Dismal Manor Gang, anticipating the Twitter Apocalypse, created @DismalManorGang@mastodon.online. After about 2 months of activity, the Gang has become taken with the joint and is pretty much ignoring Twitter. Mastodon is a lot like pen pals. A post goes out to the gang and you hear back from a few. Maybe holiday cards is a better model. Everyone appreciates hearing form you but not everybody sends a reply.
I’m following about 250 and have a similar number following the Gang. Some of our Twitter pals have joined us on one or another Mastodon nodes. But most followers are new, many are UK, and some are EU and US. Here’s what we are finding.
Mastodon is Not Twitter
What, no clever recursive name? Just Mastodon? Yep. And Mastodon is different that Twitter by design. Member choices determine all content movement from an author through the “audience” graph.
- Each member has a home node, officially an instance. Addresses have the form @member@node.
- Members follow members.
- Members can follow others on their node or on other nodes. A node forwards content from an author’s node to each node having one or more members of the author’s audience. The nodes route the content to each mentioned member.
- Members are in charge. They determine who they follow and what is passed on (boosted) to their audience. No secret sauce is making content routing and promotion decisions. Just the members.
- To be followed, you must post.
- To receive posts, you must follow.
- To be searchable, you must use hashtags in your bio, bookmarked posts, and posts.
- Boring or unpleasant authors are easily unfollowed, muted (timed filtering), or blocked (disconnected)
- Only hashtags and addresses are searchable and boosted content is forwarded without an opening comment. And a post has only one reply pool seen by all.
- Each node has its appropriate speech policy and moderation guidelines. Moderators keep an eye on traffic for non-conforming content and remove it. Repeated posting of non-conforming content can lead to eviction or blocking.
So What’s it Like
Life in the Pachyderm Place is pretty nice. You can actually comment on current events without getting dog-piled or otherwise abused. Shit-posters, trolls, and dog-pilers are easily blocked. There is no full text search making it hard to trawl for victims.
I don’t generally post political content as preaching to the faithful is unwanted but I’ve been making primary sources available by link for UK and EU audience members. Much of my audience is off-shore as my home node is located in Germany.
I recently commented on the Federal oath of service that most of us take in Congress and the Military. Our oath of service separates us form most of the world in that we affirm to support and protect our Constitution, the covenant document that establishes the fundamental form and rules of our government. I would never do so on Twitter or FaceBook while I was there. To do so was a call for abuse.
Most of our traffic is the picture of the day and the story of the day. Almost always, it is something silly about the dogs. Something they reacted to or something they did or maybe a hare or other small animal that attracted their attention. Hoodie teen shuffle wraiths are a favorite topic as they ooze toward the school bus stop. They all have to be checked for undead taint. But I also write about outings, etc. and have blog promos sent.
So mostly it’s a little back and forth about dog stuff or #ZSHQ (ZombieSquadHQ) “business” or #PalsPorch stuff. Mastodon lets you follow a hashtag. If anybody you follow posts using a hashtag, that content will be routed to a pane containing posts about the tag. This appears to support the Twitter tweet-up clubs like ZombieSquad HQ #TheRuffRiderz, #TheAviators, #OTLFP etc. fairly nicely but may require a centralized follow and echo. ZSHQ has over 800 enrolled but only 50 or so gather for #ZZST Saturday training tweet-up. #PalsPorch has no formal membership. Folks just show up and follow the tag or search it on Twitter. Twitteriffic does a pretty good job of gathering traffic.