The Mastodon experience at one week

If you’ve been following the news, you know that Elon Musk bought Twitter, taking over control a couple of weeks ago and immediately making changes. Initially most of the discussion was about making people pay for verification checkmarks, which I couldn’t care less about. But in recent days the discussion has reportedly widened to include putting the whole site behind a paywall, or making it so unpleasant to use for free that it amounts to the same thing.

A lot of academics who have historically used Twitter are exploring an alternate open source service, Mastodon. So about a week ago I decided to take a look. At that point, it was merely an act of curiosity. But with news of a Twitter meltdown coming out over the last week, and Musk firing half the staff, a lot of high profile resignations from remaining staff, and the possibility of bankruptcy being discussed, it has started to feel more like precautionary contingency planning.

To be clear, while I’m not a Musk fan, I’m also not an inveterate hater. The guy does some great things, but he is also frequently an unconscionable jerk. Of course, we’re all human and make mistakes, but most of us aren’t rich enough for them to affect hundreds of millions of people. I won’t be surprised if he manages to pull Twitter out of the fire, but it’s sounding like it will be very different place when he’s done.

Anyway, when signing up for a Mastodon account, the first thing to realize is that it’s more a federation of services using a common protocol rather than a single service. The benefit of this approach is no one rich guy can buy the whole thing and start issuing edicts. It’d be like trying to buy email, blogging, or the web. But it does make the service more complex to use, leading to a lot of meme’s like this one.

You can follow anyone on any server (provided that server hasn’t been banned or something), but you do so from the server your account is on. This means you have to choose a server to join. Like most people, this held me up for a day or two, until I learned that you can migrate accounts between servers while retaining your connections. It’s not a casual move (I think you can only do it once a month), but it’s not starting over. With that in mind, I chose one of the general interest servers listed at the JoinMastodon site. The site claims to have vetted these servers, so supposedly you can’t go wrong.

Interestingly, while Mastodon largely eschews the prestige markers Twitter has, like that verification checkmark, I’m starting to see a sort of prestige system develop with special servers that you can only get an account on if you’re qualified. Some are invitation only. Some things never change.

The biggest difference it probably makes right now is that most of the general public servers are having periodic performance and stability issues from the huge influx of Twitter refugees flooding in, something an invitation only server is probably less vulnerable to.

One difficulty with the service is finding people. On Twitter, if you just search for someone’s name, you stand a decent chance of finding them. Although not always; not everyone’s name is distinct. With many famous people, the Twitter verification mark could help, but with the changes being implemented, that utility is disappearing. And many interesting people never had it anyway.

On Mastodon straight name searches mostly don’t work. Instead you have to find their Mastodon address through some other means. There are services that will search the Twitter profiles of your followed accounts and report their Mastodon addresses, if they’ve noted them there. I’ve had pretty good luck with Debirdify. I’ve also found a number of people by just looking through the followings and followers of other people’s profiles.

A broader difficulty is just dealing with the federated environment. You can navigate to anyone’s public profile on their server and view their toots (the Mastodon name for a tweet). But you can only interact with them back on your own server. If that info hasn’t made it to your server yet, you can copy and past the URL to any user, hashtag, or toot, into your server’s search field, which will cause the server to retrieve it , and then you can interact with it.

It seems like there are things the software could do to make this easier, such as federating not only the content but also logins so we could interact anywhere. That said, it isn’t that difficult once you get the hang of it. Of course, I’m saying that as someone with a technology background. It’s definitely more work than anyone has to do on Twitter.

There are services available to automatically cross post your tweets to Mastodon as well as your toots back to Twitter. The most popular seems to be this one. It seems to work fairly well, although my boosted toots (the equivalent of retweets) don’t seem to come over. Another one often used is this one, although it only seemed to work briefly when I tried it.

Okay, so I’ve talked about a lot of complications. Why use Mastodon, aside from hedging your bets against Twitter going dark?

Well, it has some nice features long sought after on Twitter. One is a toot can be up to 500 characters, which is pretty nice. (Some servers apparently raise that substantially higher.) You can also edit your toots after you’ve published them; there’s an indicator letting people know the toot was edited, in case they want to see the original, so this feature can’t be used for shifty purposes. You can also pin multiple toots to your profile (up to five).

