August 22, 2018

On a Twitter Break (Catch Me on Mastodon)

Last Friday I deactivated my Twitter account in protest for the lack of support of 3rd Party APIs. While I have no illusion that: 1) I’ll activate it again a few weeks and, 2) the protest itself was a mere blip in Twitter’s radar. I wanted my data point to exist.

My love for Twitter goes back a decade. I joined in 2006 and like many, didn’t use it much until the iPhone apps started coming out. I then drank the pulse of the planet Kool-Aid, pushed friends to use DMs as BlackBerry Messenger replacements, asked for jobs saying Twitter was going to be great, and even defended it user base stagnation.

But across all of the above, unofficial apps have always been the window to Twitter — which is specially funny since for a long while, there were no official apps. But I digress.

I’ve given up hope for Twitter to be the pulse of the planet, and accepted it’ll likely end up the hyperventilation of media networks. Still, I wanted to make a point. And over the past few days without a Twitter account, something fascinating has happened:

Although I miss the pull to refresh like crazy, I haven’t missed any news — even with massive devaluations, earthquakes and other breaking events.

At the end of the day, there’s a blog post, or news article that references the most important tweets and summarizes the event. Without the need of me refreshing every 5 seconds and having to read the other 99% of the noise.

Yet I can’t deny not to miss the water fountain discussion. Reading why my favorite app developers are reading, what people I find interesting find interesting. In a perfect world, we all have a blog and it’s easy to see the streams post and micropost and interact. Sadly, while the ship is catching some speed, it’s far from taking off.

That’s where Mastodon comes in. For a great overview just check First Time Tooter, Long Time Tweeter, but long story short, it’s a Twitter-like social network with federated instances that interact with each other. While it has being around for some time — the geek sphere unnoticeable protest on Twitter has been noticeable on Mastodon.

I’ve very surprised how much I’m enjoying my Mastodon use. The tone is friendlier, and at least on the instance I joined — the generally chatter is usually interesting. The apps are still lagging, but I’m enjoying Tootdon and Amaroq on iOS, and the Tweetdeck like website works good enough on the Mac.

I’m not sure if Mastodon is going to be big — it’s just not built to beat Twitter. However, I’m ready to call it: Mastodon will be a thing for a long time.

If you wanna check it out (or already are), you can find me at Toot toot.


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