I’ve never realized how central Twitter has become to my social media life. I’m left wondering just how long will it limp along till something breaks and takes the entire platform down. I’ve written about Musk and his shenanigans (i.e. trollish behavior) before but I wanted to organize my thoughts here about where to go next.
The answer is clear, it will be decentralized in nature.
Years ago I discovered Diaspora. I started an account on a Diaspora server and loved the idea of it being a Facebook (FB) alternative. It’s a decentralized FB where you own your data and if you delete your account it’s all gone, no one can keep you hostage. Of course, Diaspora became a place for techno-geeks and privacy nuts BUT it opened my eyes to a federated universe.
A universe where you can share your work across many servers and systems and still retain control and ownership of your work. I loved what I saw but I didn’t see the adoption until now.
Elon Musk has single-handedly kicked off a massive migration to all kinds of things decentralized, all thanks to his horrible Emperor Nero attitude. The majority of people I know have moved to Mastodon, a Twitter-like decentralized platform, and are beginning to love it.
Of course, no one knew where to go so they all swamped Mastodon.social because we’re all trained to go to one place to sign up. I made that mistake too but soon after I realized that I could create my own Mastodon server catered to something specific, a subject, or a group of like-minded people.
If I wanted to create a Mastodon server for transgender people and their supporters, I could. If I wanted to create a Mastodon server for photographers and artists, I could. All our discussions and “toots” will be sent into the federated universe via the ActivityPub protocol.
In fact, Writefreely uses this protocol as well AND lets you use web monetization for your posts. It’s like a decentralized Medium! Although it’s very early in its development, it shows immense promise.
My searching has led me to many great decentralized projects where YOU GET TO KEEP CONTROL, from video and image sharing sites to microblogging sites, to full-blown macro social media sites.
Of course, there’s the danger that alt-right jackasses will build their own decentralized servers but it will be a while because they’re busy doing victory laps on Twitter.
Power to the people
Now, more than ever people are waking up to corporate control over our lives. How we’re just rats in cages making money for the 1%. People are fed up and we’re fighting back.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again if there ever was a silver lining to the COVID pandemic it was all of us waking up and realizing we’re on an unsustainable path that’s destroying the earth, ourselves, and our society.
Here’s how I’m fighting back: I’ve started a test site at writer.thomasott.io that usesWritefreely as the backend to publish my posts to the Fediverse. Note, that this site is a bit unstable as I work out the kinks, but I’m a techno-geek and love the tinkering.
I’m bowing out of Twitter and have moved to Mastodon almost full-time now. I’m even planning on starting a Mastodon or Hubzilla server for writers and makers. Or maybe a risqué site for erotica writers. Who knows, the sky’s the limit with this stuff.
Granted, I have a lot of ideas in my head now and they need to land. The hard part is that several of these decentralized systems are still hard to install and maintain. They’re not as dumbified as Twitter is but it should change for the better over time as more coders and programmers come to the table during the migration.
In other words, watch this space. Something is going to happen. Something wonderful.