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On Mastodon

2022-11-15 17:30:31.816714+01 by Dan Lyke 0 comments

Written for Facebook, whence the more background than I'd usually write here:

So: Mastodon. I've been involved in online community for 4 decades or so. My main blog (they weren't called that when I started) is coming up on 25 years, and though nobody follows the personal one I've been trying (and mostly failing) to do more personal journalling on another one. Grad students have contacted me to chat with me about the history of social media and blogging. I'm pretty active in looking at where trends are going, even if I've never really gotten some of them (MySpace, Instagram, TikTok).

And since the rise of FaceTwitSpace I've been looking for something that takes our media back away from "the algorithm", back to seeing material from people we follow.

When Mastodon first fired up, I created accounts on a couple of servers, didn't get the UI, didn't find the critical mass of people there, and ignored it. But the recent Twitter implosion has driven a lot of people over there, and I've been spending time on Mastodon.

Mastodon has evolved some interesting culture around "Content Warnings", which means that a lot of the re-posting of news articles and such end up behind an additional click. It has an option to display those articles without the click, and I thought "I'm a tough hearty guy, I'll do that."

Yesterday, a particularly egregious, but almost believable, bit of propaganda from Newsweek floated across my feed, and I realized why that culture has evolved. I could feel the adrenaline rise, the outrage, the feeling of ineffectual hopelessness. And I got it.

I want to connect with *people*. Often times that's done under the guise of exchanging bits of mass media, but splattering our political leanings across the space for those dopamine isn't really doing that. I've complained before that Facebook shows us all of someone, so we discover that the person we've enjoyed dancing with is also a QAnon spouting insurrection apologist, but it's worse than that: It amplifies the trivial about people.

And the lack of advertising on Mastodon (I upped my Patreon contributions to the person who hosts my Mastodon server) has made it even more apparent that on Facebook and Twitter I'm the product, not the customer.

Anyway, it's made me conscious of making sure that my Facebook feed is even more about me, rather than about the media (news or otherwise) that I consume, and it's making me think a lot about how I use my primary blog (that's long been a "this news article is interesting and I'll want to refer back to it" sort of resource).

[ related topics: Interactive Drama Politics User Interface Weblogs Technology and Culture moron Space & Astronomy Sociology Current Events Consumerism and advertising Journalism and Media Television California Culture Community ]

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