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Thu Nov 24, 2022, 01:36 AM

I Tried to Use Mastodon But Wrote This Article Instead

https://www.cracked.com/article_36071_i-tried-to-use-mastodon-but-wrote-this-article-instead.html

For the deeply and clinically online such as myself, there’s a mixture of schadenfreude and anxiety involved in watching 51-year-old self described memelord and DJ Elon Musk’s “Twitter 2.0” implode. Though it’s well known that every successful company is run on nootropic-fueled 2 AM email ultimatums and vague insistences on employees being “hardcore,” somehow, Twitter still seems to be in dire straits. It’s a bit like watching someone desperately bail water out of a boat immediately after firing the guy with the bucket. Still, though, even as asshole Icarus’ wings melt, the people of the internet will still need a place to shitpost. And so, other platforms have stepped up in a grand mating display.

One of the forerunners, most often touted by the more tech-forward, is that of Mastodon. If you’re unfamiliar with Mastodon, which has actually been around for a while, it’s a decentralized, open-source social media platform that relies on user-owned and operated servers. If that sentence is absolute fucking gibberish to you, then you are also beginning to see the problem. See, the thing is, Mastodon is a good idea. As a non-fan of large corporations owning my personal information and a casual paranoia haver, decentralized (meaning there is no overarching company or corporation that controls or owns any content within) social media seems like a great solution to provide actual unfettered discourse. Think of it as the online community bulletin board in the public space (I refuse to say town square) that Twitter liked to paint itself as. Except without a guy who owns the bulletin board moving some posters on top of others, pulling others off the board, and also taking extensive notes on everyone who posts on the bulletin board to sell to advertising agencies.

Unfortunately, without a corporation on top, there also isn’t a desperate need for a quick, painless sign-up process in order to harvest as many users and their personal data as possible. Signing up for Mastodon is, despite what software engineers on Twitter will try to tell you, a painful chore. Sure, there’s explainers and walkthrough guides to help you through the process, but the fact that they need to exist at all is the problem. If you’re writing a “quick-start guide” for your social platform, consider the fact that maybe you should just make the start… quicker. Signing up for a social media site shouldn’t feel like I’m still stuck in the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time. See, when you sign up, you just have to choose what server you want to be on! Don’t worry, there’s a billion! Also, it seems really important which you choose, but it actually isn’t! It’s simple!

As someone who’s spent a decent portion of my life in obnoxious computer nerd circles, Mastodon is sending serious Linux vibes. In that, my reaction to people using it is: good for you, you seem to really like it. It smells of the work of software engineers who scoff at the idea that maybe, just maybe, their work should be just the slightest bit dumbed down. You can tell me all you want that Mastodon is simple and the difficulty is overblown, and I will just point you to a thread called “An increasingly less-brief introduction to Mastodon” by user joyeusenoelle on GitHub. This sums up the entire issue, to me. It’s someone setting out to make a brief introduction, only to end up with a 3200-word, heavily sub-headed, forever hungry monstrosity. And this is on fucking GITHUB, a site that is FOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS. You think someone is successfully explaining this shit to Cher? Bless your heart.

************************************************************************************

This article said what I was thinking.

15 replies, 1423 views

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 01:44 AM

1. My thoughts as well.

If signing up is more difficult than entering an email and password and choosing a username, its gonna be too difficult for most folks to bother.

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Response to temporary311 (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 01:58 AM

2. I didn't find it particularly difficult...

The only extra step was choosing a server, but, the fact is, you can practically pick any one, and your experience will be identical.

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Response to temporary311 (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 26, 2022, 03:15 PM

15. It took me a bit, and I also bounced off it at first.

But now that I'm on, I've found that after the short while it takes to learn your browsing preferences by the people you follow and things you favorite, but now it's literally the social stream I want as opposed to the Twitter version I previously accepted.

