of people I talk to on the phone, but generally we arrange by email/text a general time in advance and I know that if they call randomly, they are fine with my letting it go to voice mail. (I have Google Voice set up to email me voicemail transcriptions which are hilariously lousy, but good enough I can tell who called and whether it's urgent.)

People I'm closest to Pretty much all IM and email and MUX in some combination - one of the realish-time options when we're around at the same time, and email if that isn't an option and we want to say something.

I do find that I generally keep up with the people I really *want* to keep up with regardless of mode, though sometimes it changes the pattern of contact, and that there are plenty of people who are engaging and interesting (but who if they wandered off to some other platform, I might or might not follow them)

I'm really curious how the iOS update tomorrow and the ability to slot in third party keyboards is going to change my willingness to type on the phone: I've been playing with Fleksy as an alternate in apps, and while it's *nothing* like the typing speed I can manage on an actual keyboard, it's a lot more functional for more than brief responses for me. (which might make Twitter a thing I do more often, f'example.)

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Date: 2014-09-17 05:49 am (UTC)
metaphortunate: (Default)
From: [personal profile] metaphortunate
Ugh, I basically feel exactly the same way about DW/LJ. I know the writing finger moves on and there is no point in trying to bring it back, but oh man, I miss it. :(

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Date: 2014-09-17 09:13 am (UTC)
nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
From: [personal profile] nou
(Borrowing [personal profile] jenett's useful idea of subheadings...)

Facebook: I'm not on Facebook and never have been — for me, there's never been a problem to which it is the solution, if you see what I mean.

Email: I've started scheduling time to reply to emails-that-need-thought, rather than keeping them in my inbox, and I do find that helps. It's also good for chatty ones as it lets me leave a reasonable time between replies yet I know it's not going to get forgotten about completely. I think one major advantage of this is that I don't have the email nagging away at me when I know I don't have time to do anything about it, so when I do get to that point in my schedule I'm coming at it without guilt or other negative emotions. (I'm a big fan of Inbox Zero, again for this reason.) I don't know if this would work for everyone. It works for me partly because I rarely procrastinate, so I know I can trust Future-Me to do the thing I've scheduled (either at the time I've scheduled it, or at a sensibly-rescheduled time if later events mean the original time is suboptimal).

IRC: I really like IRC in terms of interface and user-friendliness, and miss the days when a lot of my friends were on it. I talk to [personal profile] bob on it quite a lot, but that's usually in private messages. I'm also on the Computer Anonymous IRC channel, but the people there are acquaintances rather than friends. (I have tried Dreamwidth IRC several times, but I don't really get on with it.)

LiveJournal: I still post there because it helps me have long-form conversations with long-term (decade or more) friends who won't move to Dreamwidth.

Dreamwidth: I would like this to be the primary place where I have long-form conversations online, as I find it technically and philosophically superior to LiveJournal. However, I haven't yet managed to find the time to start building up a group of long-term friends who use it, and I'm not sure when I will have the time. I generally prioritise maintaining existing relationships over creating new ones, and I'm already very stretched for time. (I do have some friends who post here, obviously! But there are more on LiveJournal.) I'm trying to make a start on this by posting more public posts on Dreamwidth, which is something of a departure for me as I've generally been friends-only on these platforms.

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Date: 2014-09-17 01:14 pm (UTC)
sfred: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sfred
As far as "social media" go, I use Facebook but dislike it: I use it because of a few important people who don't exist elsewhere on the internet, and because it allows me to broadcast stuff to lots of people (many Quakers, quite a lot of other people picked up from non-queer, non-SF contexts) for whom I'm a source of information about LGBT+ stuff in particular. Oh, and it's good for organising events.

I use Tumblr a little bit but can't get my head around the format.

I live on a combination of DW/LJ and Twitter; those are the places where I have conversations and build friendships. There are definitely people who've drifted away from me by drifting away from these places.

I like IM (I use Google Talk and Yahoo chat and sometimes Skype-IM but would be happy to sign up for other services too, I think). I find IM much easier than phone, with most people, for lots of reasons.

I enjoy phone conversations with about four people in the world. I talk to my partners on the phone frequently, and I like that. I most hate making calls to people I don't know well, but apart from my partners, two oldest-best friends and family-of-origin, I don't use the phone for social stuff and avoid it for anything else where possible.
I haven't got into video chat at all, despite trying it for communicating with family members too young for phones.

I prefer email to phone but am intermittently crap at replying - as mentioned in kaberett's discussion, I either reply really quickly or get into a cycle of fretting about not replying rather than actually replying.

