It’s been nearly a year since it became clear Elon Musk was going to buy Twitter, and I wanted to take a second and just say thank goodness for Mastodon.
I was skeptical that another Twitter-like service was something people (including me) wanted, but it turns out we very much did. There was some chaos at the start of the migration from Twitter, with new services cropping up all over the place, but Mastodon quickly became the hub for most of us in the Apple/tech circles I have loved being a part of all these years. Mastodon was a pretty mature platform, and we owe a big thank you to the people who had been using it regularly for years before The Great Elon Mess. I joined in January 2017, which was super early, but I didn’t really use it regularly. Other people did, and I’m glad they kept it going all that time.
And many Mastodon servers were not ready for us! In the last few months of 2022, bigger servers like mastodon.social would go down on a too frequent basis as users came to the platform in droves. Some tech pundits will scoff at the numbers (because anything with fewer users than Facebook is easy to laugh off, I guess), but these were the sorts of user adoption numbers most services could only dream of. But things seems to have gotten better, and stability doesn’t seem to be as big of an issue these days, which is great to see.
I love the idea of federation, and while things get real confusing real fast when it comes to non-social feed apps integrating into “the fediverse”, I love that this is all possible, and as I’ve written many times, reminds me of RSS, which is another open web tool that I adore.
Oh, and the apps! As someone in the Apple ecosystem, I feel like I’m overloaded with great apps for using Mastodon. Ivory is my app of choice, although Mona is a close second for me. Mammoth and Ice Cubes are pretty good newcomers, and Mastoot and Toot! have been there for years doing great work. Hell, even the official Mastodon app has gotten pretty good over the past year as well! I just love using a social network that gives third party apps the ability to do anything they want.
Oh, and there are no ads.
An interesting thing to ask is where us tech nerds would have ended up if Mastodon wasn’t here. Would Bluesky be our landing zone? IMO the app sucks in ways that people like me care about, and with no third party options, I think we would have gotten frustrated. Post News? Does anyone use this? I feel like this one dropped off the map, so probably not. Would Threads even exist? Maybe, and maaaaybe we would have ended up there. Truthfully, I think the most likely outcome is that we would have grumbled, but we would have gone back to Twitter. We wouldn’t have been happy about it, but we would have dealt with it.
So thank you, Mastodon. You’ve made it so us nerds have a nice place to hang out and yammer on about the silly things we love to obsess over.
Please note Mastodon isn’t perfect and this post is not meant to suggest it is. Of course there are issues that I would like to see improved, but not every post is going to contain the full context of the entire world. This is a celebration post, that’s all.