When I started this series, I had a rough outline in my head about what the posts would be, but that was weeks ago and Elon just re-christened Twitter as X and who even knows anything anymore?
I’ve pretty much resolved that the Fediverse, in some form, will be my main hang. I’m on mastodon (mastodon.social, even! The main one!) but I’m not necessarily wedded to it. I fee like, right now, the software comes closest to what I want out of a social media site. Actually, that’s not true. Based on my limited experience to date, I think my preference lies with Hometown, which is a mastodon form with a couple features I really want. Like exclusive lists.
Exclusive lists were a 100% requirement for me on Twitter, because I feel like my main Twitter feed is about what I want it to be, but I also want to kinda follow discourse in things that make me happy. Like Doctor Who or Star Trek. So I have Doctor lists. I don’t necessarily want the people on those lists in my feed, tho. With vanilla mastodon, you need to have someone in your feed to put them in a list.
You can make hashtag columns, tho. That’s what I’m using right now to make up that functionality. And my timeline isn’t really busy enough yet that just following anyone who seems interesting is a problem.
It’s not my intention to stay on mastodon.social. The plan is to run my own server with Ellen, but that’s not making a lot of progress, despite the fact that we’re paying for the server hosting. I should figure that out sometime.
I see a lot of people complaining about this or that thing they don’t like about some social media site and I can’t help but think that, ultimately, the solution to whatever that is far likelier to actually happen in the Fediverse than any walled garden, VC-funded social startup. Not least because, if you have the time and skill, you can just make it yourself.
Granted, this is an argument only a software developer is going to love, but, you know, guilty as charged. While I’m not personally going to be forking mastodon any time soon, it just seems to me that if you’re going to move to a social platform, nothing else seems worth the energy.
This is doubly true of media entities and institutions that actually stand to benefit by owning their media platform. JFC, why go to Threads? I know why, it’s because you already have an Instagram account. But you know how that story is going to end.
I get that it’s a little complicated to get started, because the first thing you need to do is pick a server. If you’re reading this, you could probably join my server when it’s up and running, but it’s not, so that’s no help. I’m happy enough with mastodon.social for now, but I’m not 100% convinced it is the best place to start. So maybe here are a few suggestions:
- If you’re in Ottawa, ottawa.place. It’s run by cool, smart people.
- If you’re elsewhere in Canada, mstdn.ca. I don’t know the admins personally, but they seem cool. And it’s got some level of backing from CIRA, which is not nothing.
- If you’re Canadian and don’t mind paying a bit of money and being party of something, cosocial.ca. A member-run co-op social media site is a fascinating experiment, and again, it’s run by cool people.
If you’re not Canadian, I guess I don’t have an answer for you right now. There probably is one, but I don’t have it. Check the moderation policies. Check the home feed. See if you like the vibe. Moving servers isn’t that hard. So maybe just sign up for mastodon.social and get a feel for things.
One last note, as this has gotten over-long, I’ve gone to the trouble of talking about the Fediverse, but only actually talked about Mastodon. That’s most of my experience, although I will say I really, really like Pixelfed, if you’re into an Instagram sort of thing that isn’t being bled to death by Meta. I’m @firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want to follow me there (or on Mastodon. Or RSS…)
Featured image is X by Janet McKnight. CC-BY.