Mastodon, a decentralized social media/microblogging platform, has become quite popular the last weeks and months. There are many good reasons to consider a Mastodon migration, but for Free Software enthusiast or WordPress lovers (like me), there are a even more specific reasons to give Mastodon a try. Hope you find my reasons compelling, even if I’m biased, running the WordPress centered Mastodon instance wptoots.social.
1. You can choose an Mastodon instance relevant to the topics you are most interested in
Mastodon is decentralized and there are thousands of instances to chose from. So pick a home to start your Mastodon journey carefully! If you are specifically interested in WordPress sign up on a WordPress centered instance and become a part of its WordPress centered community. You will instantly find people with the same interests!
Take even into account that little instances are more at risk of shutting down, while big instances can be hit by so many users, that they might get slow at times. You can move your user, including followers, to another instance at any time (your posts will be left on the “old” instance, though).
2. The local timeline
On mastodon you have three timelines. A home, local and federated timeline.
Have you chosen an Mastodon instance, related to a topics of your interest, the local timeline might be the most interesting for you. Here you only see posts from users of your instance and, at least for the WordPress instances, they are right on topic the most time. The home and federated timelines are a broader look into what’s going on with the people you follow and the people your instance users follow.
3. Instance rules let you post, share and discuss in a safe environment
Every instance has its own rules, everyone signing up agrees to them, everyone violating them gets suspended (if moderators do their job, which they do in almost every case). So unlike many other platforms, you know what you’re signing up for and what you can expect. If you want to discuss WordPress professionally, you’ll just have to find an instance with a matching set of rules.
There is an argument that instances, and users choosing instances, can contribute to even stronger discourse- and opinion bubbles. I think it’s too early to say if that’s true. But my hope is, that there is a big difference: Between actively and consciously picking a community – and being influenced by an algorithm, making you believe the whole world thinks like you.
4. Your content is not monetized
Content you produce and thoughts that you share shouldn’t be monetized without your active approval and only with the methods you have agreed to. Period.
5. Your content is not ranked by an algorithm optimized for engagement
Engagement, likes, shares and clicks are the daily bread and butter of commercial social media platform. Of course their algorithms are optimized to encourage engagement and that is in many cases favoring polarized opinions and heated discussions.
They are not optimized, though, to favor more complex professional thoughts, balanced argumentation or input, broadening your professional point of view. But that’s what we can get on Mastodon with our WordPress postings.
6. Mastodon is built, owned, funded and driven by its community
The Mastodon Community is running Mastodon. It’s actually amazing that that’s working, if you think about it. But there are other examples, aren’t there? The WordPress project comes to mind and all the other FOSS projects! It would seem like there is no better fit for the WordPress Community than a Community-driven social network …
7. Mastodon is Free Software
You can’t argue that one, can you?
8. Mastodon can’t be bought
Another obvious one, but there is more to it. Even if Mastodon could be bought (and single instances surely can), every admin in the community decides independently when to upgrade. If you don’t like the direction Mastodon is taking, you can fork it and run an own version. There is great power in that: Nothing can be changed against the explicit approval of the community. Democracy by design. And guess which other community can’t be bought either? You guessed right.
9. Most communities on Mastodon are actually nice
That might be changing over time, but for now I think this is true: Big parts of the community are positive, inclusive, accepting and open. Most people migrating, are tired of the vibe of the big commercial platforms and working actively for a more constructive behavior on their new platform. And who knows? Maybe community-driven social networks are just nicer!
10. Meaningful exchange seems to be the rule not the exception on Mastodon
That’s more of an personal experience over the last weeks on my own instance. Everything I put out there (especially the WordPress and/or community relevant stuff) is followed by meaningful comments, some good discussions, cheering and sharing. I’ve really learned a lot and find the response from my social network on Mastodon to be quite uplifting and enlightening. Never felt that on the birdsite, to be honest.
Start your Mastodon migration
Convinced? Here are some starting points for your Mastodon migration:
Find an instance! If you search for the WordPress community you are welcome to wptoots.social. Or try one of the other WordPress instances (I know of) wpbuilds.social or wp-social.net. If you are not only into WordPress, a bigger instance like fosstodon.org might be the right thing for you.
Find your community! That is incredibly difficult in the beginning and motivated me to make a list. Everyone on it has at least one community badge on profiles.wordpress.org and has agreed to be listed.