You might have heard about Mastodon lately, often being called an alternative to Twitter. Wikipedia calls it a “distributed, federated social network” and “microblogging” – you can also just see it as a messenger or public discussion platform (or simply an alternative to Twitter, like many people do). Whereas Twitter is very centralized and run by a single company with questionable business practices, this is mostly community-run and you can either join some server or host your own. One key benefit is that because there are several instances (servers) your name isn’t taken for sure yet, you can finally be Thrall instead of Thrall301, just like with email. An even greater benefit is that you not only have the timeline of people you follow, but many instances aren’t just general interest, but dedicated to a topic, this could be a common hobby, pastime, or anything. And you get a local timeline as well, so you can easily discover the people who also joined THAT gaming instance that sounded interesting to you. Kinda like you could discover interesting content via hashtags in Twitter’s starting phase, before the spambots and angry masses that join every trending topic. See it more as “your chosen IRC server” or “a forum you frequent”, just that it’s tightly integrated into the rest of the world (you can @ mention people on your instance simply by using their handle, and you can @ mention people on other instance by using @ name @instance.tld) – but you can still stay in your corner if you like to.
It’s not a new thing per se, the underlying protocols and (palpable) ideas date back to 2008 – so if you ever stumble upon one of the terms identi.ca, ActivityPub, GNUSocial, StatusNet, pump.io, Friendica, pleroma – they’re either fully compatible or at least closely related. So people are using Mastodon like Kleenex already. Sure, it’s not wrong, but there’s more that serves the same purpose, but I have to admit Mastodon kinda looks and feels the nicest. The latest episode of AggroChat also talks about this for a while, and I mostly agree on everything they said.
Anyway, I’m @Nogamara@tabletop.social for now (but there’s no problem signing up on more instances than one). elekk.xyz is an instance dedicated to gaming, so you might want to check that one – or just have a look at instances.social and sift through a list. There’s also botsin.space as a dedicated space to host your useful and useless bots 🙂 I migrated my Discord TimeZoneBot already: @email@example.com – it doesn’t do much, but you can send it a time with timezone and it will try to convert it to a few common ones. Try it out!
I also love the fact that a post is called a “toot” like they’re called “tweets” on Twitter. Also don’t be surprised when people use “birdsite” a lot, some of them escaped Twitter and don’t want to look back and not even call it by name.
PS: Blaugust has started and this is my twentieth post.