You may have heard of the meltdown at Twitter, and also may have heard of one option Twitter users have been going: Mastodon. I don’t have a lot of love for Twitter, but until this week I didn’t see a lot of alternatives. The influx of people to Mastodon led me to dust off my five-year-old account, and I welcome followers at @Wells@mastodon.social.
For the record, they’re not the same. A primer I read (and cannot find; will link it if I recover it) makes the clever analogy that Mastodon (and other, even less well-known services, collectively know as the Fediverse) is more like how we expect email to work. You have your own address somewhere but you can communicate with people on other servers. Mastodon, then, should be seen more as a standard running on a common form of software that a single thing, much less a business. Mastodon deliberately makes it harder to find others; there’s no search function. There’s no leading algorithm. Bad-acting servers (called instances) can be restricted or cut off.
It’s not perfect, and I don’t particularly recommend it if the concept of Twitter doesn’t appeal, but it it makes me happy for now.