Carry on and Mastodon

If you follow the tech scene at all, and likely even if not, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about Mastodon lately.  I’m actually perhaps a little late to the scene, but I joined the bandwagon this past weekend, and thought I’d share my thoughts and tips.  Sorry for any incoherence. And I’ll update as things occur to me!

  1. What is it?
    1. Its kinda like twitter, but think many many twitters all owned by different people with different goals, agendas and thematic expectations.  ie: There’s one for general social interaction, one for tech aficionados, one for anarchists, etc.
    2. When you use it, its not exactly like twitter, first off you have your “Home” – this is your twitter, you see posts from people you follow
    3. You also have your local timeline, this is a chronological feed of everyone on your server.
    4. And you have a federated timeline.  A lot of people mistake this for every post from everywhere, but its actually posts from everyone that everyone on your server follows.
  2. What should I expect?
    1. Well there are no ads.  Woohoo!
    2. I find, at least in these early days, much more actual interaction than on twitter.
    3. Be prepared to see a lot of bots tho, its an open source platform, lots of people playing with lots of code
    4. Be prepared to see someone else with your name.  Names are unique per server, not unique throughout the product.  Think of it as an email address.  Just because you own abc@gmal doesn’t mean you own abc@yahoo
    5. There are no verified accounts. Any checkmarks you see are just people using emojis for fun or mischievousness
  3. Where should I join?
    1. Well I got lucky on this one I think.  At first glance you might think its best to join an instance with many users, and this likely makes sense for many.
      1. But if you do, be prepared for timelines that scroll faster than your capability to scan, remember you see it all, chronologically. And anything you do say is more quickly lost in the sea.
      2. I’d suggest looking for one that matches your interests, and you can join more than one. Or create your own! Doing so, in my opinion, makes your audience more likely to be interested in what you have to say.
      3. But if your intent is corporate, beware, a lot/most of Mastodoners are there purposely to escape corporate promotion and profit seekers.  Creating a business focused instance may not work.  Also note that there’s nothing to stop a competitor from setting up their own instance/accounts to hijack you.
    2. Also many instances seem to have a large proportion of non-english languages, so if you are an english speaker/reader only, may be difficult or frustrating to use.
    3. A complete list (I think) can be found here: https://instances.mastodon.xyz/list
    4. You can preview timelines here: http://www.unmung.com/mastoview – note – may not be safe for work or kid friendly

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