I had an extended weekend this week – got some extra hours saved up so I thought I might as well make productive use of it – cleaning up the yard, dealing with the backlog of washing, cleaning the home, update my CV and CV letter – something I had been putting off for ages. Long story short, I got most of what I wanted done within a few days and I feel a whole lot less stressed knowing I don’t have a list of things that still need to be addressed.
Mastodon is taking off like a rocket – in a space of less than a month there are almost 2 million new users and the active users have pushed the number of act users to 2 million. For many of the newbies they’re finding their legs as they learn the new terminology while others revel in the features that Mastodon has but Twitter lacks (or requires people to pay a monthly fee to get access to such as the edit button on Twitter but free of charge on Mastodon). There will be some growing pains as the infrastructure expands to meet demands, hopefully more donations improving the various instances on the fediverse along with growing pains regarding moderation and ensuring the rules are consistently applied.
The choice going forward that people of the internet need to ask themselves is this: Do they want social media platforms that are subject to the whims of a billionaire whose motivation is profit maximisation through increasing user engagement by amplifying content that increases that engagement and thus able to sell more ad spots to advertisers or would they prefer social networking that doesn’t manipulate users for profit maximisation and instead are run by volunteers and non-profit organisations through donations. I would prefer to have an imperfect system tended to by volunteers and funded by donations rather than one where the perverse incentives for profit maximisation result in democracies being undermined via the amplification of conspiracy theories, misinformation and disinformation.
Regarding Musk allowing Trump to come back to Twitter – Musk doesn’t appear to be the brightest bulb on the chandelier because if he was he would realise that Trump won’t come back to Twitter because Trump learned a valuable lesson in life and that is to always control your platform. When it comes to media he has OAN, NewsMax and RSBN on his side but when it came to social networking he was at the mercy of those who he saw that weren’t allied with him so instead he created his own platform which enabled him to have total control of the narrative that is put out there. The other part that will be interesting is whether those who opened up Twitter accounts on the rumour of Trump’s return will close up their account and go back to Truth Social, GAB or many of the other Trump/MAGA orientated social networking platforms.
On a good side of this whole train wreck: Twitter shareholders got a good pay out for their shares and the profile of Mastodon has been raised to the point it is being discussed in mainstream media outlets (aka ‘the normies’ are hearing about it) which may open up further discourse about the alternatives to Facebook (Diaspora) and Instagram (PixelFed). Where there is a crisis there is also opportunity – the crisis at Twitter may force the ‘friend/family member who is good with computers’ to investigate it then evangelise it to those whom they interact with, like a van guard of early adopters who then invite others to take part in this ‘new thing’ they just found. The thing is with social networks is that as soon as the ball starts rolling and picks up momentum then word will spread of its own accord through to the mainstream audience who will first be attracted to the fact that there are no ads for starters then explore to see other benefits such as the ability to edit a toot, the fact that there isn’t an algorithm shovelling the worse of what humanity has to offer into their timeline/feed.