Now that it’s April, it seems like Twitter is determined to start downgrading those of us who don’t pay for blue checkmarks, making it harder for people to see our posts.
If you’re on Twitter, doing similar work, and looking for alternatives: I’m having a fine time with Mastodon, with uses a free and open protocol. However, it could use more people. I follow 127 people and can read an entire day’s posts in less than half an hour.
One thing that stops new people from joining is that they don’t know which server to sign up with. It’s a big stumbling block.
I had that problem. I was on the original “mastodon.social” server, which was absolutely fine, but when you clicked on “local timeline”—the combined posts of all mastodon.social members—you saw posts from thousands of people about infinite topics. Not useful.
So I started a server a couple of months ago, hosted at masto.host, which I called elefanti.co.
(“Little Mastodon,” get it? “mastodi.to” sounded too much like mastoditis, which a nasty infection. “Little elephant” worked better.)
So far, I’ve been the only one on elefanti.co, as I get used to running it. Now, I’m pretty used to it. But when I click on “local timeline,” I only see my own posts.
The ideal would be to click on “local timeline” and see updates from many people working on or interested in similar things: human rights, arms control, peacebuilding, democracy, migration, environmental justice, racial justice, gender justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and similar work.
I’d enjoy that. If you’re a reader here, you’re welcome to apply to join. One advantage of a new server is that you can choose any username you want (“@firstname.lastname@example.org”), since “@adam” is the only one that’s taken so far.
If you decide to switch servers later, you can take your followers and follows with you. But you can’t take your past posts. (You can’t expect a new server administrator to host your history, some of which could include posts that violate their guidelines.)
I’ll accept anyone whom I know—or know of—and who I believe shares similar interests/values.
I can’t let just any stranger join, though, because I don’t know if a stranger might post of harmful or abusive things. Keeping it to “people in the community or adjacent” minimizes the likelihood that I’ll have to spend too much time moderating.
Here’s what the signup form looks like. the “why I want to join” field is optional, but helpful if we don’t know each other.
Hosting this costs me $10/month right now, apparently for capacity to host 20 people. I can pay for that easily enough. But if a lot of people join and I have to upgrade to a more expensive plan, I might hit you up for a few bucks.
Just something to consider.
Here’s the list of people I follow right now on Mastodon whose work involves “migration.” Not a lot of voices yet, but some good ones.