Twitter is a shit show. So let’s try the Fediverse… Again!
It’s no surprise to anyone who has read my previous articles that we had a bad taste in our mouths during our first Fediverse run. So much so that we took down our pro-mastodon post when individuals within the instance we were on decided to shout out their communist manifesto stating sites like mine should be destroyed (we’re already dancing madly on a lip of a volcano, we really don’t need help in downing the server.) We published, much like Facebook, Twitter, and every other major corporate site out there. We are a centralized model. Just without a spaceman with a child-like temper throwing billions of dollars at us.
We decided to give the Fediverse another spin because of the infinite popcorn machine known as Twitter. We’ll discuss that one too. Why the fuck not?
Proceed if you wish to read on about our diatribes.
Twitter: The motivation.
To be honest, Twitter has always been a shit show! Some believed that Twitter was perfectly fine until Elon Musk took over. But now people are making the mass exodus away from the Twitter platform to .. Well. Anywhere but Twitter! Because of the actions of the new CEO Elon Musk amoung other things.
But let’s historically go through the fun times of Twitter of Both Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk shall we?:
That blue checkmark!
Sought after by those who needed verification in their lives that “They exist” with the side benefit that all of their tweets will be positively promoted more so than everyone else’s. So much so that if anyone in your timeline even remotely likes a person with one of these bad boys. They’ll be sure to hear about this asshole’s tweets if they were following them or not. For Hollywood, Government Officials, and business in general. The blue checkmark represented power and importance above others within the social network.
During the Jack Dorsey years, there was originally an application to get the blue checkmark in the early 2010s which eventually disappeared altogether. Then after that application was gone it turned into a bit of a dark art to actually get the verification symbol. You almost had to have a PR agent responsible for contacting twitter to “Talk” to them about getting this checkmark on your account. There have been YouTubers that were affiliated with Machinima that apparently got this for people that were underneath their banner. There was no real discussion as to HOW this process happened. Just that an agent that “knows the business” talked to some PR division of Twitter and fucking magic happens.
The blue checkmark now.
Elon Musk came into control of Twitter and decided the first order of business is to get his 40 billion dollars out of the organization as fast as humanly possible. Originally priced at around $20 dollars a month, Elon settled for a Price of just $8 you get the following.
- Theoretically get to the top of everyone’s social network just like Jack Dorsey was doing. We don’t understand why it’s in a “Coming Soon” status when this was happening naturally.
- See half of the ads – This is kind of like Black Friday shopping. Where a store increases the price of an object % by 200 but then says on Friday it’s half off leaving you pay for a product at list price anyways. If you double the amount of advertisement you have on Twitter like Elon has been doing is it really a deal?
- Post longer videos – This one is confusing because there’s already a service within Twitter where you can stream.
- Get early access – To…… SOMETHING we guess?!?
Despite how financially thirsty this looks. At least Elon Musk has defined what it gets to get a blue checkmark unlike the many years of Jack Dorsey. Although even if subscriptions were in the millions not entirely sure if that’ll really make a dent in that 1-billion per year interest loan that was taken out.
We remember the vines.
Vine is possibly one of Twitters greatest historical failures not because it wasn’t popular. There are still tons of YouTube Vine compilations that proved it was certainly picking up speed. It was a failure because the Jack Dorsey administration decided to kill it. There could’ve been some purists at Twitter that thought Vine deviated from the platform too far. Or there could be other people on Twitter that decided in order to get into the Chinese market that just staying as a messaging app is the best path of business.
Now that Tik-Tok is decimating your industry. How was that decision Twitter? Really feeling the AOL vibes on this one.
The website is still parked to this very day. Elon Musk throwing out comments about reviving it. Which would probably help the platform given how insane the Tik-Tok app is about security. But he doesn’t seem to be pushing that subject too hard. Perhaps even he does not want to get his assets blown away in China.
On any social network, there are always going to be individuals that will push the limits of free speech. To have ABSOLUTE free speech would require you to allow people to do blatantly illegal shit to your server such as post child pornography under the guise of “Freedom.” Much like jumping up in a theatre and shouting ‘FIRE!’ Just because you have the freedom of speech people think that they should not be held responsible for their actions when they spout off or post something shitty.
So when it came to Banning Alex Jones at Infowars, or Donald Trump. Meh. The great thing about American business is you have the right to refuse business from whoever you want. They didn’t have to go on the “Abusive policy” tangent. Twitter could’ve just said “You know what? Fuck that guy! He’s gone!”
Ads were always a thing on Twitter. And for those on Linux or Windows with ad-blockers going consider yourself blessed. Because the closed communities of apple and android force you to suffer with these advertisements as they only serve “Trusted” apps. It seemed like ever since Elon took over the ads were cranked up to 21.
