For years now the Twitter, which henceforth I will refer to as the bird place, has been a festering pile of negativity and vile toxicity looks like it is finally coming to an end. Or at least transforming into something that no one wants to use or access. When I first signed up for the bird place back in 2008 it was basically a text message your “tweet” microblogging platform. That’s why it was only 140 characters could be used with the remaining 20 characters reserved for possible internal use (metadata) or expansion.
My first tweet was pretty profound…
Playing with twitter for the first time!— Mark G. Davis ☮ (@markgdavis) February 26, 2008
From that moment it was a fun way to say you were having a burrito, goofing around, hanging out on a beach, or whatever. There was not much going then nor were there many people there. It was just an easy way to say to the world that my normal life is simply that. Eventually things started to take off when you had Obama leading a generation of hope and change which then we began to see more and more people jumping on the bird place bandwagon.
I would like to point out that for almost a decade after the bird place launched it was incredibly unstable with constant “fail whales.”
Eventually, the bird place became mainstream and a place for politics which lead to racist and misogynistic toxicity to take over. Trolling became a thing and this once fun and enjoyable place to just say “I’m having a burrito” became a toxic hellscape. I’m not even going to venture into or rehash the rise of the Cheeto jerk through the bird place because it brings me to the point of this article. The fall of the bird place to alternatives. Are there any? Should you leave the bird place? I flat out left Facebook because of the toxicity of that platform and I no longer wanted to enrich a the jerk at the top. I got to that point with Instagram as well, but I just keep the account open just because. The bird place is no longer going be my place to just post my life like I before.
First of all, I question the naming of the platform after an extinct animal, but I digress. Mastodon is a decentralized platform where you can set-up your own server to host an instance. A user just needs one account, but can follow, or ask to follow anyone and access a server from your one account. Yes, it is confusing, but it could make sense where instead of having an archaic/questionable verification process controlled by corporate interests that groups like government entities host a server hence validating identity. It will make sense longer term, but early on it’s confusing and there is a little bit of the echo chamber effect of only listening to similar voices.
Back in 2018, crazy that was four years ago!, I joined a Mastodon instance for design systems. Eventually the server become too expensive to maintain for the person that started it, but while the server went away all of my posts remained in the environment. It’s early on and if they can solve the non-silo/echo chambers I think Mastodon has potential. I’m going to use it more often now and less of the bird place.
Counter to social
Interestingly enough I stumbled upon a fork of Mastodon called Counter.social that you don’t have to set up a server and is one environment. There are VR worlds to explore and a giant feed called the firehose. Again, it has potential and it’s early on. I enjoy the firehose and Counter.social reminds me a lot of early on bird place in that it’s just fun again.
What does this all mean?
The bird place as we all know it is done. There are alternatives and it’s exciting because we are now approaching ways to just post you’re having a burrito without issue, again.