Set up a Mastodon instance

So yep, following my recent post about Twitter, I bit the bullet after some thought… I’m now reachable over Mastodon. I decided I’d start small, deploy my own instance where I could play around and get to know it.

In particular, as I’ve started doing a few small websites for people based on WordPress — social media integration has come up in these discussions — I figure it’s better to test against my own instance rather than me throwing pre-alpha grade code at someone else’s production server. I can’t do this with Facebook, I can’t do this with Twitter, but I can do this with Mastodon. If either of those two decide to implement ActivityPub protocols, sure, I’ll let them connect.

There’s also the practice I’ve been engaging in for some years, of just emailing links to sites I stumble across to people who I think may be interested — some of those could be posted on Mastodon since this is a format that would suit that use case well. Maybe cartoons, images — although I need to watch copyright!

The fact that I was able to deploy it on my own hardware, means I can be 100% responsible for what I post there, and post there 100% on my own terms. While I’m unlikely to intentionally post something inflammatory, when someone else owns the house, they make the rules, and they can change the rules when they like. Some journalists found this out the hard way, when Twitter banned them for discussing the ElonJet Twitter account. Then scores of people got hit by the ban-hammer for simply mentioning rival social networks. A month ago, there was nothing wrong with doing this, now it’s taboo on that social network. Seems ironic that a “social” network must be so anti-social.

Individual server admins might block my server, and that’s fine, that’s their right. Big deal. As stated, this is more for me to learn in a controlled environment. By me posting here, I cost them nothing unless one of their users decides my content is interesting, and me subscribing to a few posts can be done with minimal impact. I think the risk of this is low.

Right now, I’ve just “followed” a few IT and general journalists… to get a rough “feel” for how this stuff works. Following someone “cross servers” like this is a little clunky, but I can understand why it is that way: when you visit the remote server’s page, to them you’re an anonymous user — I don’t think there is a way yet to safely “identify” yourself to a Mastodon server without identifying yourself to every Internet web page. Maybe that’ll be worked on as time progresses, who knows? Time will tell.

I don’t expect to “toot my own horn” on Mastodon much. Those who are interested in what I’m doing can look up what I’m up to directly. I think most of the Mastodon content I post will be articles others have written. Then again, this whole blog started in 2006 as a way of publicising my activities in Gentoo, and look where it is today? It has evolved, and so might this. Once again, only time will tell.