I took the first half of this year off from the site for a number of reasons. Work was just a bit too hectic to sit down and organise my thoughts into a post, and secondly I wanted to use what free time I did have to stockpile posts so that I had a safety buffer for publishing later on. It was during that period that I decided to reassess my online footprint; hopping around my various online accounts, deleting ones I didn’t use, tidying up the ones I did. And then I came to my social media accounts: Twitter and Mastodon.
I have a contentious relationship with social media to say the least. Every few months I hover over the ‘Delete this account’ button debating whether it’s worth it or not. I’d dabbled with trying to engage more with each platform but largely never felt like anything came of it. I liked the micro-blogging format of Twitter but the recent frankly bizarre paid features and increasingly forceful pushes to algorithmic curation, which I’ve spoken out against before, that just continually served up content I had no interest in, didn’t really help persuade me back.
Putting Twitter on the back burner for now at least, I turned to Mastodon, the open source alternative that I’d joined a few years back. I’d been enthusiastic about the platform early on but had largely stopped using it, going several months without visiting. Nevertheless, I logged back in to see how things were.
What I was not prepared for was finding that in the time I’d been away, an official iOS app had launched, Mastodon itself became a registered non-profit, and an official Android app launched not too long ago.
It was this surge in output that prompted me to give Mastodon a second go. I’d removed all the accounts I was following previously but set out to find new users. I was concerned that I’d only find dead accounts and bots that people had forgot to shut down but honestly things seem to thriving. Not just on the main mastodon.social instance but across the entire Fediverse. Merveilles.town is brimming with art of every kind. Scholar.social is bringing in academics from a whole host of different disciplines. Even the European Union is getting involved with a host of official accounts appearing.
The future for Mastodon looks bright with a growing user base and official apps now here. The decentralisation of communities also offers what I think is a way to fend off an Eternal September scenario that seemed to befall the likes of Reddit and Hacker News. By centering instances around a certain topic or niche, it naturally creates an environment more akin to friends sitting around a campfire than a contentious TV debate.
Whether you’ve been on Mastodon for a while or are jumping back in, why not consider giving me a follow @email@example.com.
View a plain text version of this post.