Pragmatic 80: Mastodon

9 June, 2017


GNU Social is gaining momentum recently with Mastodon leading the charge. It’s a different way to micro-blog and it’s not perfect, but it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Vic joins John to walk through where it stands today.

Transcript available
Welcome to pragmatic pragmatics a discussion show complete practical application technology by exploring the real-world trade-offs we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives nothing is seems to host Gigi and today I enjoy once again by Vic Hudson has gone to John Harriet I'm doing good in doing good and I'd like to talk about arm mastodon and I'm in heavy metal band arm I actually mean the social media our site so arm I have been tweeting every now and then across posting from mastodon have you have had have you been seeing those coming through in your in your feed I absolutely may feed in a click through and I did some investigating you seem to be running your own little private little social network based on some open source software yes pretty much that's it in a nutshell but will get the details on that later on but a little bit about what mastodon is first so mastodon is actually based on genuine social or canoe social habits must be pronounced on an amount based on status net which is to be called laconic Hannah anyway and new social implements the O status are standard and it was intended to be a microblogging replacement but it was also designed to be distributed by industry network like email is distributed with multiple servers that can talk to each other if they have to or want to so users are ex-MPP Jaber for publishing updates and uses open ID for authentication and O status supports Federation which is that ability to subscribe and an essentially aggregate information from the different instances of service and arm I status uses our subscription via pub sub hi Bob and replies by the Salmon protocol and I really want to go under the details about that if you really want is links and show notes but arm it was actually identity are identical or and that was the first deployment of canoe social but it wasn't it was icy develops to fully include O status until version 0.9.0 in early 2010 so as a social menu you will projects go is really not that old and several other O status based platforms out there that are able to interact with the arm or it was into with each other based on O status but that the latest and greatest one to date is star is mastodon and the man behind mastodon is a guy called arm I Eigen I have now is that right you can Rocco arm I think is German and the first public release of it was on 5 October 2016 which is just a little bit over six months ago so is really matter really knew as written are compiled for index and runs off of our Ruby and our JavaScript on the on the front and so if you think that we're anything about arm how that works there's a few differences some of them are subtle and some of them are annoying solace go with what tweets are tweets on mastodon there called toots and toots is kind, funny word and I'm not gonna me what you want is your mind jump to anything of toots philanthropist artist and I mean really arm most of the time probably no good things exactly right its decision he name for it they just want to come with a different name for Tweety and I guess if you take the ease and determiner owes you get and serve get tweets you get to Wooton you drop the W and get to dance like I guess that's where it came from but I to know I am now I'm thinking more about what is happening bake beans to be honest but the thing is that Matt maybe they thought it's like gum I had seen the expression on Twitter a few times I've been busy tooting today or something like that in my okay anyway whatever arm while things it's cool about mastodon though is that you can hide the entire contents of a toot behind and SFW which is not safe for work announcing I didn't know till I started running mass stocks we don't say that in Australia but now known as of WN so gay that when we cover content warning CW for it for your the entire contents of the toot and if you do account content warning you can type in a custom text warning message whatever you like which idlers yes was exactly is great the spoiler alert right not something that I typically have played with but I've done a few times for the Halliburton their works but I have seen some people rent on Twitter about them I think that there would be some people appreciative of it yet I think so things been generally well received and is a nice feature arm but time will tell Twitter takes the number anyway down senior uses that breed those of toots that have got a warning behind them they have to select the item 1st our show what's behind it so it doesn't just appear on their face site I see the attraction running its running is cool actually but I personally am used to help a lot but am glad is there arm the other thing I've noticed about mastodon as the community and mastodon generally listed the early adopters and like say the love hate thing but it's not really is more a hate hate thing that would like really that unlike Twitter like not all and you not supposed to mention Twitter Whitesnake, on mastodon they apparently no no steps frowned upon you supposed to call it the bird site which is a bit area is there a bite that will reply to you if you self refer to appropriately not that I know of but maybe someone will write one at some point becoming the whole thing of having to call bird site and being arm and being criticised if you call Twitter arm in a in a postie from an on on mastodon I mean it's it it's a bit wacky really EI Dahlia year if I don't get why you have to do that the animosity yeah this is like it and it's uncalled for you know and I will whatever anyway but that that's just what is basically that this basically much like the spirit of man Reese's migrant up like this is more about owning your own content and not just reading it into the Twitter machine correct yet correct exactly and I'm not I have not held the research into arm what Manton is working on but I am aware of it yet but is not something that I've I've really look much into Arbor it is it the idea that you can run arm my one of his blogs on your own server arm or adult no specifics about it and not on SRS Peter anything at this very talking about it on the coin? Yes I do know he is running a hosting service every sale received into signup and have an account they are a think that he may be a think it may be you might be able to set it up and had to run your own instance somewhere else and just have it feed into the system are not sure about somebody can correct me if I'm wrong but he has is it the whole idea is just about you not owning your content are just giving it away to Twitter and let them mark it up in the revolt he sees me really easy so you can do the idea so you can outweigh tweets which equals in a microblog post and you can also put your longform content in their it is well see that your microblog posting regular plug post and he's done a lot of work to make it really easy to just have a cross post to the other social networks and stuff to seed unless you left feel left out of anything because style neuron content Michael might sound really interesting and shouted look bit more into that mastodon is along the same sorts of lines arm but in open source arm air that that the one big thing that he's gonna have going for a list that is greatly the microdata blog URL and if you sign up and get an account there you can get your name at micro W targets as critical: a look and that'll be more arm the yards of the thing though about mastodon that I think is is really worth talking about a little bit more and more depth is the year is the character limit so to a toot in mastodon's 500 characters long and I personally I find that much better than 140 characters that Twitter gives and I know the people have this thing about saying hundred 40 characters forces you to be brief know and it representing another week EI I yeah I disagree I don't think that hundred 40 characters is actually a good restriction to have because I think the kind of thinking is the brevity is the soul of wit as they say and I think the reality is that when you look at the billions and billions of tweets have gone past a think all the brief wit has been done and I don't exist much can do at this point it's it I feel like arm to fill that gap arm bit the restriction of 140 caters to fill that that gap people have to do multiple tweets one after the other young wheat storms and I think your arm you're meant to do whatever toot store we people do due to storms actually they do you seriously do but then nowhere near as big or as long as annoying are in general that with between storms are quite common and I think that one of proms I've got with tweets storms is that I think people misunderstand what you mean because they don't take the time to read through the full threads or things like all that if you've got that's assuming that the feeling that the either a tweets store there is a learning curve they are your assuming that the artwork that we store actually knew how to compose a sweet strong properly so that older tweets are linked together and if somebody clicks through to one they get the whole context of a gas whether or not they choose to consume the whole context register single tweeters on the on the reader about LSD after when they they do appropriately they can have a whole context available to people by making sure that we collect together. Sinclair actually just metre only doubtful lack of tweets store is awesome I am I his arm he did unread Sydney and that was yet to get you back up the answer either you have a nap story didn't get you cool arm that is awesome and I think that's arm the fact that we have services like like tweet longer was the one that came to mind the whole bunch of different ones and that there are apps that are specifically designed now for tweets storms illustrators the problem are and I also think that if you look at what Twitter has been doing gradually over the last year or two in arm image image links URLs and stomach that don't count logic alkalinity more nor do use in a reply system doesn't use the app mentions. They could count anymore either exactly so I think if you look at carefully what Twitter is doing they are indirectly freeing up characters they realised that the hundred 40 character limit is a problem and I wouldn't be surprised the next couple years if they push that out of 200 or even 250 also like that but they're in a site the whole idea that hundred 40 characters is if you're on the platform you've gotta have hundred 40 characters and dad said I think that high duets BS I think that there is no reason why should be constrained to hundred and 40 days 140 are gone and all mastodon is doing is saying he is 500 that should be more than enough and obviously think that it's a far better number because you you can get a hot much better rounded idea or concept of thought across in fibre characters and you can in hundred and 40 saying alright son of man that arm to web interface it that it comes with the mastodon comes with looks a lot like arm TweetDeck you with the three of you all strip columns you can have yet and I'm glad quick and error-free she had reversed given its open source clinic pacemaker but you may be tilting from the terminal car and in not doing that I could I am not going to be doing it arm bit but there is no official client right because open source and harm there are some difficulties with open source stuff getting onto the IRS app store I believe are what some of that some of the open source licenses are not compatible with app store distribution adult right okay giallo them some call so that that's most likely why end and that there are three that I'm using arm for iOS because I'd hide their web interface is okay arm but honestly I prefer using a nap because I'm on an iPad or iPhone all day and I just don't understand like having the web browser's anyway this three apps amusing once called Anna rock another one is called 11 T and is the last one is called rather unimaginatively mastodon iOS which you yet does what it says on the 10th it it does but the funding is actually like that one the best and I like the best because it is visible to universal app surrounding iPad and the iPhone and the other one is just iPhone only our end a couple weeks ago the mastodon iOS developer added our landscape mode on the iPad which is the last feature I really wanted and then I stopped using the web interface on my iPad entirely for mastodon now just run through the year through the year through that act so the thing about that the mass iOS client is actually are is not it is pretty straightforward it does the job arm but the one thing I also like about it is that's arm it has a Yarm sharing sheet or a an extension action extension learning it is arm tough I have a photo or photograph something open Safari I can share that mastodon via that down which the other apps don't have downward that you gonna have that these days we absolutely minutes that's like half of the tweets that I sorry half of the two routes that I put in the Bird site anyway they come alive don't give it to this honour start to administer can and I am that's a great feature right the other two don't have that arm of all three of them arm and rock is probably the most polished on the benefit that an arm 11 T I think is an android first at and they are cross compiling it so I think that's why it's behind it likes behind the feature set arm there is an android it also has a very blue interface it looks a lot like the Twitter ramp in terms of its colour scheme which I find it unnerving arm but Yates it's okay to have options but both a Moroccan 11 T have much better photo pickers so if you're in the app and you want to post a photo arm it's actually a lot easier through a Moroccan 11 T because what they do is they are to have a fast colour arm she's photo picker I was mastodon's just takes forever and only shows you like 20 or 30 of most recent photos which is really frustrating so you do not there yet and that's okay because it anyone around six months and some these apps are around for like two months so it's early days and is really early days really early days yet so is like the early days of Twitter like even worse in the early days of like sorry nowhere near as bad as the early days of Twitter conciliator Twitter there are no IRS app store right so is it before even Twitter if it existed and arm was the first ones I was arm and 90s a forget now and while anyway them on it so the one that eventually became the tweedy think 20 thinking that it that Lloyd represent the one that eventually became the official app yet anyway so yeah arm but the other thing is I found push notifications are very reliable on these sometimes I come through the times they don't arm it's getting better but it's not as good as it could be arm that year and the other thing I find frustrating and I wasn't part of the original Twitter API still isn't was that dad the tweet marker is no toot marker right and what you are to give a shout out to Matt and maybe can make you to work his likely measurement wreath is also the one that meet we work I am that's right so you that that would be really really handy right and because that was originally that's not that I think it still is a separate service but eventually Twitter I think Twitter added that denying or not and I note are at their own I think toy terrific with using tweet marker may not know about tweet bidirectionally not use tweet but very much at all they think that Twitter still manages the sounder you don't need to sink you just know it's need to see what's in it when you come back near mossy village is fine if you not of the completion of mentality yams my problems I am a completion list so I die I get frustrated by being so I'd like to get at some point but that's okay so it's early days and I'm happy to serve to forgo arm some of those little like features arm for the benefits that this brings us to another thing I was glad about the right to sleep tilting off into the to the void unit there is a timeline we can follow people when you can see other people students absolutely so illuminate the mechanics in a minute arm but is not all about the usernames because it is it is a little bit different so that the usernames are kind of a hybrid of a Twitter username and an email address and it's kind of a bit funky when she had around it makes perfect sense so arm suffer me for example I have at GG at so like an email address but with an at at the beginning of it to you Gallagher username added domain yet pretty much so and and once you try did you had around that arm here it needs to be that way because there could be hundreds of thousands of masturbating is still a word around it yet exactly is a slight email server so that if this is what can keep your irritable thing from going mainstream John unit elaborate arm why because that that that that that a learning curve night and users are gonna say but on Twitter I can just at mention because in one of them died and I have to remember where he were of advocates and corneas while I case the way to skip the way the search works is if you type in Vic Hudson one arm it'll come with a list of excitement Vic Hudson ones that are present on all the instances and you just have to figure out which one is you and that's fine except for one problem and the problem is you can have multiple accounts on multiple instances here so you could be Vic Hudson one at engineered space or you could be because in one and or you could be Vic Hudson one at and they would all they could all be you your account I can be older Vic Hudson once you can be well the our failure will make this you have endless toot storms at yourself from different anyway so for example in my case before I created engineered space is i.e. crane account on gap as you do because sites want to have a go and see it was about now that was fine except when I then went and explored and reimported my my timeline and everything into engineered space and I went and realised that there was no way to delete my account so only way you can actually delete an account is to message the administrator of the instance that the accounts on and ask them to delete it and from the command line they run a Reiko/USA salute the regular manual query to delete you correct yes they run array query Ray command to query an extract and delete because the whole thing is built on Napo stress are mystical and has been widely criticised for a whole bunch of performance reasons and so on and so forth and are there so apparently arm William Shatner you know bless him when creating tilting was that if he tilting he he did he got into a brief lean is like right on down the sucks and I like it I will delete my account and then he couldn't sole boy I know the authors of getting correctly and now you don't is undergoing a late start because he's gonna go to court Agro anyway to monitor arm is even obscene about learning curve though in your average user yeah I know I know and the but the reality is that we all accept the fact that you know like I am like or whatever or or GG or whatever we understand that I'm also John.GG at no iCloud or me whatever the house and you note this is the female separate gambit not criticising this don't get me wrong I just ate I think that it sounds to me like it's destined to be like a geeky thing I'm not entirely sure I agree which may be exactly what you want you knowingly and morally maybe you just want a place were just that that the people that are in the really high-level gimmickry can go in and hang out in be themselves and keeping an monitor Twitter started right and Twitter took it would refuse to go mainstream it it it it your rates on offer are not sold that that's what can happen so a little bit more about how mastodon works so when you open up you get a few views the first one is your own timeline of course in the timeline is constructed of everyone that you follow just like Twitter nothing particularly special there there will is however another view that is called the Yum are the instance arm public instance timeline and that's the equivalent of the firehose but just for your instance so let's say you have 100 users on your instance it will show you all of their toots in one long timeline which is conical and then the next one is the federated timeline and the federated timeline is basically anyone that you follow arm hang another Mary Fraser know the photon is anyone on your instance arm that they follow is on the federated timeline so their timelines before the people that they follow in your timelines and people you follow are added to a federated timeline and allows you to basically go beyond your local network and see who una if you and I were the only users on any instance the federated timeline would be a combination of the two through the people I follow and the toots from the people you follow yes that's the general idea so big and the theory goes like this that if I'm if I'm on and on instance and I'm following 10 people from all from other instances I have to go and fetch all the toots from all those people on all those instances and store them so why not do something with them and display them on a federated timeline so I think it won't make it output with discoverability to yet exactly rights language una running instance together there is a fairly decent Ides that I may find interesting and the people you are following a new may find interest in the people I'm following exactly right and I think that your arm ITS really handy and it's a good idea and I think that that's something that Twitter has lost along the way and its journey it's lost that discoverability that the fire hoses cease to be any good and that discoverability is gone pretty well entirely and there reliant now and things like hashtags and trending hashtags go anyway and explore the sucks anyway so apart from that arm you got local follows in remote follows but to be perfectly honest you follow someone you can do a search and it'll blow you said you were you type in Vic Hudson one in your cover list of all because once you pick the person you want any follow them marathon on your instance are just as remote follow as opposed follow path matters no real difference are a couple things a glitch that annoy me is that when you follow someone from a different instance the council of followers is only accurate for the people following them that person on that instance so if I have an account on arm down and that person has 10 followers following them that are on your instance on than your see of this business 10 followers bites if there is only one person following them on that instance and you have a look and see only people following them even if they have 100 billion people following them on the act instance far as you can tell that I got one follower that this is a side effect of the distributed nature of the thing and yes it is now nothing stopping them at some point from trying to do I get a manual fetch of follow account like daily or something crossed out could do that but to date they have not so this is that this is Gallagher restraining here coming off if you get to this eventually we can say Veronica to result in a curious now how this is being managed like the timelines and his followers in all this is there any actual server component that processing any of this all uses of this like working your way from the death is also the site is also a site yet there is a Cubist site in a queue called sidekick and sidekick you arm basically reaches out periodically to all the other instances in a message each other and they build this up in their own sick the postclassical database year and it builds the timeline arm incrementally but that of course you is this problematic from the point of view that you could have your sites the down instances that had out there anymore and yelling instances that are off-line so you it's kind is telling someone I sent you an email and you like you haven't seen it yet in a psycho while did you send it I don't so if you're following some of his tweeting from instance men instance goes off off the part of the map for a while doubt arm you are getting Twitter toots map person for a while and so they will eventually come through later or are they just God yes they will eventually so this is the thing right it's like it's not that the reality is that Twitter is in fact just like that is just that it's buried under a layer of abstraction so you don't see it at sedate they have hundreds of servers running Twitter all around the world but yet if you have an outage in one data centre you you might get a delay of seeing someone's tweets the note few hours but it's hidden underlay of abstraction you wouldn't know you so mastodon dismay is a more visible so what did I do with mine so selling things that could get better if they further develop the product though I absolutely they will get it's currently at version 1.4.1 at time of recording arm but the reality is that in their developing a major release with a whole bunch of bug fixes and extra features pre-war once a month and arm and are yes it's been it's quite popular will get someone I was a minute that arm so my own instance so what I do in October the what I did and the not about the why I did so lets go of the what so what I've done is I've created a virtual private server arm the fibre month line owed entry-level one which is all you need arm although I'm sure that if I got a name a better server than with more memory than it would run better but it runs good enough for me and because atenolol uses not and down anyway so the VPS is running sent seven and basically I just said is an entry-level version to little while to get set up correctly because a lot of people are using our Roku and there's a lot of Dr stuff that they go through unlike nearby doesn't apply to me that doesn't apply to me and I'm doing a lot of my automated staff using system D and all the other usual things you do down in Lenox land but any care anyway so it was a little bit of mucking around to do the upgrade I didn't upgrade from 1.2.2 to 1.3.3 was one of the moment I haven't taken the lead to 1.4.1 some, like the last time a bit messy and you gotta run a few incantations and stuff to make it work properly see God do migrate to the database through certain upgrade to QC incantations I certainly did the chicken legs and voodoo involved. Chicopee possibly possibly anyway so you the thing is that this is not for people are comfortable with the terminal and you might my knowledge of Ruby Ruby James Rake near post greasy Creole sickle it's not at the level that property should be but I can quite actively follow instructions and when it's like this is these instructions for Debbie and all therefore a bond to unite IRA I know enough about the different Lenox distro is to say what I can translate that for sent us now because of an running sent on six and I run a couple of VPS on centre seven as well over the years arm for engineer network and take distortion so I know enough to be dangerous asked anyway but to be honest arm you once I once I figured out that the silly mistakes I was making here an area indeed did work and has been working relatively well so I haven't had too many issues with it arm although there was a guy I bought a Yarm domain I figured I got let's do and notes not about spaceships or anything going to write our I think it is a space for me know engineers to hang out on mastodon I suppose that was the rationale made sense in my head when I make sense and I don't really know I'm not really sold on it but hey whether it sounds comical I guess so arm fishing for affirmation anyhow arm seat so yes at the moment I have an enormous number of two users so if anyone will die however Goliath of which I am one of its find that the instance stats are up there so go to the gutter and have a look if you want are nothing to hide out but the stipulation is that I wanted to be if people are interested in trying out mastodon and is interested in developing a public timeline about engineering topics are mere like engineering topics not like you what you want engineers well I want people to want talk about engineering I don't I like like whether that's software or whether or not that's civil or electrical or control systems whatever arm but just engineering I don't want to be like politics is banned but don't want to hear about I don't hear back from me I am frankly I don't have a trumpet ever again to be honest nevermind that arm the fact that most of the secretaries on the same page with the announcer of the quite possibly so in a is like the Donaldson politics about like you in in Australia don't hear about liked what Tony Abbott said all whatever I don't care or mