Twitter has been Cancelled
Twitter has been cancelled, lots of new content policies and the erratic and unstable new CEO drive people away to some extent. Many formerly passionate users look to alternatives, that are not without fault either.
A rich man bought a social network and enacted policies that have caused much controversy. Not that twitter was uncontroversial before the takeover, but the recent and radical changes have made a lot of people more acutely aware of the concentration of power over public communication, which is great.
Don't get me wrong, I feel with everyone being harmed by especially the changes, but the realisation that things are bad and should change is generally useful for society.
I've loved Twitter for a while, you can get in touch with people, you don't need to know the right people, you just have to have something interesting to say and people will say "Hi!" or share your stuff with their crazy amount of followers, crashing your poor blog server like it gets on the front page of the orange news site.
Obviously social networks are all a bit shitty and they walk a fine line between being a publisher through content curation and ad sales and messaging and community platforms.
Some stories stuck out to me was the financial trouble twitter was in and how they were about to enter the business of selling very concrete geolocation behaviour profiles of their users to highest bidders
This obviously happened before the takeover and is still very concerning in regards to privacy, so it's not like twitter was ever only cool.
One of these alternatives in the microblogging category is Mastodon. It's a network that does not rely on a single point of failure (like one single publicly traded company). It's more like every server depends on one to a hand full of volunteers to run that part of the nerd-twitter. Everything is a little slower, with fewer features and people are a little bit confused how the different parts of the network talk to eachother.
These things don't bother me personally, but they provide a barrier of entry for some. There are some pretty funny takes in the tech scene describing some of them 😆.
If nothing else Mastodon is introducing people into the whole Open Source tradition of trying to be enthusiastic about something really bad that doesn't work at all because you don't want to be rude to the maintainers and the thing you really want to use doesn't work anymore.
It really is the "you should install Linux" of social media.
Especially Mastodon servers have gotten lots of new signups due to the "Twexit", and there's even a web app that shows you to which servers your friends went (should they state their mastodon name in their twitter bio) called debirdify.
The German government has also created a mastodon server at social.bund.de, potentially aiming to be more accessible or to do general press relation work.
It remains exciting, especially for the server admins provisioning their instances at this time.
Mastodon, Part of the Fediverse
The Fediverse is a connection of a couple of different software projects that enables users to follow eachother across them all. Other notable projects are for example Pixelfed which aims to be an instagram-like and PeerTube which allows users to share videos. They can both be followed from a Mastodon account because they all share a protocol, AcitivityPub.
Since the projects have limited self-interest, there's no point in building walled gardens like Twitter, Facebook, Vero, TikTok and the endless list of apps that need your eyes on the screen for the ad sales.
I'm curious to see where it will go and decentralised things are cool. I'm enjoying my time and the new faces both on my personal account as well es on the joint account with my better half for lots of pictures: GegenWind photography.
See you there if you want to try it out 😉