So there has been a lot of stir on Twitter after Elon Musk made an offer to acquire Twitter and take it private, and then he said he would fight censorship and protect free speech –in reference to Twitter’s moderation policies–.
Musk is a very divisive character, to put it mildly. So obviously, some users are unhappy with the situation and decided to move to Mastodon, which is an open source software for federated micro-blogging.
I’m not one of those, suddenly unhappy, because I could say honestly that I am always unhappy. I used identi.ca back in 2008, as it better aligned with my personal philosophy regarding software and freedom, but also because back then Twitter was a dumpster fire technically speaking –does anybody remember the fail whale?–.
The good thing about all this is that I decided to try Mastodon again. I tried it by the time I started this blog, but at that point I decided I didn’t want a replacement for Twitter. It was more that I didn’t want Twitter, or micro-blogging at all. So I went back to blogging and reduced my use of Twitter, acknowledging that it was still useful to promote my games.
Are things different now? Perhaps not that much, but I see Mastodon like a gateway to a community aspect that gets diluted on Twitter with big brands, outrage and news, all trying to get your attention and into the doom-scrolling that I’ve been avoiding since I reduced my Twitter usage.
Yes, the user interface is different. Some bits are still not there –the official Android app can’t take pictures, only upload them!–, and the federation makes other parts awkward –can’t see a user’s followers because they are on a different instance, or following a user from other instance if you are in your instance is one click but much more complicated if it happens in their instance–. But all that is fine, because it is open source, an that’s something Twitter can’t compete with.
I know that most of the angry people leaving Twitter don’t care about the same things I do. I don’t expect that the average user will suddenly understand why open source is good; those are the ones that complain about the user interface being different, and it is likely they won’t stay around. I have the feeling that it is always the same: rants and moans –on Twitter!–, for things to always stay the same.
Anyway, let’s see how this goes for me.
One of the trickiest things about a federated service, like in the case of XMPP –aka Jabber–, is that you need to choose an instance. I have an account on the SDF instance. I decided to go there for two reasons: I got a shell account with them –and also in ctrl-c.club; which is a story for a different post!–, and they started hosting StatusNet (aka identi.ca) back in 2010 before moving to Mastodon in 2017; so looks like they are trustworthy and likely to stick around for a while.
In case you want to connect on Mastodon, you can find me at: @email@example.com –yes, it is me: in the about there’s a link back to my about me page in this blog; careful with that: be sure the person you follow is who you think it is!–.