One thing to be aware of is your "server" is the Mastodon instance you sign up for that connects to everything else and there are hundreds of them. It's like joining an ISP to see the wider internet; some are huge and some are smaller and more exclusive. Some of my friends from another site signed up for some of the big ones like mastodon.social that pretty much let everyone in, but they find because of that open-door policy that the riff-raff who stir up trouble and aren't locally moderated on the server end up getting their server is blocked by other more discriminating sections of Mastodon and their users. Many of them end up moving their accounts to smaller servers where you have a local admin who moderates their own populace and ensures they behave - specifically so their server won't banned by other community sections of Mastodon. Behavior is key. The servers that get bannd kind of split off and form their own cloud of servers who like shitposting and random stuff.

For that reason, I don't feel like I'm doom scrolling on Mastodon and I don't get that anxious "I gotta say something back" to people who post awful things. You have to go searching to find that kind of discourse, and your own server might block everything from maga.social outright (that's a hypothetical example, I don't know if that server actually exists! I doubt it does because everyone would block it, but they could continue their raging separate and alone amongst their like-minded individuals on their own server cloud.)

I suppose if you want to get into political arguments you probably can, but that's kind of what you are hopefully escaping there and why it's not solely a trash-fire of content. Due to the slight difficulty curve it seems like most people on there are progressive and liberal and smart. You also need to understand if you're *into* heated political discourse and argument you likely will have to search hard for it there. It's like how we all wondered how TruthSocial would fare since it would just be an echo chamber for the rightwing with few "libs to own".

You still can have George Takei and his brilliance, but people aren't raging back at him.

If you want to be outraged and fight the political fight, that's what DU is for, and Twitter is increasingly for. I find myself not wanting to doom scroll Twitter and limit participation there, but sometimes it's like a train wreck you can't look away from.

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 02:03 AM

3. Its not complicated or time consuming. Tips that are found

by searching for hashtags. I've been using it for all of 2 evenings. Most of that time I spent finding people to follow. Wrong approach. On this platform its mostly about hashtags.

Here are some tips and how I am using hashtags right now , hashtags feed one pinned column. Just clikc on a hashtag in any toot and a column is created based on the hashtag. Now you can pin it. Then edit it to include additional tags.

Desktop/PC (windows) using a chrome based browser.

In settings/preferences pick advanced web interface to allow pinned columns, multiple columns. The number and order of the columns can be easily manipulated.

column 1 (left) is for searching or tooting/publishing.

column 2 I made this my favorites column, it shows toots that I marked as favorites

column 3 is the local timeline feed from my server/instance that I belong to

column 4 is the Home feed that is people you follow

column 5 is listing toots that include any of these hashtags: #photography, music, movies, tvshows, news. If I want I can also set the filter to say that a group of tags must be in the toot, or filter out certain tags.

column 6 I set it to list toots with these tags: Ukraine, Russia, War, UkraineWarNews

column 7 tags: twittermigration, newHere, elonmusk, disinformation, misinformation.

column 8 tags: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mastodon.

Last column is like an active column when you click on a toot or menu item or feed it displays there.

This column thing is easy. Im just playing around with it the last hour or so.

Also signing up took only a few minutes on universeodon.com. Great server.

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Response to BootinUp (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 02:26 AM

4. ❤️ ✿❧🌿❧✿ ❤️

Ty!

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Response to BootinUp (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 06:59 AM

6. I never signed up for Twitter (or Facebook) but it is good that you are

providing some tips. And they do make sense. What prevents universeodon.com or another server from being overloaded?

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 11:30 AM

10. nothing but i have onlu tried one

and it is fine.

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 06:57 AM

5. Ditto. I see so many patiently waiting for Post (post.news)

that I suspected there was a reason- 180K on the waitlist the last I heard...

I guess the implosion of Twitter is interesting, but I feel bad for the loss of a viable option for those fighting back against war and tyranny (Ukraine, Iran) and elsewhere, where, for a time Twitter provided a lifeline.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 07:22 AM

7. Yes, those in the war zones may set up presences on other sites,

in fact most of the most informative ones have had them for some time - blogs, etc. - but there's a limit to how much time and energy they're going to put into signing up to and establishing a new presence on any of the emerging options with far smaller readerships unless Twitter bans them or it goes offline.

For perspective on the numbers we're talking about:

The figures below are based on Twitter’s advertising audience data for July 2022.

Note: our regions follow the United Nations Geoscheme. Click here to learn which countries belong to each region.