In summary, I suppose I use whatever suits the people with whom I'm communicating, but get really resentful when what suits them is phone or Facebook!

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Date: 2014-09-17 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I always find paper difficult, and am increasingly disliking the phone, and not wanting to put other people through that. I've started sending postcards, which is nice. As you say, rysmiel is one of the best and least guilt-imposing correspondents and I really appreciate that.

I've been trying out postcards too - previously I've felt I have to cram as much as possible onto one, but I've started doing postcards but created from my phone and sent by a company, which works much better as the photo is often the content.

Otherwise, I quite like LJ, find DW difficult and anyway my name is taken, but perhaps I should just get over that, FB and Twitter have entirely different but lovely people, and mostly I just don't keep as in touch as I would like to or maybe would be good for me, so I need to make sure to do that.

Ghoti

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Date: 2014-09-17 04:32 pm (UTC)
damerell: NetHack. (normal)
From: [personal profile] damerell
I don't use Facebook (and I wish other people wouldn't play defect, too).

I think the thing about email is that text messaging has largely eaten its use for organisation purposes.

Also, for some years we've had a SGO IRC channel, which most of the people I know in Cambridge use. That handles a lot of ordinary conversation and organisation...

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] ceb - Date: 2014-09-19 09:52 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2014-09-17 04:48 pm (UTC)
lovingboth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lovingboth
I use evilFacebook as little as possible. Ideally, they'd restore the ability to get RSS feeds easily from it, then I could train a Bayesian filter to get rid of the 95% of crap on it.

Are people mass migrating away from DW? It isn't something I have noticed, partly because I see the people who want to leave LJ arriving. Obviously (too) many left LJ for evilFB.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-09-18 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] daharyn
I was just thinking about my methods, in part because at my new job we sat down as a team and decided "ok, e-mail for X, phone for Y, Basecamp for Z, that really stupid custom project management tool we're being forced to use for communicating with Certain Persons, text for catching our supervisor on the run, etcetera etcetera." At work it has been really helpful to delineate--we have a "communications strategy" document that we refer to on the regular.

But with friends, I'm finding, if you can't use what most of the other people in their lives are using, you lose the friend. I've tried very hard to keep up with my grad school girlfriends via e-mail and they just don't respond, because they're all talking to one another on Facebook. I only use Facebook to see pics of nieces and to help manage a page for a web site I maintain, so I only have ten "friends."

Right now:

LJ: Check in on rysmiel, occasionally post random stuff no one reads.
DW: Check in on your posts when I remember to do so. I don't post content here.
Proper Blog: has three categories I occasionally post to, but is generally a digital identity management/professionalization effort; I don't care if people read it or not. It helps with my work life, though.

Tumblr: I follow cool people. I add my walks, that's my content there. I may start doing more over there but I have trouble with the mix of content and reblogging.

Twitter: I run my personal account (random commentary with a good dose of my political opinions), and a work account (stuff from our office). I follow enough people on my personal Twitter that I have a hard time keeping up, but I do occasionally have good back-and-forths with some of my former colleagues. I like that, in part because it's usually "about" something--there's content at the root of the conversation.

Phone and text: Generally with the biological relations. But I like planned phone calls and text conversations (especially now that I have a work iPhone) and am actually quite a good conversationalist. I wish more people in my life wanted to phone with me!

Chat right now is a problem for me. The difference in time zones, coupled with the cultural expectation that I will actively use it at work (which I find incredibly distracting), is leaving me super frustrated. I feel like I could do so much better on the phone, but I'm the only person who feels that way!

The takeaway from all of this is that moving cross-country can really suck, and despite having all these methods of connection, it's pretty easy to feel like you moved to the moon. My communication patterns have to change, but I don't always find the support I need to negotiate that.

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] daharyn - Date: 2014-09-18 07:49 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2014-09-18 08:40 pm (UTC)
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
From: [personal profile] mathcathy
DW changed something recently so that the format on my phone is awful - like three words to a column before it wraps. Do you not have the same problem?

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From: [personal profile] mathcathy - Date: 2014-09-18 08:57 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] mathcathy - Date: 2014-09-18 09:49 pm (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] mathcathy - Date: 2014-09-18 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2014-09-19 09:47 pm (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
I am also awful about keeping in touch with people - specifically about turning good intentions into actual contact; I mean to get round to talking to people for a while, and then I persuade myself it's been too long, and this is terrible. I ought to seize the moment more. (It's related to another thing I do where I do a new hobby up until the point where I have to commit somehow, e.g. buy some kit - I commit, and then I drop it and argh, dysfunctional.) I know exactly what you mean by email being such a commitment.

