Three thoughts from a Mastodon newbie

I’m not the only one who’s moved from Twitter to Mastodon in the past few days, I know. But maybe these three ideas will be useful to others.

First: it’s not that hard! Come on, the water is beautiful! I’ve seen a lot of things that seem intimidating about the learning curve but the interface and experience are really no different than the good parts of Twitter.

Yes, you need to choose a server but you can always change if you don’t like your first choice – it seems very easy to do. Ask a friend, take a look at what people you may be following have already done (I’m on the EconTwitter server…), or dive into the action. Learning by doing is the way!

Second: In a certain way, it’s much more difficult than it should be: You can’t bring your Twitter network with you. Think email; If you switch email, all your old incoming emails can be automatically forwarded to your new address. You can transfer all your old contacts. It’s absolutely no problem to send an email from Gmail to Outlook and back again. We just take it for granted. Same story with your mobile phone; You can switch provider and no one will know yet.

Likewise, you should be able to send Mastodon toots to all of your Twitter followers, and read all the tweets you like through the Mastodon interface. The same story should be true for Facebook, Instagram, and everything else. (Here’s a nice article by CoryDoctorow on that point.) It’s a stunning failure of public policy where regulators don’t enforce interoperability from Facebook, Twitter, and the rest. This stuff should be pretty easy, but it’s no mystery why big tech companies want it to be hard.

Third: stop and think for a moment. If you loved Twitter and hated what it became, or you still love Twitter but are afraid of what will happen next, you should definitely try to recreate your network on Mastodon. But… did you like Twitter? Or did you feel like it was something you should do?

If you’ve slipped into a Twitter habit by accident, and feel like it’s a worry and waste of time that’s got in the way of what you truly valued… this is a great moment to stop. The world will still be here.

If you like what I do – for example – my books, cautionary tales, more or less, FT column, and RSS/email updates to my website will still be here. The same goes for other creators and commenters you might want to keep in touch with.

Twitter has never been the best way to experience any of this, and while I’m a fan of Mastodon, it wouldn’t be the best way either. Make an active and considered choice, whatever you choose – and good luck!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *