Too much social media

Once upon a time there was Twitter, and it was fine. There was much to dislike about it, but it had the advantage of being the one central repository of all the chatter, for good and ill, and I coped with the badness by doing a lot of blocking.

Then it became “X,” and it was terrible and vile, and Elon Musk is a neo-Nazi idiot, so I left, cleanly and completely. That was a good decision on my part. So I started exploring the other social media options.

I got on Mastodon. It’s a bit clunky, and I still don’t understand some of the details, but I’m comfortable there. I like the diversity of content. Sometimes people are too weirdly judgmental, but it’s not my site, so I’ll adjust. It’s still on my recommended list.

I’m also on BlueSky, which is probably the most like the old Twitter. It’s more centralized than Mastodon, good ebb and flow of topics, and there’s actually a Science Bluesky. I’m sticking with it longer, we’ll see how it shapes up.

Then there’s Threads. I don’t know about Threads. It has a very different dynamic — people take the name literally, and there are a lot of threads, where they go on and on over multiple comments, and it’s beginning to bug me. Shouldn’t you just start a blog? People do write a lot, which is a positive. It’s a Zuckerberg production, which is a COLOSSAL NEGATIVE. I killed Facebook long ago, that was enough.

So, anyway, there can be only one, and I’ve decided to axe Threads. That means that in my head it is now a duel to the death between Mastodon and BlueSky.

Who else is on social media? What do you prefer? Don’t bother to tell me to abandon it all, I’m accustomed to my frequent tiny blips of interaction.


  1. Hemidactylus says

    Well there’s Discord.

    Agnostic is pretty good. There’s a subset of annoying conservatives but they’re in the minority. You can block people who cross your boundaries.

    I’ve managed to avoid Facebook, MySpace, Live Journal etc. I used to browse Twitter occasionally before Musk ruined it.

  2. raven says

    Reddit is the new and upcoming social media leader.
    Reddit has the breadth and critical mass of viewers to survive.

    Reddit is organized by topics and moderated by the topic leaders.

    I view Reddit occasionally because…it is useful and informative. It is worth my time.
    This would be several topics on Reddit, especially the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
    The Hermancainaward site was valuable during the Covid-19 virus pandemic. For those few who don’t know what the Herman Cain Award is, Herman Cain was a prominent antivaxxer who early on, caught the Covid-19 virus and died. Followed by 330,000 other US awardees.

  3. friendsofdarwin says

    I’m also on all three, but sticking with all three for the time being because different people I liked to follow for different reasons on Twitter are now all on different platforms. But, if I could choose which platform I would like to become the one for everyone, they would be (in descending order): Mastodon, BlueSky, Threads.

    (That said, Mastodon is very unlikely to become the one for everyone because it’s too nerdy and decentralised, so, if I had to choose one at present—which I don’t—it would be BlueSky.)

  4. Hemidactylus says

    Agnostic has gone belly up a few times due to security certificate lapses. Things seem ironed out for now. When this had happened a while back people suggested trying

    That latter site has a weird cumbersome interface I never acclimated to. YMMV.

  5. raven says

    I got on Mastodon.

    Mastodon is decentralized.
    That is good for small groups with common interests.

    But it could never be like Twitter which was the closest we got to a world common forum.

    Threads is a Facebook production, which means it is owned by a predatory but soulless corporation. It lacks focus and content worth reading is swamped by noise.

    FWIW, Freethoughtblogs is also…social media.

  6. GenghisFaun says

    I’m on Bluesky, mainly because it’s most like twitter prior to its descent into nazification. It’s a little annoying that you can’t post gifs or videos. And I wish you could see when accounts share mutuals with you, which was a good method for vetting/community building on twitter.
    I have a mastodon account, too, but could never get a decent timeline going on it. I find the vibe there to be, for lack of better descriptors at the moment, a little austere or overly serious/reverential.
    Threads us a no-go for me, too.

