It's been nearly two weeks since I wrote my Facebook post announcing the possibility of deleting this blog, my Facebook page, and my Twitter. I was on holidays for some time now, and I did a lot of thinking. I purposely kept distance to all these three platforms by deleting my iOS apps during this time, which made it harder for me to check them. I did occasionally log in, but far less than I used to before, and it really felt good. It was great to not talk about things like São Tomé and Príncipe, or a Taiwanese high-school's epic fail going viral. It also felt really good to be away from Twitter, the platform that makes me the most negative lately. I did however miss my Facebook page a little, especially after receiving so many encouraging comments from my followers (publicly and privately). Here are some of them as a reaction to my Facebook announcement:
Jordan Vannitsen: I fully understand your point of view and your concerns. However, I do hope you will keep going with your FB page (or at least with your blog). What I personally really liked was the fact that you would post about any subject, even touchy ones. This is the real freedom of speech. I hope people will understand that what you post does not necessarily reflect your opinion (and even if it does, so what?) and that you will get some recognition as one of the Pro-Taiwan voice. You gave the opportunity to many people living in or out of Taiwan to know what is going on here and bring the light to our lovely island. Keep going!
Daryl Flamm Taiwan Explorer, it's sad that it has come to this. Honestly, I am not surprised. I say this to anyone who shares their life on SocMedia, at some point you become a target. It kills the very thing you love. Just like promoting a favorite tourist spot. We want the world to experience the same enjoyment, but in the end we kill it with overexposure. I will be sad to see you leave / close the page, but you need to do what is best for you and your family. If you are not earning money from this, it is not worth it. My alternative suggestion is, go back to writing / sharing only the things you want to share. I can personally say I do not see 30-40 posts per week from you. Limit it down to a comfortable number. People will adjust.
Best of Luck!
Judy Lin I enjoy your posts a lot on my feed. I find the articles you post are relevant for people who live in Taiwan and for overseas Taiwanese like me! I like the discussion on here even if we do disagree sometimes and I think you are always respectful to different opinions and ideas. I do understand that your well being and your family come first though. Nothing else is more important. Have a nice break and a happy new year!
Alicia Miao Hope you continue to post - I think you post quite a bit and should consider cutting back to issues/articles/topics that you really care about. I'm ok with less information if the quality of info is good/more curated. I always viewed this as your personal blog (maybe because I've been reading since before the name change), so hopefully people learn to leave you the hell alone to make your own decisions in peace.
Benjamin Hsing TE, we have had some disagreements but I believe your posts about Taiwan including your opinions have been very informative and helpful to those who are interested in what's happening in Taiwan. I hope you will continue with this page.
Marcel Sauder Fully understand you.... Think about twice.... Maybe you find a new way to continue with a less personally approach... Hope so.... I allways appreciate your work!
Carrie Kellenberger I feel the same way. Can we all just go back to blogging? I have social media fatigue and I've stopped updating a lot because it's not fun anymore. Blogging was so much fun between 2007 and 2011! People do get very jealous, they lurk, there are trolls everywhere and these people spread really vicious lies. I totally understand where you are coming from. I hope you are able to get some rest during your hiatus.
John Murn you foster important conversation here and your reach is important. respect. hope you find peace of mind or piece of mind, whichever suits you better. and i, too, hope that you will continue with the blog.
Michelle Moorman love the pulse you keep on the island. overall, your addition to my feed makes me more comfortable talking to my taiwanese relatives because your page gives me much needed context. because whether I agree with your posts or not, context is vital to understanding!
This really felt good and gave me confidence, especially because a lot of them often vigorously disagreed with me on various issues related to Taiwan. These comments did have an effect on my decision.
At the end I decided to not delete Taiwan Explorer (yet), but instead make some big changes. Since so many people appreciate what I am doing, and I invested many years into "Taiwan Explorer", I might as well keep it going a little bit longer, but correct its course. Here's what I'll try to do:
1) I will try minimize my personal Twitter activity, and mainly use my Twitter to cross-post from my Facebook page. This is something I am already doing for a while, but now this will be the main reason for continuing my Twitter account. In case something major happens related to Taiwan I might personally tweet, other than that I won't be active there. I will also delete the account from my Twitter app, and not enable any email notifications.
2) I will generally try to post less on my Facebook page, but with more depth, unless something major happens related to Taiwan (natural disasters like typhoons or Trump tweets). Unfortunately Facebook algorithms punish such approach, and my posts will most likely be less visible to people, but I'm ok with that. I'm not sure how well this works, but you can enable update notifications for my page, and set 'see first in your newsfeed' by going to my page and click on the 'Following' button:
3) I will try to blog more this year, but that often depends on my private life, and the free time I will find next to a busy job and family. I would like to blog more about Taiwan travel this year, as well as art and culture, and less about social issues and politics, but I'm not sure I will succeed in that.
4) I will stay away from instigators trying to drag me into possible controversies like so often in the past year. During my time off I realized how often I was forwarded a polarizing story with an attached opinion, which I then hastily posted, and got a lot of heat for it. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame anyone who forwarded me such story, I blame myself for not being more selective and thoughtful. Everything I post is 100% my own responsibility, but from now on I will thread carefully in this regard. I was also an instigator myself from time to time, and I do regret a few posts that were pretty off, but it is what it is now. I can only make it better in 2017.
5) I'm more and more into photography as a hobby, so I'll post more on my Instagram. To be frank, I don't like where Instagram as a platform is heading (becoming more and more a Snapchat ripoff), but I have a fairly large audience there (10k+ followers as of today), that appreciates my Taipei snaps. Part of me would like to focus on Flickr, but that platform's future seems to be bleak, or at least more uncertain than Instagram's.
I hope I will succeed in everything I set myself for 2017, and it's really a lot this time as compared to previous years. I have already started with some changes, so it looks promising. I want more time for myself, and my family, and I want my "Taiwan Explorer" hobby to be fun again. If I succeed in that, this blog will stay for some time. I wish all my readers a happy and healthy 2017. Thanks for sticking around for so many years, here's to another one. Cheers!