Number of active Twitter users in Northern America: 92.1 million

Number of active Twitter users in Central America: 19.1 million

Number of active Twitter users in the Caribbean: 3.3 million

Number of active Twitter users in Southern America: 43.1 million

Number of active Twitter users in Western Europe: 30.6 million

Number of active Twitter users in Northern Europe: 27.2 million

Number of active Twitter users in Southern Europe: 20.4 million

Number of active Twitter users in Eastern Europe: 8.2 million

Number of active Twitter users in Northern Africa: 8.0 million

Number of active Twitter users in Western Africa: 6.3 million

Number of active Twitter users in Middle Africa: 551 thousand

Number of active Twitter users in Eastern Africa: 4.0 million

Number of active Twitter users in Southern Africa: 3.4 million

Number of active Twitter users in Western Asia: 44.7 million

Number of active Twitter users in Central Asia: 377 thousand

Number of active Twitter users in Southern Asia: 30.9 million

Number of active Twitter users in Southeastern Asia: 57.6 million

Number of active Twitter users in Eastern Asia: 81.6 million

Number of active Twitter users in Oceania: 4.9 million

https://datareportal.com/essential-twitter-stats

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 07:27 AM

8. It will be so deliciously schadenfreudee when Musk realizes what he did

Musk is very opposed to "Web 3" wherein content-creators control their own content (as in decentralized, blockchain) and yet his flagrant mismanagement of Twitter (Web 2, where content-distributors control the content) may be exactly what causes people to finally break through the barrier described in the OP. Can't happen soon enough imho.

(and, did OP/article author mean to refer to Mastodon as the "frontrunner" rather than forerunner? Or, is it suggesting that Mastodon is indeed the forerunner to what will eventually replace Twitter? And why am I thinking about this at 4am?)

(Oh, and I strongly don't like "toot" )

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Response to intrepidity (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 05:11 PM

13. Toot makes me giggle inside (my 6 year old self I guess)

I didn't have much trouble signing up. I just love the way it's set up, as you described, so that gave me a lot of motivation.

Picking a server that has rules in line with your values is kinda important (they all list them), and one with a fair number of members. I picked c.im, a German server (antisemitism is illegal, and a lot of rules against racism, dissing people, etc.), and it's fine for now.

Walter Schaub has some good lists of people to follow. At first, I was starved for content but that changed pretty quickly when I started finding a lot of big Twitter accounts.

It looks a lot like Twitter as far as the UI goes.

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 07:46 AM

9. On Mastodon...

and I like it, so far. I'm a spectrum-dwelling tech guy though, so there is that. I can see how it would require a bit of a learning curve, but I don't think it's a huge one. Choosing your server is pretty important as they each have their own set of interests. I chose mastodon.world as it seemed to be one of the most generally-focused and it had a moderately large membership and some of the people I interact with on Twitter are on there. The platform overall seems VERY focused on providing a safe space and the use of CW (content warnings) is strongly advised, even for things that may not be considered at all controversial on other platforms. Trying Tribel too, and that has been OK, but the notion of Mastodon as something that is less likely to be sold to a rich guy down the road is VERY appealing.

I keep in touch with my close friends and family on FB (even though I dislike and distrust it overall), so Twitter was always mostly just a venue for me to share news and music (mostly mine), but I feel sorry for the people who were on there with more of a sense of community and an emotional investment in the place...Elon's really messed with that since he took over and I hope they can find their people on other platforms as I don't think Twitter is going to go back to what it was, if it survives at all.

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 12:01 PM

11. This summed it up nicely


As someone who’s spent a decent portion of my life in obnoxious computer nerd circles, Mastodon is sending serious Linux vibes

Ain't nothing ever come out of the Linux vibe that is even close to mainstream society. There's too much, "let me show you how geeky I am" vibe.

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Response to 48656c6c6f20 (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 05:43 PM

14. Funny I don't get that vibe at all

It has to me a much more relaxing vibe, with a lot of people posting threads to help out newbies. But the only important thing to know is really to respect the culture there.

And NO ads!!!

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Response to Kennah (Original post)

Thu Nov 24, 2022, 01:02 PM

12. It's Revenge of the Nerds V

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