For years now, Twitter has seemed as commonplace as the kitchen sink. Open the faucet and water just flows out. But now, the future of Twitter is murky, at best. Just yesterday, new owner Elon Musk reportedly told employees that given the run rate of loss, bankrupcy is a real possibility. That doesn’t mean Twitter will just disappear, but then it might mean that. Things seem too big to just vanish until they do.
I like our RSNStats community on Twitter and I’d hate to see it gone. So this week I investigated Mastodon, which is another kind of free social network.
I hope exploring Mastodon is just a fun technical exercise. I hope Twitter remains much as it is. As things stand, I’m committed to sticking with Twitter for RSNStats now and in the future. But there’s enough tumult around Twitter that it’s seems a good idea to have a backup.
In a lot of ways Mastodon looks and feels like Twitter but it’s different in a some important ways. Mastodon is not owned by any one entity, it shows posts chronologically, not according to some hidden algorithm, and it’s ad-free. You join the Mastodon community by creating an account on a Mastodon server and then can communicate with users on all other servers around the globe. The new RSNStats presence on Mastodon is at @RSNStats@opalstack.social.
As with Twitter, you can view RSNStats on Mastodon by browsing the web or, more conveniently, by downloading an app for your mobile device. There are many apps to chose from, I’ve been enjoying a free one called Metatext, for iPhone and iPad.
In a lot of ways, Mastodon feels a lot like Twitter in its early days. There are plenty of warts, plenty of things to work out. And while I’m no expert on Mastodon, I’m learning more every day. Given the circumstances, you might considering exploring for yourself. There are some good Mastodon explainers here, here, and here.