I’ve always been uncomfortable with ad-driven social media, and left Facebook earlier this year, so the recent debacle with Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter led me to look for alternatives. I wasn’t very active on the bird site, but I did enjoy having a way of connecting with other bookish types, so I wondered if there was another option.
My search led me to Mastodon, a decentralized platform that at first looked terribly confusing, but proved to be not so difficult after all. I’m on there as @firstname.lastname@example.org.
So far I am enjoying it quite a bit, I like the interface and I’m connecting with some new folks and finding ways to communicate — I have to get used to using hashtags, which is the way you find anything on Mastodon.
Members choose an “instance” (that’s the second half of the profile name) to base themselves, but can communicate with and follow anybody from any instance. I didn’t spend much time choosing an instance, just going with one that seemed to represent my bookish interests, but there are many choices and which one may be of some importance especially if you have a particular special interest. One instance called histodons seems to have become quite popular for historians, for example. It is possible to change — I already migrated once — but keep in mind that though you’ll keep your followers, you’ll have to re-follow people yourself, and will lose all your messages and content from the former instance. Maybe there is some way to fix this, but I have not looked into that.
I just love that there are no ads and no one mining my data for advertising. To me, this is what social media should be — by and for the users, not people trying to make money off of us.
However, if you’re still using the bird, I hope it goes well for you! I don’t think Twitter will actually go away, it’s too useful to too many people, and ad-funded social media will surely remain the most powerful because the advertisers have a vested interest in making it work.
Are you using Mastodon, or are you thinking about it? Be sure to share your handle with me so I can follow you!