I notice myself missing out due to lack of Facebook, both on some friends and on some activities (e.g. gigs). I have considered creating an account for stalking disiorganised goth bands and doing nothing else, but the real name policy means it would get dragged into other links too (e.g. I wouldn't turn my siblings down) and I'm not sure I want that.

Twitter works well for me for a general sense of feeling connected, though I find it can also depress me easily, so I try to keep it amusing/chatty/inspirational/fluffy as far as I can.

I'm always very touched when people send or (especially) make me something. I ask people to make me birthday cards for my birthday if they feel like it, and the results are all very special to me, even if they only took 10 minutes to make (plus some of them are genuinely the most awesome thing you've ever seen).

This is all a bit rambly really, I blame wine.

ETA: forgot to say, I o really like having a place like DW to write longer stuff, even if I don't get round to it as often as I like (c.f. email). I used to use Usenet but it took me *forever* to write posts as it was less of a personal space and I would find myself endlessly re-checking and hedging. Monochrome (BBS with attached diary files and subject-specific wittering places of varying seriousness, plus about all my friends at the time) was pretty much ideal for me, but is sadly zombie-Monochrome these days.
Edited Date: 2014-09-19 09:56 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-09-20 11:24 pm (UTC)
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] azurelunatic
I lost most of my people when they moved to Facebook, but that was during LJ. I really can't do Facebook. It's better now that you can unfollow the people you're still friends with but you don't need to see what they post. It's still not great.

I don't have many people who email me, so I don't really have much email guilt. I do have a backlog of DW comments!

There are some people who I direct chat with. There are some I hang out with in IRC (several channels on several servers, including work-internal).

There are a few friends I phone -- [personal profile] norabombay and I are commute buddies.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-09-22 10:40 am (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
I'm terrible at words. I read a lot of what other people say but don't often actually say things; and if people send personal correspondence I will generally manage to answer actual questions, but I'd never manage to keep up a whole friendship that way because "say some stuff about my life" is not a thing I can really do (in any format).

(no subject)

From: [personal profile] naath - Date: 2014-09-24 02:38 pm (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Date: 2014-09-28 11:00 pm (UTC)
kerrypolka: Contemporary Lois Lane with cellphone (Default)
From: [personal profile] kerrypolka
Most of the friends I don't see regularly in person, I keep up with through social media, and I tend to use social media that has a very low expectation of response. I spend more time on Twitter than probably any other (part of this is because of my job, to be fair), and Facebook is an important, if annoying, way for me to keep up with my family and some friends who aren't anywhere else. With both of them I think the expectation is to read things and possibly like-button them, but to only reply if you have something meaningful to say, which I like.

LJ is where my voluntary friends are, I suspect most of them are in their 20s-30s and came of internet age when LJ was the place for people like us. The functionality is effectively the same as Dreamwidth, and I like it for the same reasons, but Dreamwidth feels nicer: I wouldn't hesitate to follow someone interesting I don't know on DW but would feel awkward about doing so on LJ. Facebook is where my involuntary friends and family are – not totally involuntary as otherwise I just wouldn't keep up with them, but people I know from college, high school, being Progressive Young London Jews, etc – whom I met through fixed social groups.

I hardly ever use email for pure social interaction – if I email a friend it's to say "hey, here's something I thought you'd be interested in" with a response not expected, or to arrange a meet-up somewhere, ie either way the email is a tactic for achieving socialising, not the socialising itself. The exception is Ewan who I email with 4-5 times a day either to talk about household admin or to send cheery "I love you, see you tonight at home!" one-liners because it's nice to think about each other during the day. I find chat/IRC distracting and intrusive as it feels I'm expected to be constantly available and it makes me unable to focus on whatever else I'm doing.

So I think the things that work best for keeping up with friends I don't see in person often are feeds of life information/thoughts/opinions for which commenting is good but not expected. It's easy to catch up on what someone thinks are the important parts of their life by reading their feed, the equivalent of "So, what's been going on with you lately?" when you run into them at a party. It's slightly annoying that they're not all in one place/on one site, but on the other hand it's nice to have Facebook be the place where Grandma And My Boss Can See and Dreamwidth be the place for more fannish-type-posts (not that I'm really in fandom any more but it feels like a specific kind of conversation, if you know what I mean).

