Change Is Constant
Social media platforms have been in the news lately. Some of it has been good, and some of it has not been so good.
Twitter Early Adopter
I was an early adopter on Twitter back in March 2007. I gathered over 16,000 followers before I retired suddenly after my last gran mal seizure.
My recovery is still ongoing, but I’m well enough to pay attention to social media again. Right when the big Twitter migration started in November 2021.
I’ve spent most of the last five years or so with my Twitter account dormant, an occasional retweet here and there. Mostly, because I was retooling and researching a business idea, and then my gran mal seizure stopped social media entirely for me for a year.
I was already seeking another place to put my digital roots when a new operator took over my favorite social media platform. I started to write as a way to recover from my seizure, so it helped that I could put some of my energies into learning more about the internet.
Matodon Gains Traction
At first, I thought about using Twitter again when it was bought and made private, and then the changes made many people leave, and I heard about a new service (to me anyway) called Mastodon. I also saw some of my favorite journalists, George Takei (trend setter), and a new server just for smart notetakers. The decision seemed like a good one because it helped my brain remember things after a seizure.
I’ve never been on a platform like this before.
Mastodon was first released in 2016 by a German software developer named Eugen Rochko. It was mainly used by FOSS (free and open-source software) enthusiasts, programmers, and other vulnerable groups who wanted to create their own software.
It wasn’t one platform, either.
There were hundreds and thousands of servers (instances) now.
There was a network of computers that communicated with each other.
It did make it hard to choose a server.
Instead of perfect, I looked around and saw that there was a fairly reasonable person just chatting with new members of his instance. I picked pkm.social because it was focused on smart notetakers that I was studying to make things clear for my post seizure mind. I settled on my migration: pkm.social.
You can join any server and chat with other people. Different instances of Mastodon servers can follow each other. It’s decentralized and free open-source software. Anybody can create their own server. I’ve seen one person create their own Mastodon server with just themselves as a member.
It’s software-focused and relies on individuals coming together in a broader sense to contribute to a greater goal.
I’ve been exploring using Mastodon and enjoying the non-algorithm time-line and no ads. Your feed is served up in reverse time order period. Just real people sharing.
Each instance has to pay for hosting the server powering it, and it’s interesting how a journalism foundation is paying for all the expenses of an instance for verified journalists to join.
It reminds me of the day when big corporate tech didn’t completely control the Internet. Twitter, Facebook (Meta), Google and even Apple being your only way to get information ruined the openness of the Internet back when I first got on the Internet in 1988.
Learn more about Mastodon.
How communities are decentralizing social networking, no billionaires required.
With the mass exodus of Twitter users following Elon Musk’s takeover, alternative platforms are gaining popularity among these ‘digital refugees’. The leading choice for many is Mastodon, free and open-source self-hosted social networking.
Whether Mastodon server will be successful is really based on the network effect.
“Upon reaching critical mass, a bandwagon effect can result. As the network continues to become more valuable with each new adopter, more people are incentivised to adopt, resulting in a positive feedback loop. Multiple equilibria and a market monopoly are two key potential outcomes in markets that exhibit network effects. Consumer expectations are key in determining which outcomes will result.
Network Effect definition from Wikipedia.
It may not work out. Twitter could recover from the takeover chaos. Normal people (non-early adopters) may just ignore Mastodon. I can’t predict the future.
Twitter was early and got early network effect. It was great. I grew to over 16,000 followers. And then after a very lengthy no posting because I had a gran mal seizure and had to relearn everything, my following on Twitter is non-engaging. The amount of work to get it engaging again isn’t worth it for someone who is retired.
Mastodon engagement is good, so far.
I can’t predict how it’s going to come out. I’m an early adopter, but the regular people are the ones that will make whatever happen.
Follow Me On Mastodon
If you’re up for an adventure, consider joining Mastodon as well. There are many thousand of instances, and again you can create your own (a little technical and server hosting costs). See joinmastodon.org/servers for a server that matches your desires and follow me at Christopher Sherrod on Mastodon