Social media has played a huge role the last few years in people’s personal lives, in politics and of course in business. More and more people are on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Youtube than ever before, but is that interaction positive. At one time people’s feeds were simply created by the people you follow, then came the algorithms and our social media feeds became not scrolling past the latest photos of our high schools friends kids or the latest news from our great aunt Bessy. Our social media feeds became what the algorithm decided what we might be interested in, except it didn’t did it. In reality our social media feeds became a stream of anger and hate and what drove the most likes and clicks and no matter what great aunt Bessy’s latest news was it could not compete with the rage machine from the algorithm.
Recently Elon Musk, took over Twitter, and it has not been going well. If you have spent anytime on Twitter in the last week you have probably noticed an increase in troll and fake name accounts tweeting hate and generally just being jerks. Then there is the fact that Mr. Musk decided to fire a large number of employees.
With the apparent collapse of Twitter being imminent another social network / microblogging service has arisen with a wave of Twitter refugees, Mastodon. Mastodon has become the new social network of all those wanting to have a backup social media account or in some small way to flip to bird off to Elon Musk. Mastodon is by no means new, according to Wikipedia it has been around since 2016 but this new wave of sign ups has certainly brought new light to the service and what is has to offer.
Let me be upfront, Mastodon is not Twitter. It has many similarities but it is missing much of the rage farming and hate that Twitter has, hopefully it can stay that way. Mastodon is also not Twitter in many other ways:
- It is open source. Want to look at the code that runs it, go for it.
- Mastodon is not one site, it is many sites that talk to each other. You create an account on an instance and can follow anyone on any other instance.
- Because Mastodon is open source, you have choice in how you access the system. You can use the official apps or sites or you can try other apps what ever device you like.
- Your feed is not an algorithm! Your feed is made up from the people you follow. You can also check the feed for all the people that have accounts on your instance and the feed for the entire Fediverse, what they call the entire network.
- The instance you decide to make an account on is managed and run by someone that is most likely donating their own time and money to running that instance.
- Many instances are growing quickly so you might want to be patient as they grow and get up to speed with the new influx of users.
If you want to give Mastodon a try the hardest part is finding an instance to start on. Don’t worry if you want to change to a different instance later, you can. Personally being a Canadian I went looking for an instance that was in Canada and I was happy to find mstdn.ca. My reasons were mainly to look for an instance that was closer to me than being on the other side of the world. The side benefit is I liked the rules of mstdn.ca.
If you are a Twitter user and are tired of being a pawn of another billionaire I encourage you to give Mastodon a try.
BTW: Thanks to PermaClipart for the Mastodon logo image.