My connection and use of social media have changed a lot over the years. I guess there is still a highly broken page at that was my first foray into social media. The experience I first had playing with MySpace and adding my own HTML codes led me down the path of creating a blog first, and then my website. Even when it is neglected for a while (like mine has been without new posts for months), I consider my home on the internet to be my own domain name. My website has gone through a number of iterations over the years1.

Facebook (or Meta) is the largest social network in the world. I am still on Facebook, but I don’t look at it much. I used to post all of the time there. Most of the time I was in college, I had everything open and public. I have since locked down and made my social media more private. When traveling as a young adult, I created and shared public albums of all the photos I got from my trips. My reasons for leaving (well… more accurately described as not paying attention) are complicated and interconnected. I think, for the most part, I am just disillusioned with Facebook, and the poor ethical decisions they have made as an organization. I find the need to present a “perfect life” or something that is kind of fake to be draining. Even their focus and need for increased access to my attention and the use of ad revenue is something that I find very off-putting. I think that need for my constant attention really moved me away from Facebook. Years ago, I was getting notifications for all kinds of things that were not directly related to me (e.g., someone shared a photo, a group posted an event you might be interested in, etc. I ended up completely turning off notifications for Facebook. Over the years, I’ve stopped looking there as often, and because I do not post there much I don’t get much shared to me. It has slowly gone away, although I still log on sometimes. I think more often than my logging in, my wife will steal my phone to peruse my feed for some new content… because she has grown bored of everything in her feed.

This not being as engaged in Facebook is true for most of the social media I’m on. I still have a great number of platforms I’ve signed up for over the years, my contact page has a good list of them, but most of them are anything that I access or look at frequently. It might be fitting that I’m listening to Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention–and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari which I am enjoying so far.

The social media I have been using mostly these days includes TikTok - @campjacob1982 (where I spent too much time lost in their algorithm. I have posted videos a couple of times as well), SnapChat - @campjacob1982 (where I am most likely to post photos of my family or daily activities), and Twitter - @campjacob (where I have been able to post random thoughts or connect with technologist or academics that I find interesting). This last one is the most recent major change I am making to my social media consumption.

Even if you aren’t on Twitter, you probably have heard about everything happening since the service was recently purchased by a majorly problematic billionaire… In some ways, I think there could be a moral argument made for people to need to move away from twitter, but I’m not one for moralizing. I’m not even sure yet if I will fully move away from Twitter… but I would like to. As a kind of replacement for Twitter, I have been using Mastodon for the last couple of weeks and have been enjoying it. You can find me at

While Mastodon is growing fast right now, and there is a #TwitterMigration, it does not have nearly everybody that Twitter does. Some of the interesting people I listen to on podcasts and follow in the Apple community have all moved, so I’ve been able to engage that way. I have not been able to find or follow as many social workers. Over the last several years on Twitter, it has been a good experience watching and connecting with various scholars on Twiter. The other day I came across a post by @robkitchin sharing about

This project on GitHub is fantastic. It has so many different groups of academics from many different disciplines. Mastodon does seem like it is going to be somewhere I can follow and engage with some great minds, but on this list I was sad to see that there was nothing related to social work. Of course sociology and psychology have spaces already developed and set up, but nothing I could find for social work. After commenting on this and getting feedback encouraging me to add it myself (as it is an open project), I figured it was time to learn how to make a pull request and do just that. I’ve been using GitHub frequently for my classes (and at some point, I will write a post about using version control for my lecture notes, but that is an entirely different topic), but I haven never used it to collaborate on somebody else’s project. When you go through the assorted lists of many of the academic disciplines, most of them are just Google Spreadsheets. I made my own for social workers to be able to share their contact information (you can see Social Workers on Mastodon) along with a form for people to add their usernames and info.

Planning what potential data I wanted to ask social workers to provide and creating the form is what took the longest for me to develop. The actual pull request was so much easier than I expected. You can see Addition of Social Work as a discipline # 99, which only changes two lines of the document. At the time I am writing this, it hasn’t been merged into the main project branch, but I am assuming it will be.

It was while I was making the form, that I took the opportunity to play around with some of the most interesting technology I have ever made use of. Anybody who knows me, knows that I tend to go a bit overboard and be extremely detail-oriented for the tasks that I choose to take on. I believe that those special details that I sometimes put too much time and effort into make a disproportionate difference. As I was putting together the form, I ended up playing with ChatGPT. In the last week or so, my For You page on TikTok has been completely taken over by people talking about this Artificial intelligence (AI) project, and now I can see why. I found myself browsing the NASW List of Practices… but I don’t really like how they organize the list of practices they provide (I’m not saying that it doesn’t include good information). While I was doing this, it occurred to me ask the AI chatbot what are areas of practice for social workers. I wondered to myself if I would get anything useful, and I was surprised at just how useful it really was.

While I could have used the categories listed by the NASW’s website or even made my own list, the list that was created by the ChatGPT was really good and included the following:

  • Child and family welfare
  • Mental health
  • Aging and gerontology
  • School social work
  • Health care
  • Military and veteran services
  • Criminal justice
  • Community organizing and development
  • Disaster relief and emergency management

I added a couple more to the list

  • Social work education
  • Administration and/or supervision

While these is all things that I could do other ways, I found it so freeing to have the ChatGPT share this list in seconds. I had to use my own expertise to identify if the list was accurate and what might need to be added, changed, or removed. This question and the next several that I will talk about really demonstrate how something like ChatGPT is really the next level of humans having information at our fingertips.

In creating my form, I have inputs to accept both a Mastodon Username and a Twitter Username. I decided I wanted to validate the responses using Regular Expressions. This improves the reliability of the form I am using, so people have to put in a valid username. I have used regular expressions, but they are complex and hard to understand. I feel lost any time I try to do anything with them. I decided to ask the ChatGPT:

Create a regular expression to match the text of a Mastodon username, where it looks to match text in the format “”

The chat bot gave me a usable regular expression, ^@[\w.-]+@[\w.-]+\.[a-z]{2,}$. The code provided functions to validate the usernames anybody inputs to my form. After making my request, within seconds, it provided me with a description of my question, the code above, a description of what the code was doing, and examples of matches and non-matches that I could test against. It took seconds to get something that worked. ChatGPT even used my prior questions related to social work, and added one of the positive matching usernames it provided as text that would match to be "". I could have muddled my way through creating a regular expression similar to what ChatGPT provided me, but it would probably take 30 minutes and might have resulted in me losing some of my hair.

One of the problems with using ChatGPT for this type of purpose is I have no idea if this is a good way to match my particular text. It looks good to me. I went through and tested it and tried to break it… and it works well. But I have no idea if there is a better regular expression that I could use, maybe something that isn’t quite so long or there might be edge cases I didn’t account for. I used it a second time to create a regular expression for validating a Twitter handle, ^@[\w.-]+$, and again is seems to work really well.

Artificial intelligence, like ChatGPT, will change how we work and access knowledge. This is the same refrain I have been hearing from everybody who is talking about this right now. I’m not sure what the end result is going to be or what all of the problems that will arise out of this technology, but it does really feel next level. It is also something I’m here for, to see how this goes and how it can be used. There is just a need to determine the ethics and uses of such a powerful tool.

  1. The posts I listed are a few of the major behind-the-scenes changes I made to my website and its underlying technology. I have probably spent too many hours editing and changing my website, and I don’t always write about it. I don’t even have a post that I wrote about my transition to Jekyll that happened a couple of years ago.