When I started out on Twitter back in 2007/8 I loved the local feel of the site and followed people I knew in real life or in the local area. As Twitter grew in popularity, it got cluttered for me. I began to get followers and followed quite a bit of people back. Now my HOME timeline is so cluttered I can’t use it. I’m “forced” to use lists to navigate Twitter and to be honest, it’s not enjoy able anymore.
Enter Mastodon a year ago. Mastodon was intriguing to me. I had been watching things like Identi.ca (now Status.Net) and GNU Social for years, but they never stuck for me. I love the idea of federation, but even with that you need a community. So a year goes by and the Philly-area crowd gets fed up with Twitter enough to venture to Mastodon. Alex Hillman, of Indy Hall co-working fame, spins up an instance and called it Jawns.Club. Now there’s a community, my community on this new-ish social network that isn’t controlled by corporations and messed up by trolls, yet.
Not Perfect By Any Stretch
Is Mastodon lacking in some respects. Absolutely. Here are just a few things:
Not enough choice in applications
The apps that are out there aren’t as full featured as I’d like
The code is still being actively developed and sometimes acts as such
But even with the issues, Mastodon is a great place to be. It will never be a “Twitter-killer,” at least not for a while, but it does fill a void.
Oh The Instances. Which One(s) should I choose?
So here’s another issue, each Instance or neighborhood on Mastodon has it’s own flavor, community, and culture. Different topics vary across the federation of servers running instances of Mastodon. How many can one person join? All if they really want to. But, how many can they participate in successfully. I have upwards of 5 accounts on different servers. Finally Jawns.Club hit the spot, because that’s where my community is. But I struggle, because am I missing out on other conversations elsewhere? So because of that, I decided to start my own instance WPSocial.Live for the WordPress community. Hit me up if you want to join.
Some apps let you quietly follow other instances PUBLIC streams, but I haven’t found one that I like, well that works. Also the desktop options are very limited.
So What’s A Person To Do?
Pick an instance, use it for a while, see if the community fits your needs. If not, you can export your followers and move to another instance. You can even leave a “forwarding address” of sorts telling people what instance or neighborhood your part of now. It’s pretty slick.
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!
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.
A lot has happened personally and professionally for me in 2017. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged on my site and I think bullets are probably the best way to convey my thoughts as of now. So here goes:
Trump’s first year in office has gotten me politically active in a way that I’ve never been before.
I joined an activist group called Rise Up Doylestown. I’m even helping with the technology aspects of the group (Website, Social Media, and other such things)
I officially declared that I’m a Democratic Socialist.
I joined the Democratic Socialists of America. I tried getting involved with the local BuxMont off-shoot, but being a father and being involved more with Rise Up Doylestown, I found that I couldn’t do it all.
I’ve found that the ideas of Socialism aren’t just a nice dream, but fully attainable if fought for and won.
I’ve realized how ADHD I am and, though I already have dealt with it for all my life, I’m learning more about the difference and how to turn it into a Super Power instead of a Super Deficit.
This summer I helped support the Ride2Recovery to benefit first responders, veterans, and soldiers recover from PTSD and other related health problems. Because of this, I rode my bike quite a bit. It felt good to be on the road and exercising.
I learned this year that my Type-2 Diabetes needs to be taken seriously. I’m still young enough to control with minimal drugs and good habits. I need to focus on this and have started.
I’ve branched out professionally in to the Internet of Things realm with Proximity Marketing.
This should be exciting in 2018. Bluetooth/Proximity Marketing is going to be the next big thing, and I’m glad that I partnered up with some people to bring it to market here in the Philadelphia-area.
I’ve got to figure out how to automate the events section, encourage businesses to advertise and posts announcements and so much more.
Goldstein Media didn’t have the best year, especially during the summer months. This year I need to focus heavily on the Winter, Spring and Fall months to off-set what seems to be three slow months in the Summer.
I’ve gotten very active in a great group called PowerMatch. Think of it like match making, but for business. It’s a neat concept an I’m happy that the “Networker-in-Chief,” Sara Rosenberg has decided to bring me on as staff to help her grow it. If your intrigued, hit me up and I’ll give you the run down on the group and how to get involved.
I reconnected with some great colleagues this year and met some new ones.
I was very close to David from Birnbaum Consulting when we were both at Telerx. Now that he’s back on his own, we’ve be lucky enough to partner up on a number of projects and have jump started our friendship again.
I’ve always been very big on coffee shops to get out of the “office” and work. Because of these adventures, I met a very inspiring entrepreneur, Shawn Hiner of ESC Marketing Group. We’ve become good business friends and have started working on some projects and ideas together. All from meeting in local coffee shops. You never know who you’ll meet if you just say hello.
Random Musings At The Close Of The Year
What do do with all my personal-branded domain names.
I have quite a few properties that are SethGoldstein Dot Something.
SethGoldstein.me, which is my main personal blog/site area (.net just redirects here).
SethGoldstein.photography, which is a whole other site for my photography.
SethGoldstein.blog, which is a Tumbler blog where I occasionally re-blog and share stuff associated with my identity as a writer for Raging Chicken Press.
S3th.me , which was originally just for a URL shortener, that now hosts a resume page of mine.
I need to consider whether I keep them all broken out, do I put them all under SethGoldstein.me/net, do I turn my .me site into a Multisite WordPress?
You have to be a special type of person to run for political office. I know many politicians and other elected officials that are upstanding individuals. I also know they are a rare breed.
Today I got a letter from my U.S. Representative, Brian Fitzpatrick. It was a response to a phone call I made to voice my opposition to the proposed American Healthcare Act. Unlike Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, who doesn’t even take the time to draft a proper, on topic, form letter, Fitzpatrick’s letter addressed my call. Though a form letter, it showed that Fitzpatrick’s team gave enough of a hoot to at least take the time to do that part of their job right.
The Letter I receive from US Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA 8th) in response to my call to his office about his plans to vote on the Affordable Healthcare Act.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t vote for Fitzpatrick, but I will give credit where credit is due. Politics has a lot to do with appearance. We will see how Fitzpatrick votes to see if he’s a party-liner or a true representative for the people.
The Liars And Their Lies
Fitzpatrick is smart to be on topic and send a constituent a letter in return. Many politicians, do this. They believe that a letter will pacify the best that is the electorate. In the past, they might have been right, but in today’s climate, not so much.
With our Commander-In-Chief showing that he has no trouble Tweeting and saying complete utter lies without even batting an eyelash, we need to stay vigilant.
With the assertion of Donald Trump to the Presidency, it has made it open season on the truth. More and more politicians are seeing the most powerful man in the world getting away with crazy lies, so they’re attempting to lie as well.
Recently, our assistant editor, Sean Kitchen was at an press conference in Harrisburg put on by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-12th) and told him that he and the Raging Chicken Press were “Fake News.” Emboldened by the Commander-in-Chief’s free-flowing lies, Metcalfe felt he could do the same.
This is not an isolated incident. Sen. Toomey has used lies and alternative facts to bolster his claims as well. The list goes on and one.
All in all, we need to hold these liars accountable for their lies. Vote them out of office, protest their every move. Show them that we’re not fooled by their lies and we won’t stand for it.
What do you think? How can we best combat these liars and their alternative facts/lies? Post your thoughts in the comments below.