  7. Brian Lieske says

    BlueSky. Not even a question.
    We’ve got Neil Gaiman trying to steal Gail Simone’s Snoopy cups. What more can you ask for in social media?
    On a more serious note, there was real time interaction about the New Jersey earthquake last week. Not at the level of the old bird place, but it was noticeable and there. Still really lacking the international component and the sidewalks roll up after midnight, but it’s the best one going.
    Threads is contemptible and growing more so every day as they outrage farm.
    Mastodon has never let me complete account creation. After a half-dozen tries and multiple friends being banned from instances for no apparent reason, I decided not to bother.

  8. cartomancer says

    Since I don’t have any friends anymore, I use social media (twitter, to be precise) for one thing and one thing alone – to check what is happening at one specific London cruise bar that I occasionally visit when I have forgotten how depressing it was last time.

    That is not really the comment, though. When I visit the site I notice the little side column, which is called “trending in the UK”, but should really be called “terfy bigotry du jour”.

    This, more than anything, has convinced me that the whole sordid phenomenon of social media is a complete waste of time.

  9. mikeschmitz says

    Mastodon is decentralized, but it is federated. You can follow anyone from any server. This negates the insular silo argument.

    @Brian Lieske
    I haven’t the slightest clue about BlueSky, Neil Gaiman, Gail Simone or Snoopy cups. The centralization of BlueSky, as with nearly all previous Social Media platforms make them a complete no-go for me. Having one entity in charge is like Monarchy.

  10. says

    On on Mastodon and that’s pretty much my main social media type platform. Also on BlueSky but I don’t use it as often. I also have a WordPress blog and that’s about it.

    My Xitter account is currently suspended and it can stay that way.

  11. says

    I’m thoroughly antisocial, so I’ve never really dealt with any of these… things… as a positive anyway.

    But the model of Mastodon is the least likely to turn into a widespread security/privacy nightmare, and/or “monetization of hackcough anonymized-and-consolidated use data.”† The ownership of Threads laughs at these concerns, and Bluesky is very much a pat-on-the-head-don’t-worry-be-happy on how it can/is-planned-to/will evolve. Mastodon is overconfident, but its decentralization will require targeted rather than generalized intrusions. Which is not to say that there will be no such efforts, or even that they’re not happening now; it’s only to say that Mastodon would create a bunch of cute “little” monsters rather than SpaceGodzilla.

    † It’s not paranoia when they really are out to get you. Some of my clients have been harassed, and worse, via these measures. I’ve been harassed via these measures (until I smacked a provider around for violating its own terms of service and cut off the data flow).

  12. beholder says

    I’m not a fan of state-sponsored spyware platforms corporate platforms that don’t give me the option to roll my own alternative infrastructure. Discord, Facebook, Twitter, Bluesky, etc. are not worth further consideration.

    But if you do post to those, remember what Cory Doctorow said about Publish on your Own Site*, Syndicate Elsewhere. All those corporate-owned sites are going to try to twist your arm later and lock down any content they see as marginally valuable. If the original is on your site in archived form (no outbound image or video links), they can try to do that, but they won’t be successful.

    Your own site means a site you control, not a site that Deathlord Al-Zwahiri is able to pull the plug on.

  13. seattlesipper says

    Mastodon is growing on me. It is generally good, although there are odd communities that pop up, however blocking works when ‘dons go off the rails. It does require work to get out and follow people rather than the usual algorithmic push-push-push form of discovery. I use neither Bluesky or Threads. Reddit was suggested in an earlier comment, but Reddit reminds me of a nice backyard swimming patio with a cesspool adjacent. Like Slashdot and Nexdoor, Reddit has the occasional bit of interest, but the comment/interacton system is full of needlessly rude nitwits. I have no particular attachment to Mastodon and could pretty easily be convinced to move to Bluesky, but Inertia is the strongest force in the Universe, so I have not moved (sorry physicists, it is true and you kmow it. Inertia dominates all other forces.) So much of the content of Instagram and, increasingly, Reddit is the Pushing of Advertisements, and that just does not seem worth it.

