While the Elon Musk + Twitter situation seems to get stranger by the day, many people are moving over to Mastodon instead. Whether it sticks or not remains to be seen, but it has potential to be a great solution.
At it’s core, Mastodon is a decentralized social network that feels a lot like Twitter. Really, though, it works somewhat like email where there is no single owner of the service. With email, you don’t sign up with “the email service” — you sign up with Gmail or Yahoo or whatever provider that you’d like, and they can all talk to one another.
With Mastodon, there are a ton of companies (and individuals) that have set up Mastodon servers, so you need to sign up with one of them. Once you’re on that server, they control your account but you’re able to chat with anyone on the service.
Ultimately, this means its a bit more work than just signing up for Twitter. Similar to my thoughts on POSSE, the extra work really can lead to more power and freedom for you.
Personally, I’m using the service at c.im. I’m not sure it’s perfect, but it’s a solid platform and seems like a good place to set up shop. You can find and connect with me here: https://c.im/@mickmel
Similar to email, your username is really username + server (like email@example.com for email). Others that I follow can be on different servers, such as:
If you follow me online much at all, you see that I’m “mickmel” in most places. With Mastodon, it’s not that simple because every single service could have a different “mickmel”. The good side of that is if your desired username is taken on one server, you could try another.
The biggest concern is that this kind of the wild west, where anyone can set up a server. That’s a great thing, but also means that your server (and therefore your account) could disappear at any time if you choose an unreliable server. This is similar to email in the 90’s when tons of email services set up, and then a lot of them went under. It’s a risk.
Time will tell if Mastodon really takes off or not, but I encourage you to at least check it out, understand how it works, and play with it a bit. If you do, feel free to add me and then share your profile link below so we can connect.