Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Struggle for Twitter Alternatives

Matt Birchler:

The two main ones I see are Micro.blog and Mastodon. Micro.blog is the more popular one right now, it seems, but Mastodon has its fair share of loyal fans. I personally have accounts with both other services, but I don’t really use them reliably. Mastodon because I can’t find anyone on there, and Micro.blog because I don’t like any of the iOS apps available for it.


It’s incredibly hard, and involves a good deal of luck, but if something is going to be a real Twitter successor/alternative, it needs to first and foremost find a way to get a critical mass of people using it. That can be a critical mass of a Twitter sub-culture, but it needs to be some group that moves in mass. App.Net get “Tech Twitter” to move, but it failed to get more than that (or to make them actually leave Twitter), but I don’t see that happening with Micro.Blog or Mastodon yet. I don’t know how you do that, but I think that’s how you get the momentum.

It seems unlikely to happen, but I would like a single app that supports multiple networks and integrates the timelines, removing duplicate posts, etc. Otherwise, there’s just a lot of overhead to trying the other ones, since I don’t feel I can leave Twitter.

James Thomson:

I’ll say this about Mastodon, I’ve seen a pretty large percentage of the people I follow setting up accounts in the last 48hrs.

Manton Reece:

Yep, different approach but some similarities. M.b is more about owning your content (using blogs and domain names) and Mastodon is more about Twitter feature parity and federation. Both have answers for curation. But we’ve been purposefully avoiding some Twitter features.

Eugen Rochko (via David Chartier):

A year ago I wrote about Mastodon’s improvements over Twitter’s lacking protections against abuse and harassment. Development in that area has not been standing still, and it’s about time we do another comparison.


Want to try @MastodonProject but not sure where to start?

Here are some links to help[…]

Previously: Twitter Shutting Down APIs, Twitter’s Weeds, Gab App Rejected by Google (and Apple), App.net Is Shutting Down.

Update (2018-08-16): Kev Quirk:

I’ve mentioned Mastodon on a number of occasions on this blog. It is the only social media platform that I use, but for a new user it can be fairly confusing, as it doesn’t work like other social media sites.

A new member of my Mastodon instance, Fosstodon, wrote their first post stating that they’re not really sure how it all works on Mastodon. Being the dutiful admin that I am, I pinged them back to let them know that I would find decent guide an post a link. To my surprise, I couldn’t find a decent guide anywhere, so I decided to write one.

Ethan Zuckerman (via Hacker News):

Mastodon is different. It’s an open source software package that allows anyone with an internet-connected computer to set up an “instance”. The server administrator is responsible for setting and enforcing rules on her instance, and those rules can vary — sharply — from instance to instance. Each server has its own namespace. I’m @ethanz on octodon.social, but if you want to be @ethanz on mastodon.social, no one’s going to stop you. In this sense, Mastodon is less like Facebook and more like email — you can have your own address — and your own acceptable use policies — on one server and still send mail to a user on another server.


Needless to say, not every Mastodon administrator is excited that the protocol is being used to harbor lolicon. The terms of service for mastodon.cloud — the fifth largest Mastodon instance, and the largest based in the US — now explicitly prohibit “lolicon, immoral and indecent child pics”.

Mark Hughes:

If you’re picking an ActivityPub instance, be aware that mastodon.social is a giant possibly-hostile mess like Twitter, and not really a “community” like many other instances. Pick a smaller instance, read the timeline on their instance’s front page, and make a more informed choice.

Update (2018-08-21): Simon Willison:

How about if, instead of ditching Twitter for Mastodon, we all start blogging and subscribing to each other’s Atom feeds again instead? The original distributed social network could still work pretty well if we actually start using it

Matt Drance:

I think the people flocking to Mastodon are in fact looking for 2008-2010 Twitter, which was mostly an in-crowd of tech geeks.

Apologies, but this is precisely I haven’t run off to Mastodon. 2006-2010 Twitter was cool, but I don’t miss it. The thing Twitter has brought me since then — stories and views from diverse, often marginalized people, who I would otherwise never have met — is still here.

Marco Arment:

I wish people the best with it, but it solves problems I don’t have.

If I want to talk to my friends, I have iMessage and private Slack groups.

If I want to broadcast to an audience, I want the largest one possible, and that’s here for me.

Maybe that’ll change someday?

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

Aaron Parecki is working on the "single app that supports multiple networks": take a look at https://aaronparecki.com/2018/03/12/17/building-an-indieweb-reader. Basically, he and the IndieWeb community are working on an "RSS reader on steroids" kind of project where different feed-fetching backends can interoperate with different reader apps. (I don't know whether removing duplicate posts is a feature yet but it definitely seems like an obvious one, since this is designed to pull together RSS feeds, Micro.blog timelines, Instagram timelines, Twitter timelines, etc.) The backend piece is still in private beta, I believe, but maybe the recent antipathy toward Twitter will speed things along :-)

I am surprised with all the talks about twitter alternative virtually no one even mentions plurk.com.
It is a micro-blogging platform, and it has tons of useful features that twitter clearly lacks.
And Plurk is not that small either.

I am surprised (not really, Technocrats are the 21st century robber barons) that in 2018 we don't have a really unified way to communicate en masse. If phones worked this way, we'd all be lofting torches and pitchforks, but we put up with silos in other tech because… Brand loyalty? Misguided belief all progress comes with no ability to work together but that will magically fix itself decades into the transition?

Federation, I miss the…

[…] Previously: The Struggle for Twitter Alternatives. […]

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