Empty nests and bright eyed fledglings

✏️ Empty nests and bright eyed fledglings – My obligatory moving from Twitter to Mastodon post.

Reading what has been happening at Twitter HQ over the past few weeks is astonishing. Musk’s parasitic behaviour to his new employees and users reminds me of a bloated cuckoo crushing it’s newly occupied nest. His public arrogance makes it all the more sickening.

The original Twitter logo of a blue bird alongside an evil and ugly Skeksis from the Dark Crystal.
Twitter: how it started, how it’s going.

Over the last 12 years, Twitter has been an indispensable platform for growing as a practitioner and transitioning from front-end development to UX and then specialising in design research. During that time I’ve connected with really smart people, scuffled with strangers, and shared random brain-farts.

My fondness for the platform has slowly been pecked away; the API change that removed the RSS feed, the constant ‘latest tweets’ feed switching, the arrival of ads, lies and hate. With this latest fiasco and the murmuration of users leaving, I decided enough was enough.

I’ve downloaded an archive of my account and will probably make a few posts to promote the UXup meetup I help to co-organise. Some people have taken the more drastic decision to delete their data and account. I might do that at some point.

The decision was rather liberating. I deleted my Instagram account a year or two ago and this has similar feeling of relief. Through the blissful quiet came a distant chirp of fear of missing out. What about Mastodon?

It turns out I had signed up for an account six years ago and was already following a few of those really smart people. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve not done much else on it and frankly that’s the way it should be. My feed is slow, the content is relevant, the people have their hearts in the right place.

My second post on Mastodon was to celebrate the little green tick awarded for verifying your account. On other social media websites that might mean paying for the privilege. On Mastodon, proving your identity hasn’t been monetised. Instead it uses some concepts from the IndieWeb and a little bit of HTML added to your own site. The humble anchor link with a rel="me" attribute.

I got a huge kick of out getting verified on Mastodon. Not because it puts me into some exclusive club… well maybe it does… but it’s a wholesome creative club full of nerds and hackers. They are people celebrating the original spirit and raw material of the web. I feel comfortable with them at the helm. I’m excited about what comes next. It feels like it’s an opportunity to right some of the wrongs that came before it.