I wish things in Mastodon were more active. Maybe I'm just being back at network-building. Or maybe I'm just looking for the wrong experience? I otherwise really like it here.

Anyone have tips, or active people to follow for art stuff and tech stuff who I might now already know?

Or should I go on birdsite and keep trying to draw people over here? idk if I can manage it without another Twitter Controversy like back in the day when Mastodon took off...

@zkat I organically grew a few 'cool people to follow' from my instance timeline and from responders on threads and boosts, then kinda ....... let it float. I don't add a lot of new follows now, I like it small and cozy.

Meanwhile on birdsite I follow art people and cool-seeming tech people on the drop of a hat (and also block at the drop of a hat) -- it's the opposite experience, I get too much sensory overload on tw***r and then I retreat here for soothing calm

@brion @zkat I’m still struggling with figuring out which mastodon instance I should keep using and that stresses me out! 🤯

@Snuggle @zkat I feel like the most important thing is the vibe of the mods & the local timeline.

you can always 'go stealth' and bypass the local timeline for your own posts, but the local mods are the ones you're gonna go to if you have trouble, and setting up a welcoming environment *and also* one where problems will be taken seriously is key

for tech-y instances i've been very happy on because of the mod team but it's gonna be "too tech" still for a lot of folks ;)

@Snuggle @zkat

some folks also more actively engage in the local TL and finding an instance with people you vibe with is a big deal then

feel free to instance hop though! ;)

@brion @zkat I have a very basic question, if that’s okay?

What happens if the host for whichever Mastodon instance I choose... goes bankrupt and goes down, is no longer hosted? Do all my Toots just disappear into the land of lost bits?

@Snuggle @brion they go away, yup. So picking an instance that's likely to stay up as an important consideration. My partner's instance went away, for example :(

@zkat @Snuggle note that you can transfer to a new instance keeping your follows intact... unless your old instance just goes offline before you have time to set it up ;_;

@brion @zkat How does this work? Any downsides to transferring?

@Snuggle @zkat I've not used it myself, but you click some magic buttons and your old instance sends all your data to the new instance, and sends a ping to your followers that they should update the subscription to the new instance; usually it works smoothly but there is some potential for bugs in the transfer. I'm not 100% sure if it copies your old toots or not...

@zkat ultimately i use both. they’re different, and mastodon’s codebase’s trajectory isn’t what i would expect from a serious replacement. without preexisting user ownership of data, i don’t think replacements will succeed in general.

instead we can cultivate the communities we want using whatever tech we have. friend camp shows you can have tight digital communities and mastodon is only a part of its infrastructure. it’s not about being a replacement then, but about hosting a unique space.

@zkat couple of thoughts.

first, i dislike that mastodon seems relatively unimaginative, in its design. technically, it works. it's fine. it's a straightforward twitter clone.

but it doesn't have to be that. it adds no value proposition of its own other than twitter-with-amenities. it's positioned as an _alternative_, not an _also_. nobody ever talked about converting people from Twitter to Tumblr, for example.

@zkat relatedly, secondly, while i'd love if people used Mastodon for the simple reason that i can't be banned for saying "Memphis" (or being too queer or whatever), i just don't really actively strive for that. it has its own feel and vibe, its own people. it's never going to be Twitter. i would like a lot of people to try adding it to their lives. but i'll never get people to convert/switch/whatever.

@zkat tbh i think Mastodon could bring the dream of Pownce back to life, but it feels like the decisions have already been made about how things will work.

i could fork it, write my own ActivityPub thing, whatever, but that's just fucking bananas. who has the time?

@emilyst what specifically do you think would improve things here, if you did have the time to write your own?

@zkat oh gosh, uhh, well.

highly customizable theming/customization (with perhaps the possibility of a market for these, for people who wanted to make them to sell).

distinct post types, of the sort you saw on Pownce or Tumblr, where you could highlight a quote, an image, a video clip, etc.

ability to kinda corral followers into various groups so you could follow and share with different audiences in different ways. analogous to “circles” from G+.

@zkat customization focused on “branding” for companies to use. (ways to add contact links, special forms for contact, ancillary pages for “About,” etc.)

ways to set up galleries of things (mostly art/photos I’m thinking of here), both of your own stuff for others to consume and for you to construct of others’ posts to share.

@zkat the group idea and the customization idea could allow the construction of purpose-oriented communities, akin to Facebook Groups, which would serve as informal forums for all kinds of things (bands, artists, restaurants, etc.)

@zkat I mean, I’m just making stuff up off the top of my head. i haven’t even sat down to think about a design or anything. but so many things are POSSIBLE, and yet Mastodon constrains itself to this Twitter-like model for reasons that baffle me.

@zkat if i were in a “””design””” place, i’d think about how to facilitate, above all, connection and curation.

Mastodon has many elements of connection, but they’re relatively primitive. Curation is almost non-existent.

But consider how many of Twitter’s features (mentions/replies, threads, hashtags, etc.) grew out of informal conventions of the user base. enough people were there to make that work. it grew from there.

@zkat <3

it could be done. it’s just a big lift for a single individual.

@emilyst yes. It definitely sounds like a lot of work for sure

@emilyst @zkat a few people do... I've been thinking about it for a while

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