I am not the biggest social media user but I am also no slouch. I am proud that MarkTurner.Net predates Google and nearly every other commercial social media site still around. I wasn’t the very first to use Twitter but I was one of the first. I joined in 2008 back when it was a bumpy ride of a place with frequent failures. As it grew and I was astonished to see that actual revolutions were being built around tools like Twitter, I became hooked. I could follow the accounts of notable people and get the facts straight from them. I could turn to Twitter whenever something important was happening in the world as there were bound to always be a play-by-play available from somebody there. I built up a whole list of people I followed and a much smaller list of people who followed me. It was amusing, educational, and community-building.
Then Elon Musk showed up. In a fit of insanity, he bid for the company and then desperately tried to back out of the deal. Finally, he took the helm, fired all the people who knew how to run it, let the Nazis and traitors back on the platform, and promptly made other erratic decisions that not only killed off any trust anyone had in the platform and community but also killed Musk’s reputation as a supposed genius. As a result, Twitter was cripped with outages and failures, loyal users were alienated, and the stock of Tesla (which was used as collateral for the Twitter purchase), swiftly tanked. Musk ended the year as the person who had lost more money than anyone else in history.
What to do about my account and it’s 16,000 posts? I didn’t see many viable alternatives to Twitter. There is Mastodon, though it is quirky enough to keep people from adopting it. I could stay put at Twitter, but I really don’t want to offer any support to Musk’s right-wing Twitter adventure.
I made the decision to stop updating my Twitter account and move to the Fediverse (where Mastodon is the most popular platform). I joined a few Mastodon servers (the first in November 2017), before deciding I’d set up my own server using a Mastodon cousin, Pleroma. I have my full Twitter archive downloaded and could easily add it to my “toots” or posts, but for now I prefer to be starting off from scratch. Though I no longer update it, I will keep my Twitter account alive to tune in every now and then on the chaos over there. I will also use my developer account to mirror some interesting Twitter accounts over to my Pleroma account. That way I can continue to follow the accounts I enjoy following while not having to log into Twitter to do so.
Mastodon/Pleroma and the Fediverse aren’t perfect, certainly. But I was a Twitter user back with Twitter was still shaky. I have confidence that the Mastodon/Fediverse community will work to figure things out my experience will continually get better.
It helps that there are no Nazis.