  14. nomdeplume says

    Good to see you on Bluesky PZ. I moved to mastodon but never felt comfortable. Bluesky has a nice feel to it. I didn’t know about a Science Bluesky, must investigate.

  15. raven says

    So, does any of those places make a decent replacement for Usenet?

    Reddit is a lot like the old Usenet.

    It’s organized by topics and interest groups and they all have moderators.

    You don’t have to join Reddit to just read most of the topics.

  16. badland says

    I like Bluesky, it’s really just a Twitter clone with a few tweaks. It has an overall left-leaning ethos and transphobes get shut down hard.

    You get from it what you seek, of course, and it has its nasty corners. The I’ll-never-vote-for-Biden crowd are starting to get a bit feral, they’ve all found each other and react badly to people outside their echo chamber. Imagine a thousand The Vicars, wanking interminably, spouting bullshit about Tara Reade and hair-sniffing.

    Haven’t tried Mastodon, one social media platform is fine for me.

  17. beholder says

    @14 Steve

    So, does any of those places make a decent replacement for Usenet?

    No. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about that besides getting a few pals together, running your own news servers, and getting the word out.

    @17 badland

    The I’ll-never-vote-for-Biden crowd are starting to get a bit feral, they’ve all found each other and react badly to people outside their echo chamber. Imagine a thousand The Vicars, wanking interminably, spouting bullshit about Tara Reade and hair-sniffing.

    Don’t threaten me with a good time.

    Well, if I had to choose between that and the Orange Man Bad echo chamber, the former occasionally has worthwhile insights into genocide and imperialist foreign policy.

  18. KG says

    the Orange Man Bad echo chamber – beholder@18

    Which I’ve noticed has a remarkable degree of overlap with the Climate Change Is Real echo chamber, the Vaccination Against Covid Is A Good Thing echo chamber, and the Fox News Is A Load Of Toxic Waste echo chamber.

  19. says

    I still peek on Twitter/X once in a while, because that’s were I connected with a bunch of people, but the climate is so toxic and there are so many morons allowed to say whatever they like, I have to strain not to get sucked in to another pointless debate. Same experiences with Mastodon: Clunky and unfamiliar. Bluesky comes closest to the old Twitter experience. I’m also on TikTok, which I have mixed feelings about. I even tried to post some content myself there with varied success: I feel most at ease on Instagram, which is less noisy than TikTok. Also the amount of suggested lives on TikTok drive me crazy! BTW I am also still on Facebook to stay connected to family and friends but don’t really post anything anymore.

    To be honest, even though BlueSky is the nicest environment, I find myself spending most time on TikTok and Instagram. Threads I avoid like the plague.

  20. F.O. says

    If you are scared of “instances”, just sign up for, you can change later.

    Mastodon has its problems, but what’s really important to me is that it is an EXPERIMENT of creating a community of communities without a centralized authority and that alone is precious.
    If we want a society without gods and without masters, we need to (re-)learn to do this.

    Reddit is enshittifing.
    Any centralized social platform will enshittfy as soon as it has no more competition, or you are dependent on it or strokes the ego of some rich idiot.

    If your instance becomes shitty, Mastodon allows you to easily migrate (with all your follows and followers) to a different instance.

    For once, I can allow myself to feel that I’m not a mean to make money, that my online social life is not dependent on the whims of rich fucks or the greed of shareholders; YMMV, but to me that is important.

  21. says

    Beholder, please drop the insincerity. You already decided long ago to not vote for Biden for less than virtuous reasons, probably stroking your own ego in how bravely “anti-mainstream” you are. Griping about Israel is just the excuse de jour to make you look less like a stupid selfish ass. In truth I bet you couldn’t give less of a damn about anything happening there as long as you can’t use it to cheaply virtue signal to your equally self-deluded peers.

  22. badland says


    Well, if I had to choose between that and the Orange Man Bad echo chamber, the former occasionally has worthwhile insights into genocide and imperialist foreign policy.

    At least you recognise the Orange Turd is a bad man, but that’s not enough for such as you is it?

