There’s been a sizeable migration to Mastodon in the past week as people seek an alternative to Twitter now that Elon Musk has taken over, so it’s a pretty interesting time to join and check it out. It’s a bit chaotic right now, especially on the big general interest servers that are being overloaded with the sudden surge in use. But once you’re on, it’s pretty exciting to think about what it could become.
I’m interested in Mastodon because I believe in independent media and the importance of owning your own media if you are an independent journalist, artist, whatever. Mastodon is ad-free, open source and decentralized. You don’t go to a central site like mastodon.com and create an account. Instead, you find a server (or “instance”) to join. Instances are “federated,” meaning you can see, search and interact with posts from users on other instances. But your account and data is hosted on the server you signed up to use. This is a bit convoluted, but it’s what makes it decentralized. It also fosters online community within your server.
If you want to join a mostly Seattle-based transit-loving server, for example, you can join Seattle Bike Blog on @social.ridetrans.it. It was created by Wes Mills, who is a member of the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board, so you know it’s legit. There’s also another Seattle-based server @social.seattle.wa.us. Or you can just search around on the joinmastodon.org server list.