It’s Monday, the Monday after a full week of Elon Musk owning Twitter. I deactivated my Twitter account on a whim after just kind of being done with it. Not my account, per se, but the vibe of Twitter in general. It’s just off. It’s bad. The sociological decay rate of social media seems to put the Best By date around 10-15 years after its inception. So, I once again signed up to Mastodon, after deleting my previous two attempts and then realizing that I can’t get my old usernames back. Oh well, who cares.
A lot of Mastodon now is reactive: people reacting to Twitter, mostly. It’s not really a society as it is a shared trauma experience, one where we’ve all collectively escaped from our abuser and are now qualifying ourselves in reaction to that. It’s annoying, is what I’m saying.
This Monday, I feel the itch. The itch to tweet. To say something dumb on Twitter. I’ve tried on Mastodon:
This is what I would call a Quintessential Josh Tweet. A QJT. Something dumb that would pop up in my head and that I’d type out on Twitter as fast as humanly possible. This is Weird Twitter. My type of people are people who would see this tweet and appreciate the humor. They don’t have to laugh, just appreciate.
But Mastodon doesn’t scratch that itch, for two reasons: one, I don’t know enough people there. That’s fair, I just started up again. And two, this is not what I’m seeing on my timeline. This one’s a little more difficult to fix. You have to find the right people. But in a way, I don’t want to find the right people. I don’t want to join a “comedy” instance because then it’s all people trying to be comedians. Plus, as Mastodonians continue to remind us, instances don’t even matter because you can see other people’s posts1I refuse to call them toots. across all instances. Fans and friends, that’s all I want. And not even “fans” necessarily, more like … appreciaters.
Mastodon is a poor nicotine patch for Twitter, despite all the tech folks trying to convince us that it is. Decentralization is good perhaps but for social media? The concept of “decentralizing” a thing where the point is for people to come together doesn’t make much sense to me. I read a post from someone saying that they should rename “instances” to “communities” … like Google+, which failed. I think Google+ failed in part because a social media concept like Twitter–fast paced, short messages–wants to relate to people in a general sense, rather than a specific, community sense. In other words, you don’t want to have to negotiate a bunch of community “threads” to find things that you want to read. Plus, you can already create your community on Twitter by curating who you follow. Now you want me to split that again into communities?
There’s a vast, vast difference between what people in tech think social media should look like, and how the general populace operates social media. Tech wants to bring in features, but most people want the app to be as simple as possible. People don’t want to know about instances. They just want to post things and read things, and they want to know how to block people. Mastodon is pretty much this simple, it’s just that the users are making things confusing by constantly elaborating on stuff that I don’t care about. I don’t really care about instances; I do care about Mastodon being able to quickly and effectively “sever the limb” of alt-right/extremist instances. But I want no part of that. I just want to read and post things, and I want the things I read to be things I like, not people constantly telling me how great Mastodon is and all the multitudinous things I can do with it.
Thankfully, Elon Musk is absolutely fucking up when it comes to running Twitter, which is delightfully hilarious in a way. Guy’s like a five year old who got handed a $1,000 camera and thinks he’s going to take Pulitzer Prize winning photographs with it, but then the first photo we see is just a blurry dog’s anus. “I did it!” he cries. “Give me my Pulitzer now.”
Something makes me think this is one big misguided attempt to try and get Grimes back. “Look, Grimes, I bought Twitter!” he types into his phone. Sends text. Is left on read.
I think Mastodon will mellow out over the next few weeks as the adrenaline of leaving Twitter wears off and everyone realizes it’s just another app. They’re all just apps. Meaningless, ultimately. Get food, get sleep, procreate to extend the life of the species. Then very far down the list: check social media accounts.
- 1I refuse to call them toots.