With Twitter's future looking increasingly nasty, brutish and/or short, I've made alternative arrangements for my array of Airminded social media accounts at Mastodon. My main account is:
This instance, hcommons.social, is run by Humanities Commons, an open-access scholarship repository (where I already have a presence).
I've ported my various Trove bots to post to Mastodon (the accounts are on botsin.space, a bot-friendly instance; the bot itself now runs on Heroku; the code is available on github):
These differ in a couple of ways from their Twitter counterparts. I've reduced the frequency from once an hour (which was anyway probably a bit much, really) to once every six hours, since Mastodon is relatively low traffic. And I've added to the post the keyword the bot used to find the article (e.g. 'helicopter' or 'mystery airship'), since that helps to know whether the article is worth clicking on, and sometimes isn't even obvious after the article has been clicked on.
My AI-generated art accounts are on sigmoid.social, for people interested in AI:
@TTAships is entirely, and @AirmindedAI largely, cross-posted from the Twitter equivalents. At some point I will make @TTAships Mastodon-native (it's not hard) but they will probably always be linked, since they draw on the same image library.
If you use Twitter but are worried about the direction it's heading in, I do recommend giving Mastodon a try. It's not exactly the same, and you need to accept that, but for the most part it's a good thing. Mastodon is more sensitive about content warnings and provocative media than Twitter -- but that's part of the kinder, less combative culture there. I've had to be more careful about using hashtags and ALT image descriptions (but I should have been doing that on Twitter anyway). I only have about a tenth of the follower counts as I do on Twitter, but the quality of interactions is on the whole better.
The main thing to get your head around is the idea of federated social media (there's a lot more than just microblogging) and the different instances (servers, essentially, which can be run by organisations or individuals). My advice is to spend a bit of time working out which instance to join. In my limited experience so far, the problem is not, as you might think, one of siloing: it's actually quite easy to see users and posts on different instances. Rather it's the culture that you're joining: as you can see from what I've said above, each instance has its own interests and its own rules. It pays to check out the server rules and code of conduct before you join, to see whether it's too strict or too relaxed for you. I didn't, and so had to move both @Airminded and @AirmindedAI to new instances before finding good fits. (Moving is easy enough, but although your followers come with you, in effect you lose everything else, including your own posts, so you don't want to do this too often.)
I'm not leaving Twitter just yet, and maybe Twitter will recover. But at least I have options!
#ProTip: if you do setup a Mastodon account, put the address in your Twitter bio so that tools like Debirdify can find it and help your old followers find you.
PS: here's an excellent 'Mastodon Quick Start Guide for Humanities Scholars' from Humanities Commons.
Image source: Midjourney.
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