There’s a lot to despise about Twitter, but at the same time, it’s become one of those social necessities, like those calling cards you had to have handy when visiting Victorian homes. But at the same time, Twitter totally sucks. It’s a haven for Nazis and shit-posters and harassers, and Twitter management has zero interest in making it better for users. Another problem is that they don’t seem to have any competition.
So let’s see some! Sarah Jeong explains a promising alternative called Mastodon. It’s similar in function to Twitter, but has a different underlying philosophy, relying on distributed clusters of users called instances, which then share conversations with users you follow more widely. I haven’t figured out all the mechanics yet, it’ll take time. The big difference is that the instances have zero tolerance for fascists, racists, and harassers, and they say so — and they’ll cut you off if pull any of the crap that is routine on Twitter. That sounds good to me!
If you’re interested in trying it out, go to the list of instances and pick one out — they’re rated for their reliability and number of current users. Jeong signed on to mastodon.social, but that one is closed right now, so pick a different one — they should all allow exchanges between one another, so it shouldn’t make a difference, I don’t think. I chose octodon.social, just because something about the name appealed. Don’t know why. I also kind of liked the manager’s rules:
It should be similar to mastodon.social’s.
NSFW/any legal porn is allowed, but tag it as NSFW or make it unlisted or something.
Trolls are only allowed if they’re quiet; you can shitpost but not harass someone, and my threshold is pretty low.
I’m not Twitter, I’ll fuck up nazis and bullies for fun, and get an AI to do it if I get bored.
I’m your nice cyberpunk queen but I intend to keep this place decent and safe for everyone.
So now I’m signed up as firstname.lastname@example.org. I haven’t done anything with it yet — you know the general principle with any social medium, right? Listen for a while before blaring — but the environment seems pleasant, if a little more quiet. The problem with these things is that they require a critical mass of users, or they fall flat and die, so that may happen here, too.
Oh, and another problem: you don’t “tweet”, you…”TOOT”. Ugh. Why do the people who have the smarts to set up this kind of thing always have a tin ear?
Anyway, if you’d like to take a small step in disrupting the Twitter hegemony, try it out.