Escaping Twitter & Musk Madhouse
Just about everyone with more than three brain cells, occupied by Trump, racism and christo-facism, has discovered Mastodon to be a positive alternative to the “dead bird” site owned by a RWNJ, antisemitic, racist loser.
There’s been a lot of articles and chatter about Mastodon so this post is to help people open a Mastodon account or migrate from the “dead bird” to Mastodon. Mastodon is different so like everything else in life, different things can seem confusing, difficult and/or annoying. Don’t let that stop you from trying Mastodon.
The biggest difference with Mastodon is the lack of algorithms. Algorithms are the “seemingly” helpful formulas used by social media (SM) sites to “help” users find posts that may be of interest to them. In theory, this sounds like a good thing but theory rarely survives the collision with reality. Keep in mind that SM sites, whether public or private, are designed to generate income and produce profit. They do this by showing more ads to users and that includes the same ads multiple times. An adage back in the day was that a viewer had to see an ad 7 times before it made an impression and, since most viewers didn’t sit glued in front of their televisions, it took about 7 broadcasts for a viewer to see it once. That meant an ad had to be presented 7 x7 times (49 broadcasts) to make one impression on a viewer. If anything, in today’s environment, the numbers are even higher. In order for SM to make money, they have to keep you engaged, i.e. sitting in front of the screen drooling. They don’t care you’ve had a lobotomy. That’s why some really weird shit comes across your feed. The site has “tweaked” the algorithm to feed you anything and everything that may or may not engage. Also, things that make you mad, angry, riled up, pissed off or otherwise in a foul mood engages you longer than unicorns and puppies.
Mastodon has no algorithms so it’s up to you to find sources you want to follow and feeds you want to see. This is done through Boosts (ReTweet to former twits.) By Boosting a Toot (Tweet to former twits) you’re basically giving that Toot and Tooter more exposure which, in turn, increases the potential for more users to follow them. There’s also Favorite button but that’s more or less a way for you to keep track of Toots you find interesting/useful while also acknowledging the original Tooter.
Other things new Tooters find difficult to wrap their heads around are instances, fediverse (don’t let the geekspeak turn you off) and Mastodon itself. Mastodon is the basic building block, if you will, upon which all these “instances” are built. Mastodon is open source software meaning it is/was designed, coded, produced and distributed by volunteers. Instances are individual installations of Mastodon. For example, not knowing what I was doing, I signed up for an instance named “toot.community” located in The Netherlands where the physical servers (special purpose computers) are located. It’s expensive to run multiple computers, all the associated hardware & devices and facility as well as software and manpower so the operation is funded by donations as well out of the founder’s pockets. As far as I know, every instance is funded by someone or a group of someones. There may be new instances set up by corporate entities but they can’t really gain control over Mastodon because of the Fediverse, the Federated Universe. Here’s a tool to find an instance that may meet your interest and needs. If you change your mind, moving from one instance to another is an easy process.
The fediverse is a federation of instances. Wikipedia defines federation as “…characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government…” In the case of Mastodon, instead of a political entity, the fediverse is a union of instances under the common Mastodon platform (software.) This allows all instances to link to and communicate with each other. Think of a telephone system where T-Moble and Verizon use different technologies (CDMA & GSM) but can connect to each other because they adhere to accepted standards. BTW, 4G & 5G are the new standards rapidly replacing CDMA & GSM.) The cool thing about fediverse is that while acceptable standards were promulgated by Mastodon, anyone can set up a Mastodon instance and host the most vile, nasty, offensive content ever but other instances don’t have to link to them. For example, Trump’s failed SM site Truth Social is a Mastodon instance but no one else links to or communicates with them. That effectively makes Truth Social a Mastodon pariah. No one else wants to engage with them.
Here are some “typical” Mastodon controls you should know. Since I’ve only been on the toot.community instance, I can’t tell you how other instances are implemented but these should be basic controls on every instance. In a future post, I’ll delve deeper into other quirks you might want to know about. I thought of Mastodon (toot.community) as a huge party where I didn’t know anyone so I just listened to what was being said, repeated it to the next person I met (Boost) and eventually got the hang of it. I just hope I didn’t piss off too many people in the process.
If you have questions (and you will) feel free to shoot me an e-mail or, better still, contact me at @Yoshi@toot.community. I promise I’ll either get you an answer or find the right person to answer your questions. You can also just Toot a “Hello” to me.