… Gotta Catch ‘Em All!
I’ve been trying out as many shiny new things as I can. There are a couple of reasons: I find that folks often ask me for opinions on new technologies; and, I have a view that unless I do try things, I may miss something that’s really interesting or that might have a future impact.
The events of last year and specifically last November when Twitter began to be burned to the ground, caused another surge of innovation and interest around possible alternatives. I’m not about to go through them all extensively in this post, but really just wanted to share where you can find me.
Where you (might) find me
Primarily, I’m on Mastodon, and have no plans to be anywhere else in particular (more about this in a moment). For the sake of balance and information, here are some other places you can find my content.
- I have accounts on Post and on Hive, but barely open either app. Hive doesn’t have a web presence for me to point you at, even. I’m not sure about the policies of either platform, and neither really stuck.
- I’m on Cohost. It feels very Tumblr-y. I haven’t used it very much, but I see a few interesting features, and it definitely doesn’t seem to want to be any of the other existing networks, it feels more new and different.
- I’m on
T2Pebble. Pebble was called T2 until today, but that was always a temporary name, which I realised. A couple of former Twitter people are involved over there. It feels very friendly, but so far I have a limited network, and drop in from time to time.
- I’m on Bluesky. Back when this was initially kicked off from inside of Twitter as the notion of a new protocol that would not be corporately-owned, it was very interesting to me, and I made some small efforts to talk to Parag about it when the initial recruitment was going on, and even referred some folks for conversations (who are not involved, in the end, possibly due to being more on the “existing standards are good” side of things – I have no idea). It feels very “early-Twitter crowd, but with more late-Twitter snark and memes”. I like it, and it has some good ideas, but:
- Jack Dorsey. He fooled me twice already, so I’m incredibly wary.
- The team’s efforts to stand back from having any kind of political / moderation position is, in my opinion, not a good one, and likely to lead to bad things on the platform(s).
- I’ll believe in the federated bit when I see it; I’m actively working in a current, large, federated environment across platforms, and it is complicated. I think there will continue to be pushback from users who just want a Twitter-like, single server, experience, vs any move towards true decentralisation.
- I don’t feel like I get a lot of engagement there. As with all of these different platforms, though, there’s an argument that I don’t get a lot of engagement because I don’t spend a lot of time there, which may be valid.
- I’m on Threads, because, Facebook and Instagram. It’s… OK. It started off really badly, only pushing celebs and other stuff I had no interest in. That has calmed down a lot, and I see a lot more folks I recognise from my other networks on there. I’m interested in seeing how Threads moves forward with federation and ActivityPub (and, noting that I work on the Mastodon project, I have to say that I’ve been pretty impressed with their approach and conversations around this so far). Definitely an app I pop into at least as often as Bluesky.
- I’m not on Nostr. See above re: Dorsey, and I don’t love the whole blockchain element to it either.
There are links to other places I have profiles – not just on social “microblogging”-style sites – at the end of my main landing page.
Fundamentally, though, I’m all in on the #Fediverse, which I believe offers far better opportunities for the future.
Mastodon in particular is really fantastic, with a number of vibrant instances and communities that align to my interests, from History to 3D Printing to Electronics to the UK. It is the site I check multiple times a day, and I’m loving it. I’ll have to share a follow-up post at some stage with some tools I use that make it even better.
Of course, I realise that it is also all about the network. I like the fact that in these ActivityPub-based platforms, I can save my followers/following easily, and migrate between instances (I’ve done that once already on Mastodon). A number of my former Twitter network are on Mastodon; some are on Bluesky, some Cohost, some Pebble, many on Threads due to Meta’s huge scale. I don’t see myself stopping using several of these interchangeably for a while. That’s OK.
A couple of additional points to round this out. I don’t use any of these services for private messaging in the way that Twitter DMs used to be a channel I relied on; I’ve moved to other, actual end-to-end encrypted messaging systems. Also, I don’t believe that any of these platforms are for “reach” as such – that was a pattern of behaviour and usage I allowed myself to think was important at Twitter. None of these are drop-in replacements for those features, if those are things you’re seeking. Be prepared to try something new!
In case you missed it: I am NOT on X. X was never something I signed up for, and I have no interest in using it. The owner actively encourages and enables hate speech, discrimination, and all the worst impulses of humanity – literally the very opposite of what I believe Twitter offered the world in its prime.