(June 10, 2023 Update: Twitter notified me that I had made my account three years ago. This reminded me that I had written an article when I made the account. I made some minor edits to this article. First, I fixed the header hierarchy. Second, I changed references from our original Twitter handle, @leaf_journal, to our current (and better) Twitter handle, @newleafjournal. I wrote about changing our Twitter handle in 2020. Look for updates in the article.)

(Editors Note for June 18, 2020: This post makes reference to our Flipboard account. As of June 18, 2020, we no longer have a Flipboard account.)

As of the evening of June 8, 2020, The New Leaf Journal is on Twitter at @leaf_journal (update: now @newleafjournal).  I will manage the Twitter account while Victor runs our Facebook page (update: generally not maintained, but it still exists).

The New Leaf Journal Twitter account.
The New Leaf Journal wades into troubled waters.

I was reluctant to create a Twitter account for The New Leaf Journal for a variety of reasons.  Twitter is, of course, one of America’s foremost cesspools of debauchery.  It is a public forum curated by self-important weirdos in Silicon Valley for the purpose of keeping people in the forum as long as possible. Twitter’s censorship policies are erratic, its sycophancy toward China matches Google’s, and its effect on public discourse is not the best.

Because (not in spite of) of its myriad faults, Twitter has a substantial user-base.  Between that and the ease of sharing content on Twitter and its substantial user-base, it makes sense as part of our broader strategy to take advantage of Twitter  to draw users to our content.

Below, I will examine an interesting interview concerning social media marketing followed by an explanation of what you can expect to find @leaf_journal on Twitter.

Jason Whitlock on Using Social Media

I recently read an interesting interview with Jason Whitlock, a sports commentator, at Outkick the Coverage.  Mr. Whitlock recently opted to leave his position at Fox Sports 1 to work on his own projects.  In the interview, Bobby Burack of Outkick asked Mr. Whitlock whether it is possible for someone to break out without any social media presence.  Mr. Whitlock responded as follows:

I think social media is a necessary evil.  It’s a great way to push out content.  But that’s social media’s sole value.  Everything else about social media is suspect and counter-productive.  The problem for most people, including yours truly, is we lack the discipline to only push out content.  We get sucked into the dopamine high of likes, retweets, and replies.  We think we’re smarter than the algorithms.  We’re not.  You can’t make it without social media.  Use it to promote content.

Jason Whitlock

On Jason Whitlock’s Analysis

Mr. Whitlock’s analysis is incisive.  There are two reasons, in my view, that social media is a “necessary evil” for many projects.  The first is that many people use social media as a primary internet portal.  The second is that it is difficult to generate organic search traffic for a new website, especially one without funding and a clear niche.  Social media can, in fact, aid a website in gradually obtaining better rankings with search engines.

Lurking in Mr. Whitlock’s analysis is a point I made earlier.  Social media platforms exist to perpetuate themselves.  Twitter, for example, wants users to stay on Twitter.  While Twitter can be used effectively to promote non-Twitter projects, everything about Twitter’s design is intended to keep people on Twitter.  Engaging in lengthy Twitter exchanges and scavenging for likes does far more for Twitter’s bottom line than it does for anything situated outside of Twitter. 

I will take Mr. Whitlock’s word for it regarding the temptation to be sucked into the social media vortex.  Mr. Whitlock has a larger-than-life personality and a penchant for finding smart and controversial angles to tackle stories.  It is no surprise, perhaps, that he enjoys the give-and-take of social media (perhaps too much sometimes, as he admits).   I will be more than satisfied  if The New Leaf Journal obtains anywhere near the readership that Mr. Whitlock can command.  No Twitter sparring needed.

No Temptation Here

As Victor alluded to in a recent article, I do not use social media in a personal capacity.  I currently run our Twitter, Pinterest, and Flipboard (update: no longer exists) accounts on behalf of The New Leaf Journal.  While I do have a Goodreads account, it only exists to remind me that I am not reading enough.  If YouTube counts, I have an old account.  I declined Victor’s entreaties to join Facebook for New Leaf Journal purposes precisely because it would require me to make a personal account.  (Not that I am needed on Facebook in any case, Victor is doing a very fine job.)

The New Leaf Journal Twitter Questions and Answers

Below, I will pose and answer some questions about The New Leaf Journal Twitter account and overall social media presence.

Why is your Twitter account @leaf_journal instead of something with more of the site name?

