Numbers go up, numbers go down, what does it all mean?


Now that Elon Musk has bought Twitter, I’m hearing reports of more popular liberal people on the platform losing hundreds of thousands of followers as people read the handwriting on the wall and abandon Twitter. OK, I can sympathize with that, but most of the people I follow are still there — I think it’s a matter of recognizing that whether it’s Jack Dorsey or Elon Musk, it’s assholes all over the top, and you have to wait and see if they actually do anything to compromise your experience. That is, compromise it more than it already is.

I thought I’d check my follower count, to see if I’d been losing people in droves, but the problem there is that I haven’t paid any attention to it for years. I recall that I looked at it several years ago, and was surprised that it was something around 70,000. I looked this morning, and it was 158,000! Why, I don’t know. I can’t determine whether I’ve had a recent decline, though, with my sloppy sampling. I’ll just peg that number to April 2022, and if I remember, I’ll check back in a few weeks or a month. Maybe I’m losing already. Or maybe I’ll get a surge of Nazis hate-following me!

I do know one thing for sure: starting yesterday, my usual quiet Mastodon account got hundreds of new followers (I have 1,700 followers there). I guess some are checking out the alternatives to Twitter already.


Hot tip: if you’re interested in Mastodon, don’t sign up for mastodon.social, which is the biggest instance and is seeing a huge traffic surge. There are lots of instances, almost all connected to the federation, so pick one that seems to have a high up-time and has been around for a while, so that you have a stable entry point. I’m using octodon.social, but there’s a long list of alternative sites as well.

In case you’re wondering what the difference between Mastodon and Twitter is, on the surface, there isn’t much. The big difference is that Mastodon doesn’t have a centralized server, but a lot of smaller, distributed servers that are independently managed and just share data with one another. Musk was free to buy his own Mastodon server, set it up, and manage it, and it wouldn’t have cost him $44 billion…but it also wouldn’t have allowed him to dictate how every other server is managed.

Oh. I guess that is a big difference.

Comments

  1. rorschach says

    I sat up a Mastodon account after Sally Strange left here, way back in 2018. Logged in for the first time yesterday. There were like 2000 new introductions, and mastodon.social was absolutely crawling, as good as unusable. The interface is still non-intuitive for mine, and looking up your Twitter contacts is a clumsy affair. You can pingpong and mirror your Mastodon and Twitter posts now, so that’s something, but there should be a tool to search for Twitter followers on Mastodon. I’ll stay with Twitter for a while longer and see what Elon does with the place. Probably nothing good.

  2. robro says

    I think it’s a matter of recognizing that whether it’s Jack Dorsey or Elon Musk, it’s assholes all over the top

    Exactly! It’s clear why folks I know are convinced that Musk buying Twitter is the end of American democracy. Jeez. I have a Twitter account. I don’t use my Twitter account. If Twitter lets Chump back on the platform, then I’ll close my account.

  3. whheydt says

    Not being someone who uses “social media” (I’m not including blog or other comment sections in that), I’d never heard of Mastodon. It’s possible that others hadn’t either, and your mention of it has driven your numbers up there.

  4. StevoR says

    @5. jacksprocket : Would that last one be spent in prison or as POTUS or should that be DOTUS? (Dictator Of The USA.)

  5. says

    Some (even BotFC!) naively think Melon Husk won’t silence and delete people, posts, and accounts that he disagrees with. With his track record of hypersensitivity in the face of even the mildest criticism? He makes Apple look good by comparison.

    After years of silencing critics, Musk wants free speech on Twitter

    Musk’s tweets, public remarks and policies at the businesses he runs, shows little tolerance for speech that’s unflattering to him or his companies, or reflects employee criticism of the workplace

    I hope his emotional infantilism kills twitter, turns this into a massive waste of his ill gotten gains.

  6. says

    He’s floated a couple of changes that would be deal breakers for me.
    Charging a subscription fee to tweet. I’m on a fixed income, none of which I want to give to a billionaire.
    Having every account be authenticated. I’m not giving real, actual personal data to that creep. Especially when it looks like his idea of “free speech” includes harassment and threats.
    I’m just going to sit tight and assess.

  7. rorschach says

    “Having every account be authenticated”

    Yes, absolute no-no. It was pointed out to him a gazillion times this week why this is a bad idea, but I doubt he will listen. When I saw Tucker Carlson praising him the other day, I knew this was going to be bad. If only Mastodon was remotely ready for mass uptake.

  8. robro says

    rorschach #11 — “If only Mastodon was remotely ready for mass uptake.” Perhaps the Musk buy is an opportunity for Mastodon or some other platform.

  9. jsrtheta says

    Never joined Twitter, never saw anything good come out of it. Perhaps if people stopped jerking themselves off on Twitter, they might do something to fix the mess this country is in. Instead, they have an addict’s response: Heroin getting too pricey? Switch to booze.

    Wonder why the country’s going to hell? It’s what happens when life is nothing but a circle jerk.

  10. raven says

    Having every account be authenticated. I’m not giving real, actual personal data to that creep.

    Facebook does the same thing.

    That is why they kicked me out of my account. My crime was refusing to upload a huge amount of personal data including a picture of myself. For good reasons.
    I’ve long ago lost track of how many stalkers and death threats I’ve gotten.

    No loss though. I went from being mildly annoyed at not have a Facebook account to being very happy that I don’t have a Facebook account. If I still had an account, I would have deleted it. It turned into a toxic swamp.

    Facebook members are its real product, to sell their personal data and to sell their eyeballs to advertisers. Musk wants to monetize Twitter by doing the same thing and I’m not going help him.

  11. Deepak Shetty says

    @jsrtheta

    Instead, they have an addict’s response: Heroin getting too pricey? Switch to booze.

    +1

  12. microraptor says

    Apparently, Tesla’s value plunged by over $100 billion today thanks to people dumping their stock in the company.

    Since Muskrat got the loan to make that $44 billion bid for Twitter based on the value of Tesla, it’s looking increasingly like he won’t be able to actually buy the company (unless he actually tries using his own money).

  13. moarscienceplz says

    @#16
    Oh, gosh! The pasty-faced pig-eyed doughboy might not be able to afford a new toy? The horror!

  14. John Morales says

    microraptor, moarscienceplz, heh.

    Yeah. A few billion here, a bunch of billions there, before you know it it almost matters.

  15. chrislawson says

    Intransitive@9–

    Agreed. No doubt Musk believes he will allow criticism of himself, but I’m sure that this will not survive future temper tantrums. It reminds of me Dorsey himself, the man Musk wants to replace, who kept defending trolling and harrassment as necessary to free speech on Twitter — until a troll attacked him personally and got kicked off Twitter within the day.

  16. beholder says

    In case you’re wondering what the difference between Mastodon and Twitter is, on the surface, there isn’t much. The big difference is that Mastodon doesn’t have a centralized server, but a lot of smaller, distributed servers that are independently managed and just share data with one another.

    The notion of ownership at the nodes, and the related concept of moderation at the nodes, as opposed to complete ownership of a platform is an important distinction to make, and one I don’t see discussed very often when people opine on “What should be done about social media”. I appreciate that you mentioned it.

    For the same reason, you should consider alternatives to Discord for the FTB chat; I recommend Matrix. Matrix is similar to Discord, except instead of all the Discord servers being owned by Discord (which should seriously be a red flag for the privacy-minded), you have the choice of other Matrix servers run by admins with policies you support, or of running your own server and choosing who to federate with, much like Mastodon.

  17. rorschach says

    So now I read on Twitter that Musk bought it only because Grimes is dating Chelsea Manning, and I can safely say that I did not have that on my 2022 bingo card.

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