You can control the visibility of a toot (although Twitter also has this to some extent). And you can put up content warnings for anything sensitive, even if it’s just expressing a political opinion, allowing people to decide if they want to be exposed to it. And sensitive or NSFW images can be blurred so people can decide if they want to see them. The culture of Mastodon encourages the use of these mechanisms.

You also have the ability to self verify to some extent. When you link to your own website in your profile, if you have the website link back in the right manner, that link shows green, letting people know you and the person who runs that site are one and the same.

None of these are life changing, but they’re available for free. You also don’t have the service pushing ads and other content at you that you don’t really want to see. One consequence is that hashtags are important again for having your toots be discoverable. The overall experience seems calmer, more sedate. In many ways, it reminds me of Twitter in its earliest incarnations.

Will it be the next Twitter? I doubt it. At least unless Twitter completely crashes and burns. If that happens, I think Mastodon could end up evolving substantially as bigger tech companies moved in to provide services. The evolution might be similar to email and the web, where things eventually consolidated into a few large providers.

But in the short term, most of the people I follow on Twitter are academics and authors, and I could see that community making Mastodon their home, leaving the celebrities and politicians back on the other site. Even that isn’t a guarantee yet. So far only about 10% of my connections seem to be there. Only time will tell.

Anyway, for anyone who’d like to connect, I have a link to my Mastodon profile in this site’s sidebar in the Follow section. (I’m not putting it in the post, because I might well shift servers at some point and don’t want to have to remember to update it here.) It’s also on my Twitter profile.

What do you think of Mastodon? Or the stuff happening at Twitter?

Featured image source

42 thoughts on “The Mastodon experience at one week

  1. Personally, I always thought forums were the best platform for intelligent discussion. The world decided otherwise. Blogs can be workable, but forum technology is superior. I never got the appeal of Twitter, Facebook is ok for posting photos of your cat, and for connecting with your old high school friends who are now on social security.

    A deeper problem with all these technologies is that, um, on average we human beings just aren’t all that interesting. Nobody’s platform is going to be able to fix that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had some great discussions in forums. But it seems like it took a lot of work on somebody’s part to keep the trolls out. For example, the Discord servers I’ve seen be successful mostly seemed invitation only. The danger there is being in an echo chamber.

      Of course, a blog post is effectively a forum with the blog owner acting as the moderator. But most of the discussions I’ve had on personal blogs have been pretty good without too much effort. At least on blogs that aren’t too high profile.

      I thought Twitter got better for discussions when the character limit doubled to 280. (140 didn’t seem good for anything but sniping.) 500 is better. Still, it’s limiting. Many of the discussion we have here involve much larger exchanges. But the visibility is a lot lower.

      Definitely nothing is going to be perfect. One of the issues I’ve long had with Twitter is people intersperse their philosophical musing with reports of their dentist trip, putting a lot of noise in the channel.


      1. Thanks for your reply Mike.

        Well, yes, in any environment somebody is going to have to moderate to keep the quality at an acceptable level. I hear you on invitation only. I tried to create an invitation only intellectual forum and ran in to these challenges.

        1) I’ve been doing this too long, and probably no longer have the patience required.
        2) People aren’t big fans of applying to be judged.
        3) Everybody wants to wait until the forum is established, and then maybe they’ll join.
        4) The most interesting people abandoned Internet discussion in 1999. 🙂

        Thanks for the intro to Mastodon, as I hadn’t heard of it yet.


        1. On replying, my pleasure. I enjoy having conversations.

          On 1), I’m with you. I wouldn’t have the patience for it either.

          With 2), the trick is finding a way to make them comfortable so they don’t feel like they’re being judged, that they’re being listened to. Can’t say I always succeed at that.

          3) is definitely a problem.

          Interestingly enough, the 90s was when I abandoned online discussions for several years. It wasn’t until c. 2011 that I started getting back into them again. Not that I’m particularly interesting by any stretch. Just an old geek that likes talking about geeky stuff.


          1. Hi again Mike. I’m glad we share this interest. We seem to have a number of things in common.

            What are your thoughts on the following?

            PREMISE: The best platform for intelligent discussion is proposed to be a forum using an invitation only membership model.

            Forums seems superior to blogs in creating content as they allow all members to start threads so the content is not limited to the interests of a single person. And forums have additional helpful features, which I won’t go in to as I’m sure you and others are already aware.

