A few clarifying points, because this blogpost is again extremely Mastodon-centric:
The network Mastodon participates in isn’t “the mastodon network”. It’s usually called “fediverse” and has existed for nearly a decade, with it’s initial implementation being GNU Social.
There are many other server implementations for this network, one can use any one of them to take part in the conversations. Examples are Friendica, GNU Social (or postActiv, a fork), Hubzilla and Pleroma.
The emoji federation mechanism was first developed in Pleroma, and Mastodon implemented it after that. The development of the whole fediverse isn’t bound to any one implementation, so check out the other servers, too.
Pleroma is really cool because it’s just Postgres and Erlang which is really fast and lightweight. Unfortunately all mobile clients target Mastodon and while Pleroma implements the Mastodon API as well it seems there are some annoying bugs. I would not be surprised if Mastodon is failing to implement their own API and the clients are just bug-for-bug compatible. It seems Mastodon is not good at following the OStatus/ActivityPub/etc standards so I suspect they have similar issues of their own.
I’ve been using Mastodon for a few months now, and it’s really fantastic in my opinion. The site loads much faster than Twitter, and it’s more responsive because it doesn’t load trackers and ads to monetize users. 500 char limit actually facilitates having meaningful interactions with people. The column UI layout lets you see the timeline and notifications without having to jump between screens.
Fundamentally, Mastodon is exactly the way social media should work in my opinion. Anybody can run their own instance and configure it any way they like. Since Mastodon is open source and community driven there aren’t any VCs driving it, and it doesn’t need to monetize to stick around. As long as people want to use Mastodon, it’ll continue to thrive. Any features added to the platform are there for the benefit of the users and on one else.
I also think that Mastodon happens to be at the right place and at the right time. Hosting has become very affordable nowadays. You can get a DigitalOcean VPN for 5 bucks a month. Docker makes the installation process a breeze, and Let’s Encrypt provides free TLS. You can literally spin up an instance in an hour or so. I wrote a short guide here https://github.com/yogthos/cheatsheets/blob/master/mastodon.social.md
We took a big detour with walled gardens like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s time to go back to the original spirit of the internet where anybody can run a server and people can interact with one another on their own terms.
I’ve been using Mastodon for a few weeks now, and I agree, I’ve moved almost all my social network interactions over to it! What’s your handle?
How did you move your contacts over?
It’s movement in the right direction.
You aren’t especially decentralised if you have 50k users on one domain.
I’m interested in decentralization in a sense that there isn’t a single entity that owns the platform as is the case with something like Twitter or Facebook. With Mastodon, anybody can run a server any way they like. There’s no one entity that decides on how things should work for everybody.
If you care about decentralization at the protocol level, you might like Scuttlebutt https://staltz.com/an-off-grid-social-network.html if you haven’t seen it.
Big fan of scuttlebutt.
I think there’s two important kinds of social media: “community” and “personal”.
Community sites work well when all accounts are centralised to one provider (eg a community specific mastodon instance, or a lobsters instance) to enable moderation, gatekeeping, and social status.
Personal social media benefits from full decentralisation (owning a domain or scuttlebutt private key) because your presence can outlive any specific host.
That is more than 100000 servers for the world population. Looks good to me.
Most of the servers are decentralised, but most accounts are on centralised servers.
The difference is more obvious when you want to move providers; in a decentralised system you point your identity at another provider (the protocols support this but mastodon does not).
The new version of the webapp is noticeably better. Weird stuff like sticky scrolling focus, layout bugs, etc are pretty much all solved in this release. Looking forward to using Mastodon more in the future.
As a new Mastodon user: Does anyone have users that they enjoy following?
For sure :)
I’d like to host a compatible piece of software on a low-powered laptop at home through a dynamic dns, for families and friends ( <50 users, running off a dual-core crapbook w/ less than 2 GB RAM, with about 10 Mbps upload power at most); does anyone have experience with this, will it blend?
Should be fine. OStatus is a pretty lightweight protocol.
what software are you thinking about?
Mastodon looks nice, if there’s something a bit more lightweight and similarly good-looking, I’d like that. Looks count if I’m trying to convince my family to convert
That should be okay for a small mastodon instance. Pleroma is a lot more lightweight and can run on a raspberry pi. You can still use the Mastodon apps with it, it supports the same API. here’s an example instance: https://social.sakamoto.gq/main/all
Mastodon / the fediverse seem very interesting. Does anyone here have any recommendations as far was what instance to use?
I enjoy https://tiny.tilde.website, an instance loosely associated with https://tilde.town.
You can use Mastoview to preview any Mastodon instance: http://www.unmung.com/mastoview?url=tiny.tilde.website&view=local
This is awesome an ssh based social community? I’m there! :) Thanks for the pointer.
Also thanks for this. IMO everyone should poke around at the various instances an see which one fits them best. I ended up at mastodon.codingfield.com - but I probably should have picked i.write.codethat.sucks
I’m on https://icosahedron.website/ which leans slightly towards math nerdiness.
I’d recommend against joining the flagship instance because it’s just so crowded. Not that being busy leads to a bad user experience, but just that piling everyone on the same instance defeats the purpose of federation. https://instances.social has a list which shows you if an instance has a particular topic or purpose.
The standard one is mastodon.social, I keep my main account on it. But there are a bunch of topical instances too, you can search for instances by interest.
Just avoid mastodon.social, it’s one of the worst instances.
As there is no central registry of users, discovery usually happens by:
Because of this, smaller, themed instance are usually the best too start. They usually form a server culture where people know each other, have people welcoming you, helping you, etc.
Mastodon.social is both MUCH too big and also completely unthemed. Both public and federated TL are a near useless mix of different languages and topics that’s going by to fast. With every new article, hundreds of new users come to mastosoc, post introduction posts, leave after a day and the cycle repeats.
They also block or silence (default-block unless followed) a lot of the more active older servers, so you are cut off from large parts of the fediverse.
I’m trying out Mastodon on the flagship instance (https://mastodon.social) and it’s pretty buggy compared to a few weeks ago. My Home timeline was showing as empty until I unfollowed and re-followed people. And after doing that, it’s only showing history from the latest follow, although the streaming new toots still seem to work for other followers.
Also trying a Remote follow now seems to get stuck on the /firstname.lastname@example.org page. It shows that I’m logged in, and shows the profile of the person I’m trying to follow. But there’s no button to actually do anything other than log out.
For now, Mastodon 2.0 seems to have some serious bugs to iron out.
Update: The above issues seem to be resolved now. It’s working normally again. Maybe the server was overloaded?
So do you folks tend to keep accounts on multiple instances, or use one instance and ‘remote’ around to chat with others?
I just have one account & remote-follow a bunch of people. I find the remote aspect transparent enough that I never really think about it, actually.
Personally, I set up a few accounts and settled on an instance with a bunch of interesting users and a theme I liked. It was witches.town. Remote follows work pretty well. I don’t think that’d be an issue with most instances.
I would like to see more apps/api level support for one user with multiple accounts, since there are instances I really liked but not as much as witches.town. It does let you import/export account data as a CSV if you want to move or your instance shuts down, though.
I use compatible protocols on my website and aggregator, and interact without an account at all :)