Back when I was living in South Africa I was an avid user of twitter. The idea of short form messages and being able to follow friends and sites without all the cruft of Facebook was appealing. Twitter at that stage was also still very much in its infancy and wasn’t the hive of bots and politics that it is today. So I closed my account years ago and didn’t miss it at all. The along came Mastodon, an open source and federated alternative to Twitter. And I was hooked.

Mastodon takes what makes Twitter useful and kicks it up a notch. It enables anyone to host an instance that can be connected to the federated network. So that in effect means that you can host your own version of the software and connect it to all other instances.

The federated nature of Mastodon means it’s far easier to create smaller, curated communities of users. But all those users can still follow users from other instances.

It also means that there’s far more power for admins of separate instances which in turn means it’s much more pleasant as a user to know that there’s a real human that you can contact if you have problems you want to report. Admins can also curate the instances that they connect to. So this means that if any extremist or abusive instances are set up then the community can easily identify and report them. A win-win situation!

So while I’ve spent some time on Mastodon I’ve found that I have had a far more rewarding time using it when compared to Twitter. It’s just so much easier to join a community that you feel part of compared to Twitter. These days Twitter has just become a monolithic network that people use as a means of advertising or spamming. There’s no actual interaction between people, and if you join it in your personal capacity now, it’s going to be very difficult to find a space that you feel part of.

So if you’re looking to take ownership of a place of your own, then find an instance that you’re interested in and get started!


I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com.