Look, I really want to like Mastodon. But it’s the very decentralized nature of it that also makes me also want to back away. Twitter has a tremendous advantage in that it’s one centralized platform, not a large number of small, independent communities that force one to choose which they might join. Much like Twitter, Mastodon is a microblogging service, but to me it’s if Twitter and Discord had some kind of disappointing offspring. That’s not what I wanted from Twitter, so Mastodon doesn’t seem like a great substitute.
I realize that many are moving from Twitter as a form of protest. The phrase I’ve heard from many is that Twitter has become a “hellscape.” I think that, to a large extent, that’s probably true. However, I will note that, in my own filter bubble, I haven’t really seen the negative effects of the Musk-induced meltdown..probably because I primarily follow professionally-related accounts. I am seeing fewer tweets, but not more overall garbage. I fully acknowledge that’s not everyone’s experience. But, it is mine, and so it doesn’t contribute much to a desire to abandon ship.
Another viewpoint I hadn’t considered until recently was that of disenfranchised communities and how Twitter has served as a lifeline for them. Everyone else leaving Twitter doesn’t help those groups that have settled there for critical reasons.
I understand that Mastodon is in the uncomfortable position of not being quite ready for the flood of new users, and wasn’t originally created with “Hey, let’s entirely replace Twitter!” as its foundational concept. To blame Mastodon for features I don’t especially appreciate isn’t fair to Mastodon, and I don’t expect Mastodon to suddenly morph into a Twitter clone. But, like many, I’m torn between moving to Mastodon for principled reasons and the need to maintain existing communities.
What do you think?