It seems that when I was creating our account, I mistakenly thought that the “name” was our account nickname and not our Twitter handle. Twitter turned “The New Leaf Journal” into “leaf_journal.” By the time I noticed, the dye had been cast, the Rubicon crossed. It is too late to turn back. We march on to Rome.

Will you use hashtags?

I am not, and have never been, a member of the Communist Party. Our account shall not use hashtags (update: I use hashtags on Twitter because it is the only way that 12 people will see posts there instead of 10). I will strive to keep it in line with the heroic values of the last Roman Emperor, Constantine XI. Would he have used hashtags? I think not.

#Hashtag digression?

With that aside, allow me a digression. Have a look at our Flipboard magazine (update: you can’t look because it does not exist). Notice that some of our posts have hashtags. I did not choose any of them. I do not understand how Flipboard chooses them.

For my recent article on an immigration legal issue regarding an alien from Hong Kong, Flipboard assigned the post #Hong Kong. Close enough there. But for my “The Trees Leaf in May” article, how did it come up with #Palm Desert, CA? I have never once referenced Palm Desert on this site. I do not know where Palm Desert is, other than that it is apparently in California. If anyone looks for Palm Desert news on Flipboard, he or she will be very disappointed.

What will you tweet?

It goes without saying that our Twitter account will focus on twittering our content. However, I know that merely posting links to our content might not be terribly interesting to people who might decide to follow us to see what we have to offer. For that reason, I will try to make the tweets a little bit more interesting.

For example, the first article I twittered was Victor’s excellent post on Bob Dylan’s new album announcement. As you can see, I appended the link to Victor’s post on a re-tweet of the Mr. Dylan’s tweet, and then threaded additional tweets with two of Victor’s quotes. For the most part, I will always add a little something to our article posts, be it another tweet or quotes from or comments on the post, to make it more interesting and amenable to being shared. I may also occasionally re-tweet something or post site news without a particular article.

Will you do anything besides tweet articles?

I am having The New Leaf Journal follow other accounts that I find relevant for one reason or another, and that will not pollute the timeline every time I log in. I also favorite other twitters, either as a way of bookmarking for later use or of actually indicating that I like the post. I am responsible for all the accounts decisions, unless otherwise noted.

(Update: I barely Tweet articles, so no.)

Will you interact with your millions of Twitter followers?

I am not going out of my way to interact with people on Twitter. You need not worry about getting strange messages in the dead of night from The New Leaf Journal. However, I may reply to comments I see on our posts, especially if you ask a nice question or offer interesting feedback. Twitter also allows for direct messages, although I do not really know how it works.

Commenting on posts is probably the best way to get my attention, but I will look at any interactions I see when I log on. Please note that I do not have Twitter on my beloved Blackberry Classic and I do not access it from my phone at all. For that reason, I will be unlikely to respond to any feedback or questions right away. I am working on implementing new ways for people to get in touch with us from The New Leaf Journal itself.

(Update: We barely receive Twitter interactions, so this is generally a non-issue. However, if I happen to notice your comment, I will probably respond. Twitter did facilitate one important New Leaf Journal development through DM that I missed for about a year.)

I’m following you. What do you want from me?

The primary reason I have made the Twitter account is for people to follow links from Twitter to our site. If you are a Twitter addict of the kind Mr. Whitlock described, we are here to help. Turn over a new leaf and instead spend that time with The New Leaf Journal. With that being said, Twitter engagement from users would help more people find our content.

If you enjoy a particular item of content that we post, we would very much appreciate it if you give it a like and/or share with your own followers. Remember that you can also share our content by clicking the Twitter share button underneath our individual posts (update: you cannot do this because we no longer have share buttons, at least as of June 10, 2023). Of course, as I stated in my social media sharing post, The New Leaf Journal is only looking for charity in its “kindness” definition. Our focus is on producing content that you might enjoy enough to genuinely “like” or share with others.

Will you expand your social media presence?

We are always looking for ways to reach new readers for The New Leaf Journal. For that reason, we may add more social media platforms to our toolbox in the future. I will update the website with more information whenever we add a new way to follow The New Leaf Journal.

(Update: We did in fact expand our social media presence.)

Parting Thoughts

That about wraps up my introduction to The New Leaf Journal Twitter.  If you use Twitter and enjoy our content, please consider following us.  If you do not use Twitter, do not start on our account.  The same principles apply for our accounts on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, and Medium (update: our Medium is largely dead but unlike Flipboard, it still exists).