The Twitter Thing.

I’ve been following this mess of a deal Elon Musk has put together to buy Twitter and take the company private, in the name of “making free speech a priority again”. He says the right words to get a certain segment of the population whipped up so he can line his coffers with more billions.

Look, I used to be impressed with the technological things Elon Musk has accomplished over the years. He bought Tesla and subsequently changed the paradigm of electric vehicles. SpaceX is filling in the gaps that NASA can’t seem to handle. Why he wants to buy Twitter, other than to grandstand on the platform and get money providers whipped up, is beyond me. In a way it’s kind of sad that one man can buy a public company, turn it private, and basically become the king of a social platform that the news media can’t seem to live without. What is his end game? I have no idea and honestly I’ve become quite bored with the whole affair.

What I have realized while wading through the barrage of news feeds is that it’s not really in my best interest to be dependent on social media platforms that are owned by eccentric billionaires. This is one of the reasons I keep this blog going; I can say what I want, when I want, in my space.

A few years ago an alternative to Twitter came to fruition. It’s called Mastodon. It works a bit differently than what the common user knows as the Twitter experience. Basically, a Mastodon server is an island in a sea of a Mastodon servers. They are connected to one another and you can see the feeds on any other server you wish. You can follow users on other islands. There’s no central configuration or central control point, either you run your own server and do your thing or you jump onto a server that someone has set up that aligns with your interests. In the past I’ve belonged to two “general” instances, mastodon.cloud and mastodon. social. More recently I belonged to mastodon.technology, which is geared towards those of us super interested in technology. While it was never required that I talk only about technology in my mastodon.technology feed, I always felt someone obligated to stay with the theme of the server. My Twitter feed can be all over the place.

I decided to start up my own Mastodon server last night. I’m the only user on it and will keep it that way for the time being (data can be expensive), but I’m able to chat with all the other folks I’ve met on Mastodon and I’ve been having fun meeting new people. I administer the server, I pay for the server (it’s less than 10 euros a month), and I am the only user.

The server names can be anything and I wanted mine to be general and memorable, so I picked the domain name shavingcream.online.

I figured that I use shaving cream on a daily basis, I’ve always considered myself a shaving aficionado, and it’s offbeat enough for people to remember. So my Mastodon username is at (it’s actually the “@“ symbol) machias@shavingcream.online. If you’re on Mastodon, you can add me with this URL: https://shavingcream.online/@machias

I’ve made quite a few online acquaintances through Mastodon over the years and I’m probably going to use this as my Twitter replacement. I’m not comfortable with the idea of providing my data to eccentric billionaires who buy public companies on a whim (or the creepy Zuck and Sheryl show at Facebook) so having my open-source, federated social instance on Mastodon gives me great geek joy.

Feel free to add me if you’re on Mastodon. If you’re curious about the platform and don’t know where to start, here’s a place to take a peek:

https://joinmastodon.org

As I mentioned before, you don’t have to run your own server, you can join one of the many public (free and open source) servers that fit what you’re looking for in a social media experience.

Happy engagement!

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