Friday, November 11, 2022

WIRTW #650: the “Mastodon” edition

Call me a Twitter Armageddon Prepper. I'm not ready to abandon Twitter … yet. Even with Elon Musk in charge, I have 14 years and way too much human capital invested to jump ship even I think the Chief Twitterer is a twit.

But I'm also not convinced that Musk won't burn the whole platform to the ground. He's laid off half of the company's employees, some of whom are warning that the website is "built on sticks, and might … fall apart." Advertisers (along with their crucial revenue) are fleeing it in droves. Musk is banning users in a manner that is antithetical to his "free speech" ethos. The company's cybersecurity chief quit, along with its head of trust and safety, chief privacy officer, and chief compliance officer. Heck, even the Muppets quit. And in news that should surprise no one, Musk's paid account verification system is an absolute mess. We're all aboard the digital Titanic.

The Bird is a hot mess, and not in a "rising phoenix" kind of way. It's more of a "deep-fried turkey that boils over and burns the house down" kind of way. Or a "Twitter will soon be bankrupt" kind of way.

Thus, I've been looking for an alternative … just in case. Like many, I've landed on Mastodon as a potential Twitter replacement.

Mastodon is a microblogging platform similar to Twitter in many ways. 
  • Mastodon has toots (compared to Twitter's tweets).
  • Toots are limited to 500 characters (compared to Twitter's 280).
  • You can favorite and boost other user's posts (as compared to liking and retweeting), but you can't quote.
  • Hashtags are still hashtags.
  • Mastodon's layout, look, and feel will appear very familiar on the web and on its mobile app to anyone who's ever used Twitter. Updates, however, are sorted chronologically instead of algorithmically 
The key difference, however, exists on Mastodon's backend. Mastodon isn't its own standalone website. Instead, it's a series of connected private servers that communicate with each other. When you sign up for a Mastodon account, you sign up to become a member of a particular server, privately hosted and moderated, and not part of Mastodon as a social media platform. Because all of the servers communicate with each other and you see posts from any server, as best as I can tell it doesn't necessarily matter the server to which you belong, and you're always free to switch servers at any time. 

And that's all I know. My account is parked at If you decide to give Mastodon a try, let me know by following me, and I'll be sure to follow you back.

Here's what I read this past week that you should read, too.

For Those of You Who Thought We Had Another Week Before Twitter Under Elon Got Really Bad, Read This — via Above the Law

Elon Musk tells Twitter staff to prepare for 'difficult times ahead' and ends remote work — via The Verge

The Weird Al leadership playbook: Lessons for Elon Musk — via Evil HR Lady, Suzanne Lucas

A six-year-old can create a hostile work environment. Wait, what?!? — via Eric Meyer's The Employer Handbook Blog

"We can't accommodate spitting" — via Employment & Labor Insider

Best in Beer 2022 — via Craft Beer & Brewing