And not a single blue checkbox on site.
Gone are the days of verified advertisers that sell you a store of products and in come the bootleg Chinese advertisers that are procedurally generating business names of the same product over and over again. Doesn’t matter how many times you block them you will continue to get the same ad for one of these products on your phone whether you like it or not. All of the websites are registered by a group that is known for spam and each of them goes off to a site that marks up the cost of the item almost 500 percent and asks you to Paypal their money which the website and probably the Paypal account will be gone within the next three weeks.
This is the ‘quality’ Elon Musk is bringing on board. Products like:
- The collapsable aluminum magician’s wand is incorrectly sold as a self-defense bow staff that will break on the first impact.
- Outlet night lights that you can buy from sketchy ass websites for $15+10shipping that you can get for $4 at Lowes or Home Depot.
- OMG!!!! this Car LED Hood light that is illegal in almost every state can also melt your car’s fuse box!!!
- Tic Tac Tounge but without the safety glasses. Fuck your eyes we guess!
- “Hand Toy” that kids stayed away from Ipad and TV. No, they won’t.
But there’s one ad to us that takes the cake.
I like this more then my kids – Flying Shark/Fish ad.
Now, we’re no grammar experts as you guys could probably tell! But they could’ve just added the word “do” at the end of that sentence and it would’ve made more sense.
Fuck it! This statement about American families is telling!
Sorry Jimmy, we know we gave birth to you. But your life is meaningless to me now that we have a flying fish and shark in this home! You’ll never even come close to being as cool and as awesome as this flying fish Jimmy! Go to your room!
If these Chinese sites get as few as 20 people buying their overpriced product you could find the exact same thing on Amazon for cheaper. That they may or may not even ship. Their ad-campaign is a success because they brute force products down everyone’s throat. and to Elon, this is acceptable because hey! People are buying ad space. Fuck integrity!
Blocking other social networks.
Ooof, shame that his team didn’t get the memo from him 6 months ago. Because despite all of the horseshit mentioned above. This is probably the one that made us look into the Fediverse again.
This symbolizes some real insecurity issues from team Musk over at Twitter. Where he goes on his tangent about being all about free speech but if you start telling your userbase that you’ll be going elsewhere well. Get banned bro! Twitter even banned Mastodon for a few days and then later unbanned them with Elon sending off a backhanded tweet instead of offering a legit apology for this new ToS policy that was shutting down accounts left and right.
But what Mastodon said when their account was restored was magical.
This was basically the warning shot that a lot of users accepted and understood. That you cannot trust or rely on Twitter as your primary social network. To be honest, people should’ve come to this realization decades ago when Facebook was selling off data.
So thanks Elon Musk, your child-like insecurities made me re-think how we promote our site in the future. Although we may not leave completely. You’ll be hearing a lot less from us on Twitter in the future.
Mastodon/Plemora Fediverse go!
This is not our first rodeo kids.
We actually joined mastodon.online instance many years ago which probably was my number one mistake.
Everyone wants to treat Mastodon like Twitter. Bigger is better! More network more activity! This is actually a bad way of going about the Fediverse.
The problem with that ideology is the mastodon.online instance is mostly focused on forward programming and development and not so much on any of the interests that we would have as a visitor. Mastodon isn’t very forward about finding an instance that was right for you. Unfortunately, we ended up with a world timeline filled with programming and politics.
The great Twitter exodus
The other problem with everyone piling onto one instance is that the resources of most instances are finite. Meaning that if thousands of users join their servers. It means serving a lot more data and needing a lot more resources out of their VPS or privately hosted box. meow.social was one of those places completely overwhelmed with people signing up where they had to take their registration offline.
Censorship windows kept popping up which at the time there was no way to disable during my instance experience with Mastodon. A little update on this; all fediverse servers allow a user to self-censor their content to not offend others or to get an accidental report upon their instance. Either way it goes it’s super annoying to have to keep clicking on the ‘sensitive content’ warnings. It all goes away in a bit here.
The final straw that let us leave the Fediverse altogether the first time around was you have what we best call “FOSS-Extremists.” Now, for those who read my blog about FOSS software. It’s good that there are free alternatives out there. But we also understand that paid products such as Windows/Adobe actually make people money in their day-to-day lives within the world of Information Technology. That not every business wants to change its entire workflow by embracing free and open-source software.
A FOSS-Extremist will not tolerate the concept of people actually getting paid to work on commercial software in any spectrum of acceptance. Linux or die all the way. If it works for them that’s great. But that lifestyle does not work for me and thus we’re the evil bastards holding back the great Linux empire *shrugs*.
