Seven Years On Mastodon

By admin
I remember seeing the original "A new decentralized microblogging platform" on

HackerNews
ORG

back in

October 2016
DATE

.

A few weeks later
DATE

, I joined – becoming the 7,112th user. As

the years
DATE

went on, my use of it waxed and waned. I started cross-posting to both

Mastodon
PERSON

and

Twitter
ORG

. Gradually, I started spending more time on the

Fediverse
PERSON

.

Once

Elon
PRODUCT

shat the bed on

Twitter
WORK_OF_ART

, I moved over completely. And, you know what, I don’t regret it for a

second
ORDINAL

.

I’ve found a lovely community of people. I get my parasocial fix without being inundated by cryptogrifters shilling shitcoins, nor by thought-leaders posting inflammatory takes for clout. There are no disingenuous politicians and remarkably few celebrities trying to sell me their bathwater. There’s no advertising. There’s a great API for bots. And – for now – people are generous with their time and expertise.

But, just to be contrary, let’s list some of the bad points about it.

That does mean there are fewer arseholes. But it doesn’t yet feel as magical as

Twitter
ORG

did – when you could suddenly be in a conversation with a goat farmer from the other side of the planet and a world-famous astrophysicist.

The people who are about tend to be on the techy side of things. Which does mean putting up with some annoying pedantry and plenty of "jUSt InsTaLl

LinUx
PRODUCT

aNd

delETE
ORG

facEbOoK."

Small, insular communities are fractious. A perceived insult or slight can rapidly descend into childish taunts of "well I’ll defederate you

first
ORDINAL

!"

There was drama on Twitter – and even more since

Elon
ORG

‘s full on conversion to the dark side – but because the community is smaller here, the drama feels bigger.

This is a mixed bag. Frankly,

Twitter
PERSON

should never have been a customer support channel. But businesses wanted to promote their goods and services, and customers took the opportunity to upbraid them in public. That led to all sorts of weird behaviours.

Nevertheless, I’d like to be able to see what’s going on in local politics, and transport, and

a dozen
CARDINAL

little services I used

Twitter
PRODUCT

for.

I’ve posted some thoughts on

Mastodon
ORG

search. It’s now pretty good. But the federated nature of

Mastodon
ORG

means it’ll never be as comprehensive as

Twitter
PRODUCT

.

I’ve seen plenty of waves of users over

the years
DATE

. But I think that the majority of people who wanted to leave

Twitter
PERSON

have done so.

And… I think that’s OK. I still use

Facebook
ORG

, I’m signed into

a dozen
CARDINAL

different forums, I’m not particularly loyal to anything.

The

Fediverse
PERSON

is about diversity. It would be nice if

Twitter
PRODUCT

and Threads and BlueSky all federated with each other. But I think that

Mastodon
PERSON

now has enough users to be self-sustaining. It doesn’t need to become a giant killer. It mustn’t become a de-facto monopoly.

I’m looking forward to

the next 7 years
DATE

here.