The Future of the Internet Will Be Nothing Like Twitter, and That’s a Good Thing

By all honest accounts, Twitter has been disintegrating rapidly in no time since billionaire Elon Musk officially took the reins of the social media platform.

after, after laying off half of the company’s employees Threatening advertisers who decided to jump ship, Musk spent most of his first week as chief tweeter doing what many suspected he would do after buying the site for $44 billion: Spread Nazi memesAnd the Prevent people from making fun of him, and generally tweeting through him – even when it becomes clear to all but the most annoying musk that he is completely out of his depth. Musk also came up with his very encouraging plan for paid $8 checkmarks, which to almost no one’s surprise, It was a complete disaster.

Amidst all this nonsense, there was a mass exodus of users to mastodonsThe text-based social platform often touted as a decentralized alternative to Twitter. Many people have complained that Mastodon’s decentralized network is making it difficult for regular users to get started. As someone who grew up on IRC, I can see why this mod is daunting for many Twitter users. But at its core, Mastodon is very different from Twitter – and there is a case to be made that this is a good thing in the end.

Mastodon is by no means new, but Musk’s chaotic and ever-changing plans on Twitter – along with his apparent ignorance about how the website he just bought works – has clearly sent a lot of people searching for greener digital pastures. It remains unclear whether people are migrating away from Twitter permanently or just preparing to The increased possibility that the site will collapse. However, it is clear that current events have made people hungry for something new, and Mastodon is the platform that has risen to the occasion.

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Since creating a new account last week, I’ve seen a rapid influx of users pouring into my little corner of the Mastodon network, which is called “Fediverse” because it’s made up of thousands of interconnected servers that are independently controlled. According to Mastodon founder and CEO Eugene Rochko, Platform Reached 1,028,362 active users On Monday, over a thousand new Mastodon servers have been added to the network since the previous week. The numbers seemed large enough to rattle Musk, who on Monday tweeted (and then deleted) multiple comments criticizing the decentralized platform.

Joining Mastodon is objectively more complicated than starting a Twitter account. There are a large number of servers to choose from, and while the network allows everyone to communicate through different servers, the reliability of the platform depends entirely on the server you subscribe to. my favorite server, mastodon.lolIt went offline for hours on Monday for upgrades after a massive influx of new users, and is uploading sporadically at the time of writing.

There are also several tools you’ll need to make integrating into Fediverse less painful, especially if you plan to continue using Twitter. Services like Totodon And the Deberdivy Help you rebuild your social graph by finding everything that Twitter follows on Mastodon. Other tools can be set up on automatically via mail Your tweets on “toots” from Mastodon – the name of the platform for text posts, a very cute and thematically funny topic.

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Some users have tried to determine what makes Mastodon different from the location of the hell it is supposed to replace. Unlike tweets, mastodon has no character limit, for example, which ostensibly means less obligatory overshare and more subtle conversations. Its decentralized nature also means that individual servers can unite people with similar interests or backgrounds, and that the network as a whole is more resistant to censorship — and the filth of billionaire demagogues.

Even with all of this, Mastodon is very chaotic compared to its brilliant central ancestors. But if a lot of people are expecting a Twitter-like experience, maybe it’s time for us to question our expectations about what social media is, what it can do, and whether we want it in the first place.

Successful or not, Mastodon and smaller services like it represent an alternative future for the social web – albeit in a familiar format. The past decade or so has been defined by centralized social platforms designed from the ground up to capture and exploit behavioral data and stimulate engagement, all for the benefit of corporate advertisers. As we are stuck in this hyper-interacting and dying cycle, we rarely stop to think about what social platforms might look like if they completely abandoned the designs and standards that led us to this status quo.

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It is becoming clearer than ever that platforms where human ideas can be instantly propagated and replicated virally at astonishing speeds around the world – while addictive and at times fun – are simply undesirable. In the face of Twitter’s constant internal meltdown, shouldn’t we bear in mind that this entire mode of communication – frictionless and transient, algorithmically designed to share at all costs – is ultimately unsustainable?

Instead of just reversing what happened before, what would it look like if we completely redesigned our digital spaces around concepts like Community, privacy and mutual care, instead of ad impressions and earnings? Will the quality of information on these networks improve then Publishing took more effort and determination? What if the communities on that network built their own spaces, for themselves, instead of those spaces being built and defined by ad buyers?

Mastodon may not be the platform that answers these questions, but it at least guides us in its general direction. It’s never easy to adjust expectations, especially when so many of us are now online. But with the constant meltdown of Twitter and Facebook’s corporate meta, we may not have a choice. Good release.


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