Why Mastodon? Why Now?

I signed up for Mastodon.social in early 2017, and promptly didn’t use it at all. As a tech professional, I feel it’s important to stay up to date and check out new technologies and sites. (To be honest, it’s also part of the username land-grab: I probably have an account on every major service if I use it or not, save Snapchat. That’s one I just never checked out at all, but I have enough other people that I know that keep me up to date on it.)

I’ve been a Twitter person for a very long time: it’s my social network. But Twitter has become a bit of a drag. For me. If it’s working for you, great, I’m not here to change your mind. However, between the harassment and hate speech that Twitter “can’t” get under control, and now the limiting of third-party clients, it’s just not where I want to direct my time.

When I joined Twitter, you could use curl to post to the timeline. Heck, you could actually read the timeline. Things change, I get it. Of course, when they do, you’re free to re-evaluate if things still make sense for you.

Mastondon.social is a micro-blogging site much like Twitter. As I’ve seen people start moving over there recently, there’s been a bit of hand-wringing and shaming. But people are moving over, and that’s what a social network is: it’s where you find your people. There’s a groundswell of people moving over, and it has become a critical mass for me. Mastodon feels like early Twitter: fun, light, I can get through my timeline, and friendly.

For anyone not familiar with the early days of Twitter, it was rough around the edges. Posting to Twitter was a ‘post’…the name “Tweet” hadn’t come from Twitter. It was common for the service to be unavailable and display the “fail whale”. With usage comes improvement, though, and Mastodon is in that state. With use, people will improve the tools, improve the service, and improve the experience. Also, there was a choice to be made: Facebook or Twitter? It was common for people to crosspost between the two, and that was OK. However, you eventually chose one or the other (or knew the appropriate thing to post on each service). The same thing is happening now, as people moving to Mastodon are crossposting to Twitter. Again, that’s OK, but I suspect people will eventually drop one or the other.

So, I’m going into (mostly) read-only mode on Twitter. Twitter is too big to ignore, and there are still communities there that won’t move any time soon.