One year of Mastodon

I knew about Mastodon in a vague way a year ago. But it wasn’t until Space Karen laid off half the staff at Twitter on November 3, 2022—when we all realized that the blue bird was indeed circling the drain—that I got serious about riding the pachyderm. I created my first account on the Fediverse that Thursday evening. And I haven’t looked back.

Now, to be honest, I hadn’t been a big Twitter user in years. Sure, I would occasionally log on to announce an update to one of my Open Source projects, but I hadn’t hung around there since the epic tragedy of the 2016 presidential election. And even before that the whole place was drifting into trolls and toxicity, nothing like it was during the heyday of its early years.

My first post on Mastodon was, “Hello, hello! Is this thing on?” You know, something too clever and borderline passive aggressive. But people noticed that and some even replied.

I found a few old friends, figured out that you had to follow other people to get anything in your Home timeline, started posting a little and then started boosting a lot. I mean, I kinda went crazy with the boosting.

And suddenly people started following me not because I was some (very) minor Internet celebrity, but because I was essentially curating Mastodon.

Any social media stream has noise but the signal from Mastodon is some of the best I’ve ever seen. That’s why I follow so many people and spend so much time reading the amazing content that they create.

There are shitposters, of course. And thank Zod for that. We have all the memes it seems. Plus plenty of cats. So many cats.

But Mastodon also has journalists, scientists, engineers, photographers, musicians, artists, cartoonists and just about any other discipline in which you might be interested. Not to mention all the people just documenting the struggles and successes of their lives. It is engrossing.

I continue to be amazed that it’s all funded by donations from users and runs on passion and expertise from thousands of server administrators and support staff. This distributed, federated thing really works. Who knew?

Anyway, I made a home on the Fediverse. It’s not a perfect home, of course. No place ever is.

On the downside, you can’t swing a cat photo without hitting some leftist rich white nerd. I mean, it’s like they grow them here. Did I mention it’s very white on Mastodon? Yeah. It took me awhile to actually find some people of color to follow. Not good.

And then there’s the famous Homeowner’s Association. Wait long enough—it doesn’t take long—and somebody will nerdsplain all about how you should really be using Mastodon. You know, the Right Way™. Worse, they’ll start arguing with PoC or other marginalized groups that they’re being too sensitive or something. I’ve seen new people turned off and leave from this kind of bullshit just a few hours after arriving.

Then again, there are damn few NAZIs. Those fuckers typically don’t last long before someone punches them. Wonderful volunteer moderators all over the Fediverse do the hard work of keeping us safe. Are they always right? Do they even always agree with each other? No. But there are tools built into Mastodon to filter, mute and block people so you don’t always need to rely on others to moderate.

One thing I noticed right away on Mastodon is its large and vibrant transgender community. Just awesome people. Vulnerable but resilient. Open but discreet.

Eventually I created a second Mastodon account. And several of those trans folks recognized who I really was and helped me realize that as well. Nurturing and protecting me before I was ready to go public. For that, I will be forever grateful.

Did I mention I’m never leaving Mastodon?



9 responses to “One year of Mastodon”

  1. pandachronicle Avatar

    So glad you were here to be found when I arrived. I can pretty much credit you with at least 50% (and probably more) of the early people I found to follow.
    A few of my twidder friends have followed me here, but I’ve made new friends here and it is a much calmer place than twidder aka Xitter was becoming.
    Anyway, just wanted to say glad you’re on Heffalump & so generously share interesting folks you come across.

    1. lisa Avatar

      Bonus points for “Heffalump!” 😂

      I am so glad I was able to connect you with other people. Thank you for reading and you are very welcome. 💖

  2. Dilman Avatar

    I’ll make it a year later this month, and though I really enjoy it here, it does feel lonely being the only African, living in Africa, in sight. I keep going back to twitter and other sites to check whats going on around me, but this place is nice. I won’t be leaving soon.

    1. lisa Avatar

      I am so glad you’re on Mastodon! Yes, please don’t leave. We need you. 💖

  3. Alexander S. Kunz Avatar

    Happy anniversary, Lisa! Mine is tomorrow and just like you, I can’t imagine ever leaving. I think I’m just done with corporate-run, ad-financed, algorithmically distored, surveillance-economy based “social” media. Mastodon has all I need. Thanks for continuing to funnel all the things you see into a firehose of a feed! 😀

    1. lisa Avatar

      Happy day-before-your anniversary! 🎉

      Thank you for reading and you are very welcome. 💖

  4. Jorsh Avatar

    I have been touched by the Boost of Lisa Melton. I am Forever Blessed.

    But for realsies, I so glad you’re on Mastodon.

    1. lisa Avatar

      You have blessed me with awesome content to boost. Thank you for that and your kind words. 💖

  5. […] to browse the #fediversity hashtag and see people’s posts. Personally I have enjoyed reading these four […]

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