Burning down the house
It’s strange to watch a platform with worldwide reach and influence visibly decay with a speed unmatched since MySpace flamed out, but I guess Move Fast and Break Things is one of the perks of being a narcissistic billionaire. We’ve seen these Twitter out-migrations a few times over the years, and there are any number of aspirants which have attempted to replace it. I still get weekly updates from WT Social even though I’ve never used it. I don’t post anywhere anymore, for the reasons I discussed here a few years ago. Except for Mastodon. I don’t go there often (before this week I hadn’t posted in a year), but I’ve returned to it on the rare occasions I’ve felt the need to say something online. Mostly, though, I don’t. I read Reddit and a few other message boards, and I have a private Twitter account where I follow no one but have a list of about 50 people and read that. I’ve found that limiting my active participation to the offline world has been good for many aspects of my health.
But I do like having windows into the online world, so when it started to look like Twitter was melting down in record time (just over a week! it’s been barely ten days!), I went back to Mastodon to see what the influx looked like this time. And boy howdy, it’s different from the 2017, 2019, 2021 waves. For one thing, there are a ton of journalists and even more academics. There are people who have acquired thousands of followers in a couple of days, which is like having ten times that many (at least) on Twitter. For a second thing, people aren’t just showing up and looking around. They’re hitting the ground running in terms of posts (so many posts and boosts and favoriting by some of the really active people) and they’re loudly asking why they can’t have their preferred Twitter features. It’s noisy and a bit disconcerting for those of us who like Mastodon for its non-Twitter aspects, especially the pace and the type of engagement.Read the rest of this entry »