    We’ve been over this, voting for the lesser of two evils means you get less evil. There are two choices in this election, Biden or Trump. I want less evil in this world but you, it seems, don’t. Instead you frot and gasp about positions we are are watching the Dems change due to public pressure while you ignore the much greater evil of a Republican victory, which you seem to think preferable.

    You’re an evil little shit.

  23. says

    Mastodon for me, no question.

    Bluesky is a Twitter clone, and if it ever gets popular, it’ll be sold to some other right-wing billionaire just like Twitter was. It has the same fundamental flaw as all centralized social media: they own your data, they lock you in, then they enshittify the platform with ads and algorithms and charge you to talk to your own followers.

    Mastodon has no algorithms, no ads, and it lets you take your account, your followers and your data to a new server if the one you’re on starts to suck. That’s the kind of un-capitalist architecture I want to support.

    I don’t post on Reddit, but I browse there. There are some high-quality niche communities. It’s one of the few corners of the web where you can be confident of finding useful, human-curated information on a given topic.

    TikTok is my guilty pleasure for wasting time. But there’s a surprisingly good audience for atheist/skeptic/science content!

  24. beholder says

    @19 KG

    Which I’ve noticed has a remarkable degree of overlap with the Climate Change Is Real echo chamber, the Vaccination Against Covid Is A Good Thing echo chamber, and the Fox News Is A Load Of Toxic Waste echo chamber.

    Sure, but if you try your best to ignore all the good points they’re making, all the Vicars out there sound like a bunch of whiny losers, which I believe is the sentiment @17 badland was trying to get at. I was merely pointing out the same can be said of frightened Democratic loyalists as well, which seems to suggest that ignoring all the good points they’re making probably isn’t the best way to go about things.

    @24 badland

    We’ve been over this, voting for the lesser of two evils means you get less evil.

    Quite the opposite, it seems to get both teams comfortable with tolerating more and more evil over time.

  25. says

    Behonker is eager to see lots of eggs cracked to make his perfect social and political justice omelette happen. After all, neither he nor anyone he cares about will be among the eggs, so all he needs to do is shed a few crocodile tears about their sad but necessary sacrifice that he was all too willing to make.
    You think you are special, Behonker? You think nobody has seen your type before? No, you are nothing but a narcissist piece of shit, nothing different from the Trumpenführer, Orban, Putin or Kim Jongun. The only reason you profess to support progressivism is out of a whimsical curiosity, not because you empathize with anyone or think it’s the right thing to do.
    Please go away and throw yourself in the nearest septic tank because that’s where excrement like you belongs.

  26. StevoR says

    Who else is on social media? What do you prefer?

    Personally blogs like thsi and facebook. Yeah, Fb has its share of issues and has done some dodgy things politically. No, I’m no fan of Zuckerberg at all but it also has alot of good pages and uses and I’ve got a lot of good friends and can do alot of good things on it and enjoy using it.

  27. EigenSprocketUK says

    I’ll echo many commenters above, particularly FriendsOfDarwin @3, regarding Bluesky and Mastodon,
    From an outsider point of view, without an account, Bluesky wins on initial appeal.

    Except: Bluesky wants to invite heads of state in. This can’t end well (except for Bluesky, of course).
    I still intend to sign up to Mastodon with its decentralised raison d’etre; heads of state can set up their own (easily defederateable) instances.

  28. Kevin Karplus says

    I’ve never used Facebook, Twitter, X, or most other social media. I have been writing a blog since about 2010, and I’ve been using Reddit since July 2019. I’m subscribed to 11 subreddits, of which I follow 4 fairly closely. I’ve recently gotten onto Discord, mainly to read plays aloud with a group of other actors (I’ve taken up acting as a hobby in retirement). I do sometimes read and comment on Nextdoor also.

    Reddit is probably the social media channel that takes up the most time, and I find it fairly easy to use and the communities I read are well-moderated. (I understand that other subreddits are often cesspools—a lot depends on who is attracted to the community and how diligent the moderators are).

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