Resynth

Mastodon: The Reunion.

I'm using Mastodon, a calmer social network.


This post is the second post in a series where I explain why I have chosen to use Mastodon for a week. Follow me, and see what happens:


I will be detailing the community, privacy and overall user experience of Mastodon.

Community

In July of 2019, the Mastodon community went through major scrutiny. For example, they were accused of having a "Nazi problem". The owner of Mastodon has also been condemned for his unsympathetic attitude towards the more vulnerable communities on Mastodon. To the contrary, Mastodon has been praised for its unrestricted nature, mainly due to its suite of functionality providing federation.

So far, while using a specific Mastodon instance, I have observed a general positive attitude, and a less distilled take on social media. Mastodon seems to be an increasingly organic platform, with users less eager to fabricate their life for public attention. About time, as the public is repeatedly suggesting to social media "influencers".

Ultimately, the platform seems to be for the older generation. Sadly, the large majority of the younger generation prefer a rose-tinted view on others' lives, using platforms such as Snapchat. This is to the detriment of their mental health, which studies have previously suggested.

In addition, I have decided to disconnect myself from "mainstream" social media for a calmer platform. Mastodon may just be what I am looking for.

Privacy

Mastodon has been the subject of rigorous testing revolving around privacy. This has encouraged users to engage with the platform, instead of using proprietary alternatives such as Twitter.

Fortunately, the core of Mastodon is completely open-source. This means anyone can review the code, eradicating the need for exterior security audits. This bears no correspondence with platforms such as Twitter, where the source code is hidden from the public eye. A commitment to open source instills trust in the Mastodon-focused community. Following this, anyone is free to host their own instance of Mastodon, ensuring their data remains in their hands.

User Experience

One of the positives of Mastodon is the community support. This has proved to be useful when one looks at the sheer number of clients, applications and utilities for the Mastodon product. For example, if one is displeased with the user interface of one Mastodon client, they can freely switch to another. Contrary to closed-source and restrictive platforms such as Twitter, this provides the user with enough freedom to customize their experience of Mastodon with ease. With the growing marketplace for user freedom, Mastodon has seem a surge of new members, and continues to do so.

One of the platforms I favor is Pinafore. Pinafore is a minimalistic, privacy-focused and performant client for Mastodon. The variety of configuration options focused on the user's mental health is also rather touching, considering platforms such as Twitter or Facebook offer no solutions for such a far-reaching crisis. Alternatively, they offer stopgap solutions that barely do the user any good.

Federation

Another critical concept of Mastodon is federation. Users from different instances can communicate with one another. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free Mastodon instances available for public use. This encourages an open mindset along with the freedom of user choice. Compared to Twitter, where there is one monolithic instance, users are free to choose any instance they like. Furthermore, the topics of different instances may differ. There are instances focused on technology, and others centered around sharing artwork.

Another advantage of allowing self-hosting is reliability. If a single Mastodon instance is unreliable or experiences a service outage, users may transfer their content to another instance. If Twitter goes down, it is a waiting game.

Conclusion

Presently, I am rather content with Mastodon as a service. It has proven to be a privacy-focused, open source and a superb platform as a whole. Many Mastodon instance tout a safe, collaborative environment, where users feel at home in their instance of choice. Meanwhile, the community wholeheartedly supports these core values.

It is definitely worth a look. If you would like to follow me on Mastodon, you can view my account here.

Try Mastodon, see what it brings you.

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