Prepare the lifeboats?

When do I leave Twitter? That’s a very good question and I don’t have a very good answer for it. But last night I decided to go ahead and create a Mastodon account just in case. It’s been less than two months since I wrote “Mastodon won’t save us“. I stand by everything I wrote there. But as Elon Musk continues to corncob at an accelerating pace, there may not be a Twitter to cling to much longer.

Where are my people?

Someone on Mastodon objected to my use of the word “lifeboat”. But that’s what it is. I care about Mastodon as a technology exactly as much as I care about Twitter: none cares. The important part is the social aspect. I ran my accounts through the Movetodon tool. Of the 2708 accounts I follow on Twitter, it found 380 Mastodon accounts. I’ve manually added 19 others. Most of them are my tech friends.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my tech friends. But what about the ~2300 others? My timeline gets a lot less interesting if 85% of the people I follow disappear.

Will I use it?

I know myself well enough to know that I crave the interactions of social media. Because I try to associate myself with kind people, my replies are almost universally soothing to my overwhelming sense of insufficiency. So even if Twitter survives, I’ll probably end up active on Mastodon without meaning to be. That’s how I roll.

One thing I’ve already noticed, though, is that I’ve skipped on posting a few things already this morning. I wasn’t sure if I should post to Twitter or Mastodon, so decided not to post at all. I have long believed that cross-posting to various social media sites is anti-social and I have no desire to maintain parallel streams of thought. I guess we’ll have to see how this plays out.

4 thoughts on “Prepare the lifeboats?

  1. I am almost tempted to join Mastodon. Almost. But the peace I’ve had in the last year or so since leaving social media altogether has been wonderful. For me and my mental and emotional well-being (YMMV), social media in general was a toxic waste-pit, with occasional gems floating in it, like yourself.

    For some, it’s all about the love. For me, it was Love Canal, and I’m glad to be shut of it. Watching Twitter completely implode at the hands of Elon Musk has been an interesting bit of schadenfreude.

    (And, has anyone else noticed that an anagram of his name is Mole Sunk? That’s my name for him, henceforth.)

  2. I quit Twitter a couple three years ago in a partial digital purge. I never got the hang of it anyway, and the negativity had spiked considerably in the Donald Trump era. I don’t miss it.

    I’m not sure if/when Twitter dies, there will ever be a 1:1 replacement for it. I’m no pundit or insider, but my experience suggests that Mastodon’s distributed nature requires too much understanding of how it works for the average person to be willing to dive in.

    I think the same will be true for Facebook when it inevitably dies. Die hard Facebookers will look for its replacement, which will not come. The online world will have moved on to new platforms with different engagement models.

  3. I agree. Mastodon is Twitter-like but it’s definitely not a 1:1 replacement. I think “normal” people will figure it out eventually, much in the same way that people now understand email.

    I’ll be interested to see if the renewed interest in blogs and newsletters remains or if it peters out after a few months.

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