For more than a decade, I’ve been excited about the promise of social media. The ability to connect with anyone anywhere about ideas was amazing to me. It opened up a world of possibilities.
I enjoyed that world. I met people. I learned things. I changed the trajectory of my personal and professional experience.
Slowly but surely, things changed and all of the platforms became unsatisfying and dreary in so many ways. The crescendo is maybe the current happenings over at Twitter.
I liked Twitter and used to use it with a (not kidding) Motorola flip phone by texting using the keypad where you have to click on the number 5 three times to type the letter L. But in recent years, I haven’t let go even though I should have.
All of a sudden the Twitter upheaval is spurring interest in a new platform called Mastodon. I saw Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal post about it and went to check it out.
It’s like starting all over again! Which to me is exciting.
It’s like the early days of Twitter and other platforms, but now informed by all that experience we’ve had with those. There are a number of posts out there explaining the environment and how to get acclimated. I’ll post the best ones I’ve found below. But, let me tell you some of the things I like so far.
There are many new people flooding in. So, we’re all new. The vibe right now is excitement and learning.
The decorum is decidedly pleasant with all the positive elements about connecting with others about ideas and sharing insights, experiences, and information. Like the innocent heyday of Twitter or Facebook.
The decentralized nature of the platform seems to encourage this. Also, there are limits placed on search and quote tweeting which apparently contribute to trolling. Ok, I can roll with that. I want all of the good and none of the bad.
It’s not so news centric. That’s something I used to like about Twitter but am re-thinking now. Is that where I get the most value out of social media? Not really. So, getting back to connecting with others has been refreshing.
I’ve only met a few people, but they are interesting and seem worth following. I can also browse my local server or browse the larger community. That feels exciting and is an easy onramp to discovering interesting people and ideas. The risk of that exploration going awry right now seems to be limited by the culture of the sites and the features – content warnings (or CWs) are common and apply to text and images being posted. Local moderators seem to be on top of the streams. And it’s easy to block anyone that gets through. So far.
Also, engagement is high. I like getting some reaction to my posts, and the gang seems to appreciate dad jokes, which is a huge plus.
We’ll see where this all goes. Right now, I’d encourage you to check it out. Here are some articles that I’ve found helpful. Hopefully they can get you started and oriented on the new frontier of social media.