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.
So jump in and have fun!
Also published on Medium.