Rebooting my use of Mastodon

After another few frustrating months on one Mastodon server, I’m trying the whole experience again with a reboot.  I shifted my account to a new instance, which means you can find me at this address? handle? some elephant-ish nickname?

Mastodon band, photo by frenkieb

Not this Mastodon – but I do love the band.

I confess to being of two minds about Mastodon.

On the one hand, I’ve had a poor experience with the thing so far.  Each server I’ve used has ranged in badness from administrators hating me to  staging a vast, roaring silence in response to my every toot. The onboarding process isn’t great, reminding me of what greets non-geek users of Linux or, back in the day, Second Life.  There are many mores and practices to pick up, some of which aren’t readily understood and/or contradict.

On the other, too many people I respect have made a point of committing to Mastodon. And I like the distributed, user-oriented idea of the Fediverse.  So I’ll give it a shot.

This does take time.  I’ve got to learn this new server’s ways.  I have to manually build up my social network there – right now it’s about 1-2% the size of what I enjoy on LinkedIn and Twitter. Thankfully, some folks have been very helpful in the process.

I remain on all of my other platforms.  I haven’t exited Twitter. I do owe a blog post about why I persist on Twitter and Facebook (nobody ever complains about LinkedIn), and my explanation is a version of Willie Sutton’s famous answer.

In the meantime, if you’d like to connect with me on the tusk plane, is how to find me, I think. Do share your own contact in comments, if you like.

(awesome photo by Francis Bill)

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15 Responses to Rebooting my use of Mastodon

  1. Phil Katz says:

    I flirted with Mastodon for about 2 days back in November, near the start of “Elon Musk is coming” scare. But I re-opened my account to start following you! I cannot guarantee that I will check it regularly or post anything of my own.

  2. Jason S. says:

    Two things
    1. I’ve been looking for a Twitter alternative after I deleted my account. Keep us posted!
    2. I’m going to see Mastodon and Gojira at the Masonic in Detroit in August.

  3. I check it nearly every day depending on how busy I am. I spend less time on it than I used to spend on Twitter, but that’s a feature, not a bug. And I basically never end up in the sorts of stupid quarrels for which Twitter is so notorious.

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      Does it feel like a smaller gathering, something like a pub, as Stephen Downes tells me?

  4. Vanessa Vaile says:

    Why Alexandee instead of Alexander? Did you mention trying Bluesky too?

    After a few years of mooc-met friends singing the distributed network praises of Mastodon in 2018. I sorta tried it out for a while but drifted away until Musk happened — not that I’ve been that active since. Returning was more like remembering to renew your passport just in case. I may drift more as people I look forward to seeing on Twitter disappear. As long some of them stay, there so will I.

    PS a brief aside: Cory Doctorow has an automated bot mirror account re-posting his Tweets to Mastadon

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      “Why Alexandee instead of Alexander?” I have no idea why Mastodon does anything. It’s what they gave me.

      Following you there.

  5. Alan Levine says:

    I was not much help in your first round of requests for this reboot, but I applaud you for perseverance. The thing I am noticing is the variety of singular experiences that makes me hesitate to offer suggestions based on my own.


    Servers have had no impact or influence on me. I launched on and ended up with a few other accounts for projects. I ended up moving to a tiny instance as I honestly give almost no attention to the local timeline, my experience is shaped all by my follows, which acts more like a twitter list.

    I found migrating twice east, all my scant followers or follows came with me. I thought it was clean.

    If the big audience is what matters, you can certainly use one of those scripts or services that aims to follow any of your twitter follows that are on tootville.

    But I am not really seeking to redo Twitter here, and frankly I have trouble summoning energy to want to pour even more attention into the sky blue thing. I also applaud that you do all this networking AND blog voraciously.

    Oh, just to toss some shade I abhor LinkedIn. It’s gross.

    See you around!

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      Of course you have to throw shade, Alan. And of course I disagree rt LinkedIn.

      Thank you for helping as you can. I appreciate it. You seem to have made a good go of Mastodon.

      Interesting that servers don’t impact you. Is most of your experience based on conversations with mutual follows, then?

  6. Ton Zijlstra says:

    “nobody ever complains about LinkedIn”… who are you calling nobody? 😀
    The LinkedIn timeline has deteriorated to the level of becoming a new FB in my experience since the summer 2020 (it seems those in lockdown forgot they were tying their rants to their employer’s name and their professional standing). I have unfollowed everyone in 2021 and have an empty timeline, where I only look for what someone has been up to if I am about to interact with them or curious. Now it’s like back in June 2003 when my account was nothing more than a digital rolodex.

    I’ve been on Mastodon since ’17 and most of that time on my own personal instance. I also share from WordPress to my Mastodon account (I’ve not turned my WordPress into an ActivityPub server itself yet, though I could, as it currently provides me with way too little control settings / granularity and is just an AP version of my RSS feed). As experiment I also run a company mastodon instance, where team members are ‘verified’ through our company domain, and can avoid mixing their work stuff with their private social media presences. Not much activity there though.

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      Interesting, Ton, about your LinkedIn experience. So far mine’s a lot better.
      I skim the feed and do find good stuff.
      Mostly I engage with whomever pings me, and I find those conversations to be fairly focused.

      Besides your WordPress and company efforts, what has your six years of Mastodon experience been like?

  7. I tried the Local Timeline idea on but found that I would have to mute many of the top talkers, because otherwise the poor linear format of the stream becomes unusable. So I returned to I used Twitter as a poor replacement for RSS, and as Twitter replacement, Mastodon has downsides, too: the re-toots without value-adding comments just increase the noise, and the missing statistics are a problem if your audience is small.
    Great to find you on a blog, and I hope that one day the fediverse would accept pingbacks from the which I can’t leave because I learned twice how damaging it is to change one’s address.

    • Bryan Alexander says:

      Another RSS fan here!

      Do you think the smaller scale of Mastodon conversations might make the streams more manageable? There’s also talk about “group” functions coming up.

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