Well, the bird site has gone a bit bonkers since the reluctant takeover by Elon Musk.
While I’ve been determined to reduce my social media time in general, I had hoped to keep my community! So have been scrambling for an alternative. *
And – like so many other Twitter users – I’ve landed on #mastodon.
Less social media and more social network, mastodon has been around for about 6 years.
The way that it works is that you:
- sign up and pick an instance or server
- I went for .social but will likely change that to a more book orientated one in the future (which will be grand, because it has a process that allows you to swap over without losing your follow lists).
- Then you start following people .
- Post an introduction.
Points to note – a post here is called a toot. If you ‘like’ or favourite a toot, you’ll easily find it again afterwards. If you ‘boost’ it, you share with your feed, which is preferred as it keeps the momentum going.
So far, so like Twitter – which is reassuring for those who aren’t keen to learn a new site. But mastodon is it’s own thing.
You cannot quote someone (the retweet with comment as it were) to discourage pile ins. You can boost or make your own toot, but that’s it.
Also, two features that have already jumped out at me that I love love love!
For every toot, you can create a content wrapper or content warning – so only the interested will click. No more doom scrolling! Or inadvertent spoilers! Or scrolling past horrible, mean, vicious cruelty while trying to relax.
Also, when you post an image, you are automatically asked to insert alt text, or a guide for the visually impaired as to what’s in the image.
Given that mastodon was in part created by minorities who had been disregarded or ignored or insulted on other storms of social; failure to use content wrappers or alt text so is pretty poor behaviour.
So, once you follow people, you’ll see their posts. But only if you look for them. There is no algorithm pushing popular or recent or deliberately inflaming tweets to generate a profit.
The search function operates via #. So if you search for ‘book lovers’, you will not directed to toots that mention them. But if you search #BookLovers, you will!
Muting and blocking people seems far more straightforward. Indeed you can block whole servers if you want to, which for me is blissful. I’ve spent a ridiculously long portion of my time on Twitter just muting every word associated with reality tv – and it still shows up in my feed!
Here’s a link to sign up for any that wish to (will only work for a week) – https://mastodon.social/invite/XCG6H48R
*That might read like hyperbole, but the way it’s going, there’s a chance that Twitter will just stop working one day soon!