I joined Twitter back before it was a social media juggernaut. I don’t remember how many years ago that was, but I blogged about it back at least as far as 2007… which was a long time ago. Twitter was the social network that allowed me to make friends, meet interesting people, learn and grow… also to get irrationally angry, unduly stressed, and unnecessarily anxious at times. Learning how to use it for my own improvement and not to my own detriment was a continuous process.
Twitter’s decline over the past few months under Elon Musk’s ownership has been well documented. Functionality was axed. Content moderation staffs were fired. Longstanding rules were set aside on the boss’s whim. Nazis had their suspensions lifted. Third party apps (the only way I used the service, anyway) were cut off without any notice or announcement. The reasons to be done with Twitter grow more numerous every day.
I haven’t closed down my Twitter account, since closing it releases the username back to the wild. Not that I’m so well known that my username is desirable for someone else to take up, but still. But I locked the account down, deleted the apps from my devices, and just don’t go to Twitter in my browser any more.
I was an early adopter of Mastodon, too – at least as far as creating an account back in 2019 when it released, then forgetting all about it. When the Twitter shenanigans started I decided to dive into the fediverse in earnest. I’ve written previously about setting up and administering a small Mastodon instance at IowaDon.org. It’s humming along with about a dozen active users. That doesn’t sound like many (and it isn’t), but thanks to the magic of the fediverse, we interact with hundreds of thousands of other users who are members of other Mastodon servers around the world.
Mastodon has largely replaced Twitter as my daily social media tool. Some of my old Twitter network came across and we reconnected; I’ve also found a bunch of new interesting folks to follow. There are still a few people who haven’t made their way from Twitter to Mastodon who I really miss. Here’s hoping one of these days they also make the jump.
App Recommendation: Ivory
Finally, a practical suggestion if you’re an Apple user. For years I used an app called Tweetbot to browse Twitter. Tweetbot was one of the third-party apps that got summarily dispatched without notice a couple weeks ago when Elon pulled their plug. The developers of Tweetbot cranked up their efforts on a Mastodon app called Ivory, and it released today. I’ve been using it in beta for a few weeks now and it’s excellent. I happily subscribed at the highest level (don’t worry, dear, it’s only $25/year) as soon as I downloaded the released version today. Developers gotta eat, too, and for an app I use every day, 7 cents per day seems like a pittance. If you’re using an iPhone or an iPad and want to use Mastodon, I’d highly recommend it. (There are lower-priced subscription levels if that is a hindrance.)
Here’s to new platforms and new (and old!) friends. If you’re in the fediverse already, you can follow me at @email@example.com. You can follow my blog at @firstname.lastname@example.org, too! And if you’d just like to give Mastodon a try, you’re welcome to sign up for an account at iowadon.org!