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Feminized Feed · My online social life is almost all on the Fediverse (obligatory plug for our member-owned co-op Mastodon instance) and I find it generally satisfying. But back in early September, I noticed that my feed was extremely male-dominated. I set out to fix that and — a rare piece of good news — it worked! Herewith methods and numbers ...
Social-media Search Comparo · Bluesky, Threads, and Mastodon (as of last week) all have a built-in search capability. So now’s a good time for a first-look comparison ...
Mastodon Status Check · My social-media life has been Fediverse-first since last November. I stick my head into Bluesky and Threads regularly, but no longer bother visiting Twitter/X much. This piece takes a close look at Mastodon-land as things stand in late summer 2023. What’s working, what’s not, what are the alternatives? ...
Fediverse Governance · When there’s anything that you’re a member or citizen or user of, you should be concerned about who runs it and how it’s run. This is most obviously true of your nation, but also of your book club and your workplace. And, these days, the online place where you interact with your fellow humans: Social Media. This essay describes the Fediverse and its self-defence mechanisms, outlines a potential attack on it, which makes a nice case study on who runs things, and how ...
Bluesky Facts and Opinions · The Fediverse has exploded in discussion of Bluesky, now that it’s launched a beta and harvested a few celebrities. Quite a lot of Fediverse voices have been angry and hostile, pointing out that several years of intense effort have produced a working ActivityPub-based federated monopoly-resistant conversational social network, and asking who are these dweebs ignoring that work and re-inventing the wheel, probably in an attempt to enrich Jack Dorsey?! ...
Tweeting Effectively · Since I bailed out of Twitter last November, I’ve continued to use it in (nearly) write-only mode, usually to promote things published elsewhere, most often Fediverse/Mastodon stuff. Recently I learned a way to do this more effectively, where by “more effectively” I mean “more people see it.” Tl;dr: Don’t put any hyperlinks in your post — if you need them, post a thread with the links in the trailing tweets ...
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Fediverse Cheesemaking · Starting sometime April 7th you can call me a CoSocialist, because my new social-media handle is becoming @timbray@cosocial.ca. CoSocial is yet another fediverse outpost running Mastodon and with a blog. What’s different is that it’s Canadian, and a member-owned co-operative. Both of those matter to me, but the co-op part is the real story ...
Private and Public Mastodon · Here’s how to get into a lot of trouble:
Suppose you (like me) love the intellectual wealth found in free-form text on the Internet.
And (like me) are a reasonably competent programmer.
And (like me) have derived value and pleasure searching Twitter.
And (like me) you look at this nifty new Fediverse thing and see that it has nice Web APIs so you could build an app to vacuum up all the stories and laments and cheers and dunks and love letters and index ’em and let everyone search ’em and find wonderful things! So you lurch into the Mastodon conversation, all excited, and blurt out “Hey folks, I’m gonna index all this stuff and let the world in!”
That’s when you get your face torn off
Is Moving to Mastodon Ethical? · The big story occupying space in my mind (and on this blog) is the #TwitterMigration. As Twitter grows troubled and troubling, “Fediverse” technologies in general and Mastodon in particular are successfully attracting many users and providing a pleasant experience. Everyone is wondering out loud whether Mastodon can take the strain and whether it can provide cool new features. What we haven’t been discussing are two ethical questions: First, is it OK to bail out of Twitter? And if bailing out, is Mastodon a acceptable place to land? ...
Twitter Futures · I write this on December 16, 2022, as the landscape shifts convulsively, as Twitter becomes the main character on Twitter. It’s reasonable to wonder what comes next ...
Protect Me From What I Want · Over on Mastodon, there are many people who enjoy not being in the grip of software like Facebook or Twitter that single-mindedly tries to maximize “engagement”, which means the amount of time you stare at the screen so they can show you ads. These algorithms don’t care what they’re showing you and if it turns out that showing you exclusively stories vilifying or praising Donald Trump (depending) maximizes engagement, then that’s what you’ll see. So the chant over there is “No algorithms on Mastodon!” This chant is wrong, and the discussion around it teaches us that we need clarity on what algorithms are, what moral weight they can carry, and whether they can be avoided. (Spoiler: They can’t.) ...
Bye, Twitter · Today I’m leaving Twitter, because I don’t like making unpaid contributions to a for-profit publisher whose proprietor is an alt-right troll. But also because it’s probably going to break down. Read on for details ...
Mastodon Moment · My first Mastodon post (that I can find) dates from April 6, 2017. I try to check out interesting new life-online technologies, and this was one. But I found it sort of quiet and empty and didn’t say much. Now, following on Muskification, Twitter may become an unattractive online home, so it’s time to explore alternatives. I’ve been digging deeper into Mastodon (so have really a lot of other people) and this is a progress report ...
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