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.