Mastodon is like the first internet, and that’s a good thing

In 2017 I signed up mastodon.cloud, an early “instance” (aka server) for Mastodon. The concept seemed convoluted: a decentralized social network (whatever that means), even if at the time it was just another thing to join. So, like many tech geeks, I parked a username in case Mastodon ever took off, which seemed pretty unlikely.

Fast forward to 2022 and I don’t need to reshuffle the drama of Chirping after Elon Musk took over. I don’t really like the fake controversies and the daily indignation. I mostly laughed at the folly of seemingly random and contradictory new policies like banning other social network sharing, only to be rescinded less than 24 hours later (but not before banning some users, of course). There’s also the seemingly retaliatory suspension of journalists for settling small personal accounts or whatever Twitter Blue is these days.

And when Twitter became hilariously mismanaged, it became less valuable and less fun, at least for me. Many of the personal accounts I’ve followed have started posting less (or not at all). My timeline has become automated brand posts – an endless RSS feed of news. Those who were tweeting were talking about Elon Musk, a topic I’m so exhausted on, like so many others. And the few times I tweeted, the interactions and sharing reflected what felt like a mass rejection of whatever Twitter was turning into with less interaction.

Mastodon bio page on the Megalodon Android App. (Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

I’ve always noticed that you need two significant events for a paradigm shift. First, the existing paradigm, in this case Twitter, must suffer a crisis. Number two, you need a viable alternative that does something better compared to the previous system. This change has happened with Myspace vs. Facebook, Netscape vs. Internet Explorer, FTP/Gopher/Newsgroups vs. WWW, IRC vs. SMS/Message apps, etc.