Finally, there were the Fediverse Communist groups that were going around and saying not only sites like Twitter should burn to the ground. But independent blogs too. That somehow the entire internet should be regulated by a governmental committee that determines who gets to say what on the information superhighway. As if that doesn’t sound dystopian at all! It was shitty all around on the mainline instance and honestly, I should’ve simply moved to another instance instead of leaving. Lessons learned we guess.
The solution? Start my own instance.
We didn’t write 2,000+ words in a blog just to bitch at you about our problems. We did so because we do fell on our faces and that hopefully by others reading this perhaps you can avoid some of these painful mistakes. Are we going to go about joining the Fediverse again? Where we will be doing research and choosing an instance to join and hope that said instance will be around a long time so we don’t lose all of my friends and followers.
Well, since we host our own blog. We’re also going to host our own Fediverse instance as well!
Choosing instance software.
There’s a bit of mixed news when it comes to setting up your instance. Sure, you can download the mastodon mainline instance and set everything up. But to sacrifice 2 GB of ram for loading the multitude of programming languages on my VPS really doesn’t cut it for me. Luckily due to differences of opinion within the programming community, other instances are available. We chose “Pleroma“ because instead of 2GB to fire up an instance it’s something a lot calmer to work with and only takes up around 400Mb of memory for just me and a friend or two. We also heard there was something about how Mastodon compresses images that makes it not very fun for art on Reddit. But can’t find anything to really back that statement up.
There’s another instance out there call “Misskey” which had a really sweet admin and usage statics chart. But we’re going for simple here.
After going through the open-source guide for Debian, we probably should have done the OTP version in retrospect. But the compilation and installation of v2.4.5 went very well with the instructions on their site. Didn’t have to visit any forums or strange sites to find out there was something missing in the tutorial which worked awesomely. The upgrade portion from version 2.4.5 to 2.5.0 was a little sketchy and I had to repair/update “elang” which was interesting to do with elixirs’ mix’ commands.
The emptiness is real!
When you first launch your instance it’s like a ghost town, with your server not talking to any federated instances. However, with everyone advertising their handle on Mastodon on other social networks you can start plugging in names into the search menu and it does reach out to the federated network to find them which saved me a lot of trouble.
Add some relays.
What made my instance feel a little more at home at least from the world view is adding some instance relays of servers that we would be interested in. A lot of them are furry and art instances and that’s okay. I’d rather see pictures than get rained on by bad news from the big social network and from the occasional political instance out there.
There is also the option to block an instance as when you follow people you may have political garbage from time to time. But I haven’t had the need to ban an instance. At least not yet!
Want to follow me? @email@example.com – The “Core” subdomain was being used for Shoutcast streaming but we figured having our federated instance here isn’t such a bad idea. I’ll be sure to put it into the “Social Blades” section of my site as well.
Populating the algorithm with paid Twitter accounts totally works. Right guys?
As a user of a private instance, it’s important to realize that a little bit of work has to be put in to make Mastodon/Misskey/Pleroma work for you. This isn’t Twitter where you can be a total shut-in and let the algorithm auto-follow as many celebrities and companies as possible to improve their own self-worth. You have to follow/reach out to people on the fediverse and in return, the fediverse will provide data back.
Will the Fediverse become the dominant social network of the future? I don’t know. Guess it all comes down to how much of a “King dickhead” Elon Musk wants to be trying to manage something that has no business in managing. Even still a centralized network such as Twitter has the advantage of posting to a centralized location and always getting that data from said location. If coverage and reach are the names of your business. Then chances are you’ll grumble and put up the bullshit there. Whereas a Federated network runs the risk of instance admin censoring or simply hardware failure preventing that part of the data to be accessed anymore.
Some people will log into the Fediverse just to set up some kind of Bot mirroring everything they say on Twitter and never logging back in, Only to bitch later on that they’re getting no interaction or the “Fediverse is dead!! bwwaaaahh!” Bots generally are ignored by users of the Fediverse because users know there will be no interaction.
Others will go off to other social network services such as Tumblr not really understanding the platform took a total shit on artists by censoring/banning art in favor of better ad revenue and has since quasi-reversed their decision.
To me at least, hosting this blog, and running my own instance (with a friend or two) takes that level of power away from rich bitch billionaires, communists, and activists. Could I be Fedi-Blocked? Could Elon throw a temper tantrum and ban my account? We don’t think we’re worth the time but sure! I guess those scenarios could happen. But with running our own network. We’re not completely silent here.
To those people saying that Twitter would go offline in a month after Elon fired all of those people. It’s been more than a month. You guys let me down! It’s very sad.
Until next time, that’s what server said.
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