Kenneth Flak 2022-04-27
Now that Musk and his toxic variant of "free speech" (bullying, misogyny, racism, harassment, etc) has taken over Twitter, and Facebook is, well, Facebook (a service that might be shut down in Europe soon if they can't get their shit together re. data protection), it might be a good time to start looking for alternative ways of doing social media. Alternatives that are not controlled by single billionaires; alternatives that are not optimized for polarization; alternatives that are not depending on us spending as much time as possible doom-scrolling; alternatives where we are not consumers, customers, or products, but actual, social beings engaging with each other as actual, social beings; where our attention is not being gamed by opaque algorithms; where the infrastructure is decentralized, open-source, and free in every meaningful sense of the word.
Luckily such an alternative already exists, and is alive, healthy and rapidly growing! It's called Mastodon, and may be a little bit confusing at first, but once you get going it is actually quite simple! Check out this guide to get started!
The basic concept is this: you sign up to an "instance", which is basically a website running its own little version of Mastodon. Each instance is centered around a specific interest (music, art, technology, politics, science, cat pictures), so you start out by finding an instance that is interested in what you are interested, and sign up to that one. This is your immediate neigborhood. From here you follow and interact with people on the same instance or other instances.
I've been on Mastodon for a few years now, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it! It takes a bit of effort to get going (but so did Facebook in the beginning, didn't it?), but it's totally worth it.
My username is @email@example.com. Find me on Mastodon, and let's connect in a place that doesn't actively manipulate our atttention!