Monday, On Mastodon

We’ve reached the “hose off all your internal surfaces with mucus” stage of whatever respiratory bug this is, which is gross and hopeful at once. (It does NOT seem to be Covid; currently the evidence points to it being RSV.) Short, easy exercise sessions, plenty of hydration, and only the bare minimum of decongestant are in order–as well as the last of the garlic soup my daughter made, of which the last few days’ worth of consumption is no doubt leading allium byproducts out through my pores.

Bodies are weird, yo.

There’s been yet another massive wave of people joining Mastodon instances (servers). My own is closed because I can’t afford the cost of adding more members–most instances are entirely volunteer-funded, so the waves of new users make things creak and shudder a bit. But all in all, a highly decentralized system really is good at absorbing this kind of mass migration. There are those people who have joined just to complain1 but that’s the case in any situation like this. The learning curve for the fedi2 is a trifle uncomfortable at first, but no worse than it was for, say, early Twitter or Facebook.

The important thing is to find a few people to follow so your home timeline gets populated a bit–and to use a third-party interface if the regular web interface doesn’t work for you. (I like Mastonaut and Toot!, and a lot of people like PinaforeSocial.) And to remember that the fedi has its own culture, built up over the years3 and while people are helpful and kind there, they are also not willing to have a lot of Johnny-come-latelies tell them what to do.4 I really, really recommend watching and learning for a bit, following people, having your manners on, and muting/blocking at will. Those few things will help make your experience a lot better.

There are migration tools like Fedifinder and Debirdify available, if you want to find your Twitter folks who have migrated to the fedi–though the recent tantrums by that Musk fellow and the firing of three-quarters of Twitter staff, including those running API support, might make them a little wonky. All in all, we’re doing the best we can to help new users, though drive-by complainers and bad actors get short shrift.

…I did not mean for this to become a “here’s how to join Mastodon” post, but I’ve been asked several times over the past few days, including on my subscriber Discord channel, so it just worked out that way. I’m a little sad to see Twitter go–I had, after being there since ’09, just finally achieved some traction so I could tell people about my books.

On the other hand, algorithmic suppression and shadowbanning meant my Twitter posts were becoming as useless as non-paid posts on Facebook, which is saying something. The fedi doesn’t have an algorithm shoving shit down your throat all the time. It’s purely chronological, and it depends on organic measures like quality content, replying, and boosting. The people who are really successful at gaming SEO and algorithms–especially on Instagram–to get their stuff seen are having a super hard time with the transition to Mastodon, and a few of them have had tantrum-y meltdowns because of it. *shrug* They’ll learn, or they won’t.

I have deleted most everything except a pinned “here’s how to find me” post from my Twitter feed, and locked it for good measure since harassment was beginning to be a bigger problem than usual.5 If you want to find me on the fedi, I’m here. There’s also social media links on my About page, if you look down and to the right. (I’m also on CounterSocial, which I like for breaking news.) I spent some time yesterday changing Twitter links on my other social media feeds over to Mastodon links or scrubbing them entirely. I just can’t in good conscience stay on Twitter anymore, even for promo–though I do not recommend deleting your account there entirely, since after thirty days anyone can take your username and post rancid stuff with it.

Anyway, my coffee’s almost gone. Boxnoggin has come down the hall once to nose at towards brekkie. He wants walkies; the last couple days I haven’t felt well and he’s been a brat, so he hasn’t had a good long ramble. Today we’ll probably get one in.

Welcome to Monday, everyone. Please keep your limbs and digits inside the gondola, and try not to make direct eye contact with the upcoming week. (Sometimes temporal divisions regard that as a sign of aggression.) Keep your belt buckled and your popcorn handy. Something tells me this is gonna be a wild one…

  1. “It’s not like my Twitter experience, waaaah! Hold my hand! Make it eeeeasy for me!”
  2. Servers are “federated”, meaning they talk to each other with the ActivityPub protocol, which also lets a lot of other services talk to each other.
  3. I’ve had my own instance since 2017, my beloveds.
  4. Again, just like Usenet. Or Twitter. Or FB. Or Insta. Or any other social media.
  5. Though it keeps unlocking, probably because Twitter’s new boy king wants engagement and ad revenue. Oh well.