            An invitation only membership model would seem to dramatically reduce the amount of moderation needed, which helps keep the project sustainable. No fighting spam bots for example. No managing every random Tom, Dick and Harry on the net. Invitation only wouldn’t be a perfect utopia or anything, but it should eliminate most of the problems from the start.

            A forum could be, in part, a collection of blogs. Members who consistently contribute the best content could be rewarded with their own section of the forum to manage to their taste. Other members could aspire to this status, thus raising the quality of the forum as a whole.

            Such a forum could have a Facebook page which highlights the most interesting threads on the forum, and feeds those interested in to a “Open To The Public” section way down at the bottom of the forum. Visitors could use this section to demonstrate their skill, and apply for an invitation to become a full member. Invited full members who start fights etc could be demoted to the Public section for a time rather than banned. You know, purgatory, a place to rest while contemplating one’s sins 🙂 (former Catholic here too).

            Anyway, this is turning in to a book so I’ll conclude here for now. If any of this is of interest we can discuss further if you want.


          2. Hi Phil,
            My concern with an invitation only forum is the danger of echo chamber. Who would be invited? Who makes that decision? And as you noted above, what’s the motivation of the invitees for participating in closed discussions? The Discord ones I’ve seen really just did it by inviting their friends (with the echo chamber). And of course there are plenty of closed discussions involving world renown experts on particular topics, but I know I at least am not qualified for any of that.

            The collection of blogs idea is interesting. It reminds me of the old blogging sites like scienceblogs or freethoughtblogs. Although these are only semi-closed, since anyone can read and comment. (With the individual blog owners still having to moderate on their individual site.) Or are we talking about non-public blogs that someone has to log in to see?

            So yeah. Not sure if I’m interested. But open to being convinced.


          3. Hi Mike,

            The echo chamber issue would be up to the forum owner and whoever is on their team. Some forum managers probably would create an echo chamber, while others would invite a wide range of people. There’s nothing about the invitation only concept which makes an echo chamber inevitable, it’s up to the people involved.

            As I see it, the motivation to join for invitees is the experience of high quality discussions than are typically available. A key challenge seems to be that invitees have to be able to see high quality discussions already underway before they will join. So I think such a forum would have to be launched by an existing community of folks to get the ball rolling. Even a handful of thoughtful writers who like to engage regularly would probably be enough.

            As I envision it, the entire forum would be available to read for all. Any visitor could request an invitation to become a full member. Maybe unknown visitors who desire inclusion could display their ability in a public section at the bottom of the forum?

            The “blogs” would just be sections of the forum (a collection of threads) managed by a particular member. So if, for example, if an expert on XYZ did join, they could perhaps be invited to lead and manage a section specifically about that topic. Another example, maybe there could be a section which is limited to those with philosophy degrees.

            One of the challenges would be that the forum team would have to give some careful thought to how they would define desired members. What is the right balance between quantity and quality of conversation? How to define quality?

            So this is a bigger vision than a blog, but it wouldn’t have to all happen at once. A small group could start some conversations, and build from there.

            I’m typing all this because I’ve spent years looking for a place where I’d never run out of intelligent people to talk with. I don’t care about owning it or being in charge, I just want such a place to exist.

            I’m a retired forum software developer so I have some skills, but they aren’t really needed. I know of a host who will take responsibility for all the technology, which is a role I no longer wish to play. I can be a useful part of such a project, but I can’t do it on my own. My social skills are modest, and my networking skills are less than modest.

            For now, I’m just happy to talk about such things with anyone who is interested in doing so. That’s enough for now from here.


          4. Hi Phil,
            Well, I know I’m not the person with the right skills either. Although I might well be interested if someone else put something like that together. And I suspect there’s a hunger for it. Philosopher Keith Frankish, a few months ago, tried to put together a Discord group to discuss consciousness (illusionism in particular). But he quickly ran out of time to review all the interested applicants and just shared the invitation link to all his Twitter followers.

            It lasted a few days before it caught on fire. After a week he asked if anyone else were interested in taking it over. But by then, most of the grounded folks had fled.

            I’m the same way. I’ll take conversation anywhere I can get it. It’s one of the chief reasons I blog!


        2. Hi again Mike, I suspect no one person really has all the right skills for creating what I’m describing. Maybe what’s required is some existing organization to take the lead? You know, some structure which doesn’t depend on any one person.