For me the trouble is trying to figure out where to post things that I would like to read from other people, so I'm neither spamming people or leaving things out for people who only follow me in one place. What's also annoying is that people who are likely to think about paying me money for writing always want to Read My Blog, so I sometimes post things that I'd otherwise put on DW/LJ there instead (I've been thinking about directly crossposting although I worry it would be spammy and obnoxious).

Basically like you I'm quite nostalgic for the time when everyone was on LJ, and secretly think everything would be wonderful if everyone came to DW instead which is like LJ but without most of the crap parts and with lots of much better parts.

Also my experience is likely different from yours because I live in the same city as many and possibly most of my friends (obviously this is also self-perpetuating), and I see enough friends regularly in person that I feel I'm getting a good Friend Connection Amount and don't worry about falling behind in friendships – this is probably a fallacy but it means I don't feel the need to actively keep in touch with people because it emotionally seems to me that I'm keeping up with people a lot, even if it's only with London people.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-12 09:41 pm (UTC)
cjwatson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cjwatson
I am mostly quite dreadful at keeping up with these things, and often filled with some kind of cross between guilt and impostor syndrome, probably because of the obvious confirmation bias: most of the people I see talking are good at keeping in touch with people, therefore clearly all my friends are excellent communicators and I am rubbish. Er. (This is not helped by hideous insoluble family doom closely related to my being awful at keeping in touch with people.) Of course I'm hanging a lampshade on this by commenting on this a month or so late, but I suppose that goes with the territory.

DW/LJ: Try to read at least every few days, though sometimes falls by the wayside. I love the atmosphere and thoughtfulness, though find it difficult to stay involved in conversations since it really works best for people who post a lot of conversation-starters of their own.

E-mail: A horror show; even just my "personal" inbox (i.e. not work, not other free software development) has nearly 2800 messages in it right now, so of course anything before the last page or two has basically been forgotten. I filter, file, and delete a lot of stuff, but even after filtering I get several hundred messages a day into my inboxes much of which is urgent, and I just can't do it all. I do try to reply to important things straight away because otherwise I know I'll forget, but things that are a bit more complicated or personal often end up getting deferred until a bit later and then piling up. Ugh. I envy people who can do the whole inbox zero thing but I've never made it work for me. I don't do webmail much so this is fiddly to use from my phone.

Facebook: I don't. I wasn't really into modern social networking when it started, and by the time I got into that I had seen enough awful things about it that I decided I didn't want to go there. I do somewhat regret that it's probably the only way to keep up with parts of my family reliably, though.

IRC: The only kind of IM-like thing I do, partly because I really value the chiark circle who hang out there, and partly because it's been the favoured system among certain free software groups for a long time and thus has ended up being one of the primary ways to keep in touch at work (which is vital since I work at home). Works really well for me for the most part. I wish more people used this but I'm also aware it's a rather dated-feeling system that doesn't suit everyone. Like e-mail, fiddly to use from my phone.

Twitter: One of the things I keep up with best ([twitter.com profile] colmmacuait), because it's really easy to skim through on my phone. The culture is very much one of "if it's not recent, nobody expects you to go back to look for it", which is good in that it avoids a Big Pile Of Guilt building up, but bad in that I feel I have to keep up with it all the time or else I'm likely to miss things. Still, these days this seems to work OK for me (and as a result of this comments thread I've very belatedly connected the dots and followed you back, so yay :-) ).

So, I guess not off the grid entirely, but I'm only much good at the immediate short-term kinds of media; which is odd because I feel myself to be more of a person who does longer things in batch mode. I'm very grateful to have friends who tolerate a wide range of communication habits and are happy to catch up more in person from time to time!

Thank you so much for posting this. It's been really helpful to read from lots of other people with some overlapping problems; both in terms of making it feel like I'm not the only one, and giving me some practical ideas for doing a bit better.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-10-18 02:51 pm (UTC)
ephemera: celtic knotwork style sitting fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] ephemera
I don't really handle email guilt - I just have it. My oldest friend has a totally different communication profile to me (she's primarily facebook and text *chats* on the phone, where there's a lot of immediate back and forth (like, she'll text me the same message again if I haven't replied within about an hour whereas I loathe facebook, and don't look at my mobile for hours at a time.) but I really do want to stay in regular contact - I try to remember to send her email copies of my DW posts sometimes, or send her random texts so she's not always the one instigating contact, but also: guilt. I wish DW had a good phone app, as I think that's part of the barrier to entry / regular use for a lot of people. A phone app and good photo integration would make this more of a 'regular home base' for more people, is my guess.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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