Decluttering my digital life

Decluttering my digital life

by | 8 min read
Originally posted on newsletter.alexhyett.com
Published:

My goal for this newsletter, my YouTube channel and my website is to teach people about software engineering and tech in general. Popular opinion seems to say that I need to be on every single platform to have the highest reach.

As an introvert, however, I find being “social” quite tiring. I am not particularly outgoing and trying to keep up with all these different platforms is exhausting.

I do my best to answer every comment on my YouTube channel as most of the time they are either positive comments or people asking for help. However, trying to do this across multiple platforms just splits my attention and takes me away from actually creating content that can help people.

Currently, I have a presence at least in some form on the following platforms:

Ever since Elon Musk bought Twitter it has been going downhill. To be honest I was a bit late to the game on Twitter and I have never managed to gain much of a following there. Due to the way the algorithms work and the fact I am not willing to pay for Twitter Blue my posts never get much reach.

Most of the other platforms aren’t much better unfortunately with the algorithms mostly favouring large accounts while completely ignoring those with smaller followings.

I think the one exception to this is YouTube. As I am writing this, I have 8,100 subscribers on YouTube and still get over 2,000 views a day despite not being able to post any content for the past month. The algorithm does seem to favour good-quality content and the content is long lived.

The great social media cull

So with that said I am cutting down my social platforms to the following 4:

  • YouTube (@alexhyettdev) - growth is continuing and I will be posting more videos here once my kids go back to school :).
  • Mastodon (@alex@alexhyett.com) - I decided to self-host my own instance via Masto.host. Support has been good but it is a little slow on the $6/month plan.
  • Dev.to (@alexhyettdev) - I have managed to gain 3,200 followers on Dev.to and most of my posts get at least 100 views and sometimes a lot more.
  • LinkedIn - This is my professional network which is mostly developers but I have a few other people on there as well. I do occasionally share my posts if I think they are at the right level for those I have worked with.

On most of the others, I have either put a notice that I have moved to Mastodon or I will just quietly abandon them. I would delete them but I don’t want anyone else to use my old handle to impersonate me.

I particularly like Mastodon as I own my own server. I am not at the whim of some CEO dictator and I can move my account around and keep my followers without any issues.

If you are not on Mastodon I would encourage you to join me. There are a lot of developers on there already as many have already abandoned Twitter.

Don’t know where to start? There is a good guide here: Guide to Mastodon

You can follow me at @alex@alexhyett.com and you can see who I am following if you want some developers to follow.

A look at the numbers and potential impact

As a developer turned entrepreneur/creator surely abandoning social media is going to hurt my reach?

Well as it turns out the numbers say otherwise. Let’s have a look at the top platforms I am on.

TikTok

Out of all the platforms I am dropping, TikTok has the largest following and the most reach:

  • Followers: 4,620
  • Likes: 22.2k
  • Views: 309,201!!!!

On paper, these look like good numbers. So how many people have visited my website from TikTok …drumroll…

2

That’s not 200 or 2,000, just 2 people have clicked on the link in my bio.

On the YouTube side, I have either had no one subscribe from TikTok or it just doesn’t show me the details. Either way, I am not worried.

That’s the problem with platforms that only allow a link in the bio. They don’t encourage people to leave their platform.

Instagram

I used to post a lot of desk photos on Instagram and because of that I still have around 1,500 followers on there. I would get the odd comment and a few hundred views per post but nothing major.

Over the last year, Instagram has driven 87 people to my website and very few if any subscribers.

X / Twitter

I am quite glad to leave Twitter with everything that was happening. To be honest, when Elon laid off the majority of the engineering team and made life miserable for the rest, it wasn’t a platform I wanted to be a part of.

I only have 400-odd followers on Twitter and most of my posts only get around 50 impressions with very little engagement.

Therefore it is not surprising that I have only had 71 people visit my website and 24 video views on YouTube.

Medium & Hashnode

For a while now I have been cross-posting my newsletter to Medium, Hashnode and Dev.to with a canonical link back to the original source.

Over the last year, I have had only 727 visitors to my Hashnode blog and gained 100 followers. Only 58 of those visited my main website.

Medium hasn’t been much better. I have gained 200 followers but averaging less than 100 views a month.

Dev.to on the other hand does seem to be driving people to my newsletter (16 subscribers), website (267 visitors) and YouTube channel (217 views).

I can see from my Dev.to analytics that I am currently getting around 1,635 readers and 480 new followers a month. I now have over 3,000 followers on the platform.

Overall I am hoping that focussing on a select few main channels will help me focus and give me a bit more time to help everyone.


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Nice reply from Obsidian CEO This is the kind of attitude I can get behind. +1 for Obsidian.

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Every month I outline how much money I make from my content creator side hustle for all my paid subscribers. The full breakdown is at the bottom of the newsletter.


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