          I dunno. All I really know for sure is that I’m chronically dissatisfied with the other available options. Maybe that’s good? If I found what I’m looking for I might type myself to death. 🙂

          Thanks for engaging this subject, much appreciated. Keep us posted on your social media explorations. Maybe there’s a social media site somewhere which is aimed at we long form typoholics?

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know much about Mastodon, so I won’t comment on that.

    I never did join twitter, but it is very public so I will comment on that.

    When Elon Musk first showed an interest in twitter, it looked to me as if he did not understand it. He appeared to think that the moderation was giving it a left-wing bias, whereas I saw the moderation as an attempt to control the disinformation. Musk should have left it alone. My expectation was that if he bought it, he would probably destroy it.

    So here we are. I’ll be watching to see if Musk can recover his “investment”.

    I agree with other commenters, that forums and blogs are better places for serious discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My take is that Musk understands Twitter at a certain level, at the flashiest level of a service with famous people poking each other and the rest of us in the audience. I don’t get the impression he has much of an idea of the various communities that have arisen, or how much Twitter depends on those communities for keeping the members coming back.

      I read something last night that indicated Twitter’s real current worth is about $8 billion, which means Musk got fleeced. It makes sense given that he tried to back out of the deal. What do you do when you’re $36 billion in the hole with a company? One solution is to squeeze and not worry over much about the people who just flee. I hope that isn’t what’s happening, but it’s compatible with what we’ve seen so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That server selection threw me, so I balked on signing up to mastodon. (what a strange name)
    Twitter’s use as a notification platform, the TXT format which fits with SMS, and the general, topical, light-on-information-coverage, heavy-on-timeliness, all spoke to me as a social tool that should be turned into a public utility.
    I hold a similar opinion of Musk. The dude made a huge mistake with TWTR, though. “I wrote software for 20 years,” he says. Yeah, well, that was 20 years ago.
    And he’s getting sued for his outrageous “salary” at TSLA due to his absences from that company.
    AI must be part of the solution, in my opinion, as to how to deal with the vetting of users and posts. I’m sure they’re trying to use it — but, I don’t see evidence that it’s working.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, as I noted, changing servers isn’t a casual move, but you do get to migrate your connections (if you want to). The bad thing is your old posts (toots) don’t come over, so that will be an impediment for many people. Although the content on these platforms feels so ephemeral, that doesn’t strike me as much of an issue. (Another feature Mastodon has is an option to autodelete toots after a certain age, another feature people have wanted on Twitter for a while.)

      The biggest problem with the algorithms is that they’re not optimized for us. They’re optimized for pushing the content the provider and their advertisers want us to see. Sometimes our interests coincide, but often they don’t. I personally like to be in control of what content I’m seeing. But the platforms that give you that are hard to monetize.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I disengaged with Twitter after finishing writing my book ‘Election 2016: the great divide, the great debate’. It was useful to follow what everyone was saying, unfiltered, during the campaign, election, and first year of the Trump presidency.
    Now, I’ve no use for any of the Social Media. They have all become a bad joke – and the joke’s on thoughtful, critical thinkers.
    I like this platform, and YouTube to keep informed. And Goodreads to some extent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t quit social media, but I definitely mostly unfollowed political people after 2016. The political stuff just wasn’t good for my state of mind. Now, before I follow someone, I actually check their timelime to see what they write about. A lot of people say they’re interested in philosophy and science in their profile, but constantly rant about politics.

      For several years, it worked pretty well. But more recently, Twitter doesn’t seem to like that I don’t pay attention to that stuff, or sports, music, or other things it thinks I should be interested in, and finds ways to sneak them into my timelines.

      Youtube can be bad about it too. I once watched a few minutes of a Joe Rogan video because he interviewed a neuroscientist I read, and had Youtube shoving his crap in my face for weeks afterward. Lately it’s been shoving a commentator I find obnoxious at me, because I watched a couple of his videos months ago. But a lot of stuff I am interested in, only comes up when I explicitly look for it. I smell advertising money.

      I agree WordPress is pretty good, but mostly because we choose what we read. So far, Mastodon appears good in that regard too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Twitter never made sense to me when compared against blogs. How might I discuss an issue with someone if we have to be aware of tight character limitations? I’ve been informed that the value of twitter is for making announcements rather than having discussions. And sure, in the past a public that wanted to know everything about celebrities had to settle for second hand reports rather than what celebrities would write daily. So I guess I do see the potential public value of such a service. Furthermore fans could then feel like they were saying things that their idols actually read. Maybe they’d even get a response! Sure. And the celebrities that put in the time might become far more popular by interacting so it could even go both ways.

