Mastodon, the social network, not the Heavy Metal Band, came on the social media scene just over 2 years ago. It was immediately embraced by those who felt Twitter had sold out to to corporate interests and wasn’t what it once was. It also seemed and still seems to not to be able to deal with its major troll issue.
Unlike the “birdsite,” as users of Mastodon call Twitter, Mastodon is completely open source and federated. This means that anyone can run their own “instance” or neighborhood on Mastodon and have it connect to the greater community. It’s really slick.
For example, there is Mastodon.Social that is run by developer(s) of Mastodon, but there are instances of the service for all types of communities.
I currently have more accounts on Mastodon than I remember, but the one that I use almost exclusively is Jawns.club, the Philadelphia (area) instance.
There are instances for techies, scholars, hipsters, witches, LGBTQ, etc. Mastodon is really democracizing the microblogging social networking arena.
Here is a great view explaining what exactly Mastodon is and why it rocks!
The shooting at The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland on Thursday, where 5 people were killed, hit me hard.
As a recovering newspaper journalist, I used to work for papers about that size. I covered similar stories to those that the journalists at that paper cover.
I didn’t always make friends with people when I reported on corruption. There was that one time when I sued a township over their refusal to release their yearly budget (they wouldn’t let me have a copy and review it). At anytime back in 2006-07 that could have been me. I could have been one of those journalists. I still know plenty of journalists that are still in newsrooms just like The Capital Gazette.
It turns out the killer, Jarrod Ramos, 38, of Laurel, MD had a vendetta against the paper. He’s harassed numerous people at the paper and elsewhere.
Ramos Had A Record, He Still Had Access To A Gun — Thanks NRA
Ramos was convicted of a misdemeanor for harassing a former high school acquaintance. So, how did he get a gun? Oh, that’s right, the National Rifle Association (NRA), has done everything in their power to block any legislation, federal or state or even local, that could have prevented a nutcase like this from getting a gun.
The NRA used to represent gun owners who wanted sensible gun laws and safety. Somewhere along the way the NRA saw green and became little more than a lobbying arm of the gun manufacturers. Money corrupts, as we all know.
Could this shooting have been prevented if there were stricter gun laws on the books? Maybe. It’s not definitive, but any obstacle to stop would be gun-toting crazies is a good thing.
Not Saying No Guns — Just Want Sensible Gun Laws
You need a license or a certificate of some sort for so many things, but not for a gun. Driving a car you need a license, fishing you need a license, do I need to go on?
Some gun owners resist a 3-day waiting period to getting a gun. It’s only 3 days people! Others think background checks on all gun purchases are a burden. Well, you know what? Tell that to the families who lose a loved one every day to gun violence in cities like Philadelphia and Chicago.
We could go on and on with this gun debate and get nowhere. Things will only change when we hold those making the laws accountable. Too many politicians are paid off – yes PAID OFF – by the NRA to get in the way of gun laws.
For example, where are the gun laws after the mass shooting on February 14, 2018, in which seventeen students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida were killed and another seventeen were injured?
We’re at the end of June and NOTHING. Let’s let that sink in.
So Where Does This Leave Us?
Pretty much, where we’ve been. But we need to fight for sensible gun laws. I’m not advocating for no guns. I’m advocating for smarter laws that keep, or try and keep guns out of the hands of people who have no business having one.
I’ve been thinking a lot about online identity, especially this month.
I have a habit of segmenting my identity across multiple platforms and domains. Part of me likes the categorization of this method, but I am realizing that it’s not necessarily the best method of connecting with my audience. Having one site where most if not all your “stuff” resides seems so much more appealing now. It’s easier to update and stay on top of the digital nuances.
Having multiple properties can stretch your bandwidth thin and make it so that instead of having one quality place for people to go, there are a bunch of places with less quality content. That’s not good.
The Need For A Hub For Everyone
Facebook would love to be the hub for all the things you do online, but that’s just “borrowed” or “rented” space. The user is the product and is at the whim of Facebook’s ever-changing “squirrel-like” interests.
So where does this leave us? I think the more spread out across the Web we get, the more we will need to have a central point to curate all of our stuff online in one place.
Spaces like About.me are trying to be that place, but I feel that a personal site is better suited for this.
Sites likeWordPress.com,Wix.com,SquareSpace.com are all great starts. For the more adventurous there is the self-hosted version of WordPress, that allows for more options and freedom with the code and more robust tools to get found online.
What Should Someone Put In Their Hub?
If we’re going to have centralized hubs for our content, what do we put there?
Here are some ideas:
A gallery of photographs
Some social media profile links
A portfolio of work samples
And that’s just the start. The possibilities are endless. Even though every platform online is vying for a piece of your digital pie, it may be time to consolidate our multiple online identities and offer our audience a one-stop place to keep up with us.