I Joined Mastodon

Twitter has gone to hell. I want no part of it.

On Election Night 2022, I joined Mastodon. Launched in 2016, Mastodon is an open source alternative to Twitter. Sign ups spiked in the last several weeks. I see why.

I remember a time before what we were calling The Information Superhighway. I remember the thrill of the nascent world wide web. Mastodon feels like I’m back in those early internet days. No ads. No trolls. No tech bro degradation. While it’s been only a couple days, the ethos is conversation. Nobody trying to go viral. No pendejos. It’s what Twitter used to be.

Much has been said about how confusing Mastodon is compared to Twitter — and any other social network. It’s not that complicated though. I figured out how to join in 15 minutes. Time will vary for every user. Yes there’s a learning curving, as there is with any new tool. It’s worth it. This runs counter to today’s insta-gratification culture but patience is key. Patient follow through.

Mastodon is a decentralized network of communities, known in techspeak as “instances.” They’re organized around a topic, region, interest, or theme. You register your account on an instance of choice. Some require a waiting period to join. Others are instantaneous. After joining, you have access to other instances in the network. You can follow and engage folks on yours and other instances. You don’t log into Mastodon so much as you log into your account on your instance/community, and from there you can access everything on Mastodon.

I joined the instance Mapstodon.space. Yes it’s a play on words! The geographer-focused community is a “gathering space for GIS, mapping, geospatial and cartography professionals and enthusiasts.” It was this thread on #GeographyTwitter that helped me figure out this place. As an urban planner, I feel at home here.

You can find me at @mapstondon.space/@c1typlann3r