    I’ve liked that Mike’s blog site has shown his tweets so I might check what he’s been reading in case anything sounded interesting to me. I started doing Twitter a bit couple of years ago when I realized that the only way I’d find out what Johnjoe McFadden was up to was to follow him on Twitter. I am happy that I’ve had such an opportunity, but no the platform doesn’t seem set up for a person like myself. And like Facebook they aren’t happy with pseudonyms. Unlike for blogs I guess they don’t find them easy to monetize. Twitter barely let me go with “P Eric”. The best I found with Facebook recently was “Eric Filosopher”. Maybe Mastodon could do better on that front? If it gets anywhere I suppose I’ll be late, as always.

    So Musk might have gotten soaked for 36 billion on this? Ha! Wikipedia says he’s worth $219 billion! It’s all about feeling respected though. Evolution hasn’t completely let the rich off for fucking up. This seems like a deal that could kick his ass pretty good! 😜

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the announcement thing was definitely true during the era when Twitter only allowed 140 characters and didn’t have good threading functionality. I never understood how anyone was able to have meaningful conversations with those constraints. The conversations I saw tended to just be people sniping at each other.

      When the limit went up to 280 and threading became easier, it seemed like the ability to communicate intelligently did increase. But it’s still a limitation, and it requires a certain type of skill to be succinct in a way that makes it workable. That said, a lot of people I interact with are completely comfortable replying to me with several tweets.

      I just had a conversation about consciousness on Mastodon, and the 500 character thing made it much more enjoyable. I never had to resort to multiple toots, and my conversation partner only did once.

      But as you note, my principle use of Twitter for several years has been in sharing stuff I’ve read (or written in the case of blog posts). That doesn’t drive a ton of interaction, but it’s a useful reading log. Glad you find it useful!

      I didn’t know Twitter was putting pressure on pseudonyms (other than for verified accounts). I used to change my name a lot in the old days, often using some variation of SelfAwarePatterns as the actual name. But I noticed people were more willing to connect and converse with a real name and so started using it.

      What someone is worth is different from how much liquidity they have. Musk had to find financing partners to purchase Twitter. I read somewhere that he’s going to be under pressure from those partners to make it work. I wonder how much Twitter as we currently understand it will still be around in a year.


    2. Phil Eric, it might be useful to remember that old saying that there is not such thing as a free lunch. On Twitter (and Facebook) you are not the user—you are the product. The so-called service is designed with all of its sophisticated algorithms to deliver you to the great beast of the marketplace.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m looking for something like a twelve step program to wean myself from Twitter. I went cold Turkey on Facebook several years ago. Many times I was tempted to fall off the wagon!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Can’t say I’ve ever really felt the addictive pull of either Facebook or Twitter. Facebook in particular has always repelled me. I keep a page there for people who want to follow the blog that way, and the regular account for the occasional friend or family who wants to contact me there, but rarely go into it.

          Honestly, if Twitter wasn’t where many of the academics and authors were, I wouldn’t have any interest. I’ll go wherever those communities end up.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. There are softwares which will allow you to block your computer from visiting particular sites for a chosen period of time. Don’t ask me how I know this. 🙂

          A free such software on the Mac is called SelfControl. A weird title cause if I had self control I wouldn’t need the app.


      2. No question about that Matti! I’m actually the last person who would ever object with Twitter trying to make money from patrons like me. I’m utterly repulsed by standard advertising given that it virtually always comes with the bullshit theme of “We’re here to do good for you rather than ourselves”. It mortifies me to be apart of a species which is clueless enough to constantly fall for such nonsense. It is what it is though.


  6. So it seems like Mastodon is a weird mix of Discord, Reddit, and Twitter, but also worse? I guess I’ll probably get an account there eventually for the same reason I have an account anywhere. Self promotion. I don’t like social media, especially not if it takes time and effort to set up and maintain.
    It does seem weird that academics would be going to Mastadon instead of Reddit, which seems to have most of the same advantages but is more established.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never really gotten into Reddit, except as an occasional lurker (mostly with the old AMAs). I know it’s popular with many techies. I’ve historically found the quality of the various subreddits to vary a lot, which might have something to do with it, but I’m saying that as someone who hasn’t really spent much time there in several years. And it’s not as if Twitter doesn’t have its share of flame wars.


    2. It seems weird to me that academics abandoned forums for social media.

      It’s surely true that many forums, probably most of them, were pretty poorly managed and so their bad reputation is deserved. But you’d think with the zillions of hours academics are investing in social media they might have used that time to create at least one place where they could be academics, and communicate in long form instead of sound bites.

      It’s not that hard. A single forum could accommodate all of academia. It would be really interesting to see all the different disciplines coming together and interacting at one location. Most of the quality problems that afflicted forums could be solved simply by limiting membership to academics. Most of the needed management duties could have been outsourced to the free college educated labor that academics have access to.

      There could have been no advertising. No bots filling your feed with junk you don’t care about. No high school kids posting photos of grandpa’s silly hat. No mega-corporations harvesting your online activity for sale to third parties. No billionaires getting even richer. No Musk. No Zuckerberg. All the stuff we all claim to hate about social media didn’t need to happen.

      At least for academia, instead of sound bite posts and lazy little link list blasts there could have been intelligent in depth ongoing conversations among people well educated on the topic at hand. From which one might conclude…

      The problem is not online platforms. It’s us.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t had much time or energy lately to keep up with what’s happening with Twitter, and from what I’ve heard so far about Mastodon it sounds complicated. I don’t have the time or energy for that right now either. But soon, I’ll look into it. Even if Twitter survives, I think it would be good for me to spread out and explore other social media. In fact, even before Musk took over, I was thinking about exploring other options. I used to really like Twitter, but in the last few years I’ve had a harder and harder time avoiding the toxicity.

    So when things settle down in my real life, I’ll check out Mastodon. Some of the features you talked about sound really nice to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m totally sympathetic to not having the time or energy. And it probably would pay to wait until you have mental and emotional bandwidth for trying something new. I saw someone last week sign up because they felt they had to, and then felt completely overwhelmed. They largely retreated back to Twitter for now.

      That said, the bark of Mastodon’s complexity is worse than its bite. I think anyone who can figure out email subscriptions can handle it. It has a lot of potential. It kind of feels like the web in the early 90s, when AOL and Compuserve were much easier, but far more limited.

      Anyway, sorry to hear things are still crazy. Hope it gets better soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for this! I hate social media and Twitter in particular. I have sometimes found it very useful however, so Mastodon might be of use. “One rich guy” – sigh. The world never changes. I have increasingly become a “communist”. Please note the small “c”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Hope you find it useful.

      Yeah, my relationship with social media has always been of the necessary evil variety. I’m hoping Mastodon will be a bit different, if for no other reason than the crowd it’s attracting. But if Twitter dies, the influx will almost certainly change it.

      That said, I used to largely be able to control my Twitter experience by the people I followed, before their UI started shoving other stuff at me. At least for now, your Mastodon experience is still controlled by who you follow.


  9. It seems to me that Donald Trump exists in a deluded and narcissistic class of his own. But then wait a moment… Elon Musk’s purchase and handling of Twitter seems to be making him a viable candidate as well. And while Trump has a tailor made group of Americans ready to support him, who shall come to the aid of the ridiculously wealthy Mr Musk? Apparently his ego will need to suffice. (To potentially save his sinking ship he hilariously put out an urgent call for coders. Instead he needs the skills of a well oiled PR machine. Welcome to the big leagues, rookie!)

    Of course the US survived Trump because our founders balanced the president’s powers against judicial and legislative branches of government. Not so for Twitter. Musk has struck fear into the hearts of a vast collection of powerful media personalities world wide, not to mention their fans. Even a good PR team should find that circumstance daunting.

    So Mike, if the big hurdle with Mastodon is choosing a server when most of us can’t be bothered to ponder such technicalities, what about yours? Which server did you choose?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eric,
      I’m currently on, which is just one of the general interest servers. (Due to load, I don’t think it’s currently accepting new accounts.) When choosing a server, I personally wouldn’t spend a lot of time looking for the one that is just right for you. As far as I can tell, a Mastodon server is like an email provider. I’d personally care more about competency than ideology.

      Check some of the general interest ones on that are currently open for signups. Be sure to read their About document on their policies. (The server’s sign up page should provide a link.) I’d also note what version of Mastodon they’re running. If it’s not at 4 yet, you might want to pick one where the admin is more engaged. Right now with all the load issues, that engagement matters. My server’s been upgraded several times in the last couple of weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

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