First off, I have no presence on Threads–Meta is collecting so much information on users that they skipped the EU altogether for now (there is no way it is
GDPR compliant, I’ll bet), and I’m not inclined to change that.
I do use Bluesky, but only sporadically, and only because most of my friends and follows are now there. But I don’t like it only being available on mobile and discoverability is still a problem, so I don’t see it as a viable alternative to Mastodon.
Update: In the meantime, people have pointed out that Bluesky now has a web UI (which I was unaware of–wasn’t there when I joined) and that there is an intriguing proxy called SkyBridge that makes it look like a Mastodon server.
Mastodon is now my default
Most importantly, I have mostly stopped posting on Twitter (other than replies and the odd comment). I still check in daily (typically over breakfast) because it still feels more “mainstream” and I follow a ragtag band of accounts spanning comics, tech, and Portuguese folk who will likely never move to Mastodon, but I don’t go out of my way to post there anymore, and the timeline is just crammed with scammy dime shop ads, sometimes one per screenful of posts, which makes the experience abominable.
Even for traditionally popular events in my circles (like WWDC), I had zero incentive to go and check Twitter–partly because pretty much everyone I followed in the Apple universe also has a Mastodon account, and following
#WWDC2023 on Ivory was just as good an experience as it used to be on Twitter–and maybe even better.
Ivory has won
That reminds me: I now tend to keep Ivory open throughout the day on my Mac, and although its multi-column view isn’t perfect, it is good enough that I don’t feel the need to use the web interface anymore.
And yes, I caved in and paid for an iOS/macOS subscription, although I am still fundamentally opposed to the idea of subscriptions for software. I just wanted to standardize and simplify my life, although I’m not feeling a lot of cross-platform benefits yet.
But the experience is still a bit fiddly–a lot of my wishlist has yet to come to pass, and I am intrigued by the continued lack of ability to track threading and replies properly, or to focus on a small set of users better than with lists (which is why I am still generating
RSS feeds out of a couple).
A fair chunk of it is that
mastodon.social is definitely not popular with smaller, more niche communities, and that just spoils the experience for everyone.
I have a couple of accounts on other instances, but I just don’t bother to switch between them most of the time, and I’ve also found some of those communities (even tech-centric ones) to be toxic in a different, more insidious way.
Self-hosting is no longer a priority
My initial enthusiasm for ActivityPub and building or finding a nice, tidy server implementation has taken a back seat to reality, both because I lack any time to hack at it, and because I just don’t think it is that important to “own my identity” and suchlike concerns. I’m happy to let someone else do the heavy lifting, and
mastodon.social has been working fine for me.
But I kept my raw protocol source tree around, and still think that Takahē is a simple, straightforward and perfectly manageable solution for self-hosting (or for a small community). I am a bit sad that they decided to cut back on the UI and massively slowed down development, but I intend to keep a tiny instance running until it either breaks (which it nearly did recently when I experimented with following Lemmy topics) or becomes completely superfluous.
Overall, I still see hosting my own Mastodon server as more of a continued experiment than anything I would want to rely on.
A key realization of the past few months is that either way I choose to look at it Twitter is pretty much gone (as will likely be Reddit, although I don’t use it much), and social networking (as it appealed to me) now represents a much smaller portion of my time online. I’d rather poke at HN (which comes with its own baggage), the private Slack instances that sprung up during the pandemic, or plain old
RSS, which is still much more rewarding from a learning perspective than anything else.