Moving to Mastodon
Like many folks recently, I’ve decided to just use Mastodon instead of Twitter. You can find me at @firstname.lastname@example.org. Decided I’d document my thoughts that have lead to this.
Thoughts on Twitter
These are specific to my usage, having been using Twitter for about 6/7 years. Some of these are things I admittedly could address if needed.
- The feed has always been a mess of content. Lately I’ve found it hard to get away from US political opinions, and a mass of Elon worship, in my feed. Twitter has an interest in encouraging argument and division.
- I followed a lot of people with topics I’m interested in, but it just highlighted echo-chambers within those communities.
- Twitter have been continuously locking down the platform, and the further prevention of other Twitter clients is a big move in this wrong direction.
- It does not look like the platform is moving in a healthy direction, and instead it’s just desperate to cover its own newly introduced debts. Showing views, promoting up paid users, and platform decisions made by an unrelatable billionaire, are all questionable at minimum. In addition, there’s the arrogant and disrespectful handling of the previous Twitter employees. It’s become a billionaire’s vanity toy that’s focused on not collapsing to protect that billionaires reputation.
- I don’t have a massive Twitter following, there’s not a massive amount to loose here.
Thoughts on Mastodon
- The “choosing a server to live in” felt a little committal, I felt like I was bucketing myself into a specific interest, but this hasn’t really been an issue I’ve felt since signing up.
- I don’t like the lack of toot migration. The ability to jump between servers seems like a core element here, and the idea you can’t take the primary content with you is a bit disappointing.
- I’ve very much enjoyed the lack of ads and “Algorithm”. It’s nice to have actual control over the feed.
- I can follow cat-based hashtags in my feed. Awesome.
- This provides a fresh start to how I follow people. Am using lists from the start this time, and have decided not to follow brand/business/project accounts to not busy up the feed. I’ll instead use RSS for those where available.
- It’s great to be able to use other clients without worrying about using up their restricted API usage limits.
- I get easy access to API keys, without a silly approval process.
- The default web/app UI isn’t as pleasant for me compared to Twitter, Twitter has better spacing and clarity IMO, but this isn’t so much an issue where you can build/use other clients freely.
- Using two accounts on the same server is a little awkward since it’s not supported by all desktop apps or the default web UI. I get around this by using Firefox’s containers to use my accounts in different containers.
- I’ve quite enjoyed browsing the “Local” feed to see a range of general content from those interested in FOSS.
- I like the toot privacy options, and how DMs are just private toots so can tail from normal toots.
- The lack of showing “Favourite” (Like) counts in the feed strange at first, but have since thought this is probably a very positive & healthy thing as it no longer takes focus from content.
- There’s a fair bit of “Twitter/Elon Bad” circlejerk that feels like people after a break-up trying to convince others they don’t think about their ex Twitter, while talking about Twitter.
- The freedom for the profile description, and the verification abilities, are pretty neat & sensible ideas.
- Came across one account that seemed to be banned by my host server. A reminder that you’re beholden to the views/moderation of others unless you host your own instance.
- I’m somewhat relying on the server hosts in general to keep things running and maintained. The Fosstodon team look well organised though, are transparent, and have been doing a great job so far. I do have recurring donations to the team via Librepay to cover my usage.
- Related to the above, you have to respect that the ad-free use comes at a cost to someone, so you should contribute to cover costs to help keep the lights on.
- It’s nice that public toots/profiles can be browsed without being blocked & gated by forced sign-in.