Brand A or Brand B?

I’m experimenting with two of the social media apps that have been touted as replacements for Elon’s House o’ Nazis & TERF Emporium — Post and Mastodon.

Honestly, I expected to like Post better. There is a waiting period — apparently there’s a huge backlog of people trying to sign up — but once you’re approved, setting up an account is very simple.

Mastodon has a much shorter waiting period. But it’s a little more confusing. Unlike Twitter or Facebook (for instance), or Post, where all of the technological infrastructure is owned by the company, Mastodon is a series of servers — basically, privately-run networks. You have to pick which server (I’m going to call them networks) you want to join.

Think of it like signing up for a cell phone plan. Your Verizon phone can talk to my T-Mobile phone, and both of us can call someone with an AT&T phone.

Most of the Mastodon servers (networks) seem to talk to the other networks, so people from one Mastodon network can talk to the people from the other networks. But unlike Twitter or Facebook, when you sign into your account, you’re not signing into your account on the service; you’re signing into your account on your particular network.

Like I said, it’s a little confusing and clunky, which is why from the beginning, I expected to like Post better. I’m on that app.

And guess what? I think, so far, I like Mastodon better.

I don’t know why, but the interface seems cleaner, and I kind of like the idea that you can sign up for a network run by people with your same interests.

There are Mastodon servers for people into heavy metal, people who want to talk about beer, people who program in the computer language Ruby, people who are into the furry community, people who want to discuss food and wine, people who like to ride bicycles.

I wasn’t sure which one I wanted, so I chose one for union members. I’m now on Mastodon.

But if I understand it correctly, you can move your Mastodon account (and your followers) to a different Mastodon server if your server closes down, or if you decide you just want to be with a different community, just like you can move your cell phone to a different network. So if someone ever creates a Mastodon server for “middle-aged bald white oldies DJs south of Pittsburgh” I could move there.

Also, so far, the people on Mastodon are making me laugh. It seems like a much looser group of people. Post seems very serious and important. Kind of stuffy.

Post is also buggy as hell. Someone commented on one of my Posts — a nice comment. So I tried to respond. Post told me I needed to log in. I already was logged in, but I tried logging in again. Post told me I already had an account and didn’t need to log in. I logged out, logged back in, and tried to respond to the comment. Post helpfully said, “Would you like to sign up for a Post account?” At which point, I gave up.

The other thing I’m not sure I like about Post is that it’s owned (in part) by a company controlled by Marc Andreessen, who’s a wealthy right-wing tech goofball very much in the same mode as Elon Musk (or Mark Zuckerberg, for that matter).

If Post takes off, I suspect it’s very quickly going to turn into the same kind of cesspool of advertising and trolls as Twitter and Facebook.

I’ve already seen some comment threads on Post with people (mostly white guys) ganging up to silence other people (mostly women and people of color) which is what’s turned Twitter and Facebook into such garbage scows.

In all honestly, maybe what it proves is that social media itself is a bad idea, and simply changing the name or the platform isn’t going to fix the underlying problem.

Anyway, I’m going to keep experimenting with Post and Mastodon, and I still have a presence at Facebook,

I also kept the pilot light lit on my account at Twitter, meaning I haven’t deleted it, though I did take it private.

But I also don’t think I’m going to be writing any free content for them any time soon. I can’t in good conscience contribute, even in a tiny way, to a service that gives freedom to white supremacists, anti-semites and gay-bashers while silencing journalists and anti-fascists (as well as anyone else who annoys Mad King Elmo).

If Twitter ever gets its shit together, I might return. For now, I’m trying Mastodon and Post.

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