Friday, December 23, 2022

Being Social

Now that Twitter has been purchased by a billionaire so he can throw tantrums as people make fun of him, I've been exploring Mastodon.

(Or, I guess, technically the Fediverse. Basically, I'm too old to give a crap about the difference between them, but I think Mastodon is a part of the Fediverse. If you feel the need to explain the difference in the comments, I swear I will drive to your house and burn it down. But I'm a good person, so I'll evacuate the pets first.)

Anyhow, Mastodon is like Twitter in many ways — you can post short things and follow people. But it's unlike Twitter in that it's made up of a zillion independently owned and operated servers that talk to each other. So instead of just going to Twitter and creating an account, you find a Mastodon server that seems like a good fit and request an account on that server.

Servers are often geared toward specific interests — writers, gamers, lawyers, journalists, etc. Since you can follow anyone on any server, as far as I can tell the server you choose only matters in two cases:
  1. You can view a feed of all the posts on your local server, so you might want a server that caters to your specific interests so you can easily meet other people who are into that thing. 

  2. Servers can get blocked by other servers. This is the equivalent of shunning someone until they get their act together.
And if you decide you joined the wrong server, you can migrate to a different one.

In addition to following specific people, you can also follow hashtags. For example, #DuvetKnowItsChristmas is a collection of pictures from people forced to stay in odd places while visiting for the holidays. Stuck in your childhood racing car bed as a thirty-year-old? Post a picture with #DuvetKnowItsChristmas in the text and everyone following the tag will see it. Apparently this hashtag has existed on Twitter for years, but I never saw it, so let's all pretend this is a new thing, 'kay?

Obligatory Photo

We don't really get snow here, but we do get a nice mixture of browns in our foliage.

(This picture would look better if I had a macro lens, or even some way to affect the focus on my phone. Didn't that used to be a thing?)


Richard Crawford said...

We've got lots of brown in our area too.

I'm on Mastodon as well (, though I really haven't done anything with it yet). It's interesting, but I'm having trouble investing in it at all. I spent fifteen years building up a presence and followers and followings on Twitter, and doing it all over again seems painful. I'm not sure I'm into the effort.

Fun fact: Gab, the right-wing shitflingfest, apparently is a Mastodon instance that has been blocked by every other instance because of its tendency to fling shit. I don't know the specifics or the technology of this, but I find it amusing.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

I just heard that about Gab today. A social media site where I never have to hear about tfg is a good site.

Route 8 said...

Thanks for the explanation. I don't tweet but have a Twitter account to follow a handful of people. I looked at Mastodon when people began fleeing Twitter but decided I didn't want to spend the time figuring it out.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

I've mostly managed to replicate the good parts of Twitter on Mastodon. The only thing I miss is the location-specific emergency info. If there was an earthquake or a big fire somewhere near me, I almost always heard about it on Twitter through the trending topics.