Find me on Mastodon

Find me on Mastodon

If you’re curious about ditching Facebook or Twitter because of…all the reasons…but still want to use social media to keep in touch with people, share online conversations and learn new things, but you’re overwhelmed by all the choices, let me make it easy: sign up with Mastodon.

 

Why? It’s noncommercial, transparent, you own your data, you can switch to any other community in the Federation and take all your data, friends, etc. with you, it’s based on open source software, it’s user-run and supported. User supported means there are no ads, no surveillance and no data mining.

 

Also, by now, many of your friends are probably there. The more people who start using the site, the easier it is for others to follow you there. 

 

The one stumbling block for most people is that to sign up, you have to pick a “server” or “instance” to sign up with. I hate that jargon because it’s confusing. Think of an “instance” as simply an “online community”, which is what it is! And there are a lot of them! If you have a particular niche you use social media for, like gaming, science, journalism or sports, do a search for the Mastodon communities focused on that and join. You can always move to a different community/instance later.

 

Wondering how to pick a server or find one right for you? Check out this site for ideas: https://fedi.garden/

https://fedi.tips/ has lots of easy to understand explanations of how Mastodon and the Fediverse in general work. (Hint: it’s really not complicated.)

 

Otherwise, there might be a general, regional-based community that you can join. I’m on sfba.social, which is based in the S.F. Bay Area. Lots of my more radical friends seem to like https://kolektiva.social/explore but I have no opinion either way. The fun thing is that all the servers/instances/online communities can interact as if it were one single site (well…sort of, but that’s getting way off in the weeds for now). 

 

What I find most interesting about Mastodon is that because of its underlying architecture (open source, noncommercial, federated communities, etc.) it has very different incentive structures built in to it and different affordances (opportunities and barriers for different kinds of interactions) and significant unrealized potential. This makes it inherently different than the centralized, ad-funded, techbro-run, surveillance capitalism-based social networking sites we’ve gotten used to and that have now become so problematic.

 

I’m personally very excited about Mastodon and the Fediverse — i.e. the federation of all the various online communities based on the same open source software and protocols. It’s like going back to the more utopian days of the early internet and taking a different path, the one that should have been taken in the first place.