The Twitter shitshow re-taught me a valuable lesson: All institutions we have come to rely on can be burnt down in just a few weeks. That means their maintenance requires effort and not changing things also takes effort.
I know this reenergises me about my work on changing science: Science and academia are also institutions that require maintenance to not change. This reaffirms Science as a system of power, just like any other in our society (it's why we can learn much more from the labour movement than we think).
Standing on the shoulders of the sysadmins, I decided I was going to make the jump to Mastodon and reduce my daily Twitter intake.
I am not deleting Twitter, for the same reason I'm feeling a pull towards Facebook nowadays: My business requires a presence to be successful. What is the value of an individualized choice in our connected world anyway? It's not linear, but cyclical: Individual choices can galvanise system change (see my recent post on direct action) but you can't make all choices. Illusion of control and all that.
The transition to Mastodon is pretty great for me, I must say. I got a ton of dopamine when my introduction got a lot of attention (more than on Twitter) and I gained a ton of followers. Vanity aside, the platform feels like the Geocities of 2022. If you don't know what that is, I guess I've really transitioned from my early life. It feels indie: Fun, friendly, quirky. It might lose that of course as well.
The biggest downside I’ve noted is that I can’t easily schedule my posts, and I end up spamming when I get a bout of energy to be active. Bear with me for now 😊
All in all, I was hesitant to join because I wanted to make the perfect server choice. There is no perfect server I would like to tell myself.
It also does not really matter what server you choose. You can switch to another whenever you please. It's not like Twitter, where you're on or off. It's more like email if you have your own domain - just put your information elsewhere and point people there. Your email address remains the same.
That doesn't begin to explain Mastodon to you and sorry if you're looking for me to explain it here - I didn't intend to. I'm sharing thoughts as I try to keep myself to my 4th out of 10 posts I committed myself to. Maybe I can write some more about Mastodon, if people like this kind of stuff — I know it's on a lot of people's minds and I've come to realise I know things about this.
I'd be happy to consider a more detailed post if you let me know in the comments though. I might even do a behind the scenes on how to set up an instance and what the admins get to do, choose, and see. Because, if anything, you need to really trust your admins - they can do whatever they want with your data (and admins expose themselves to quite some legal risk if anybody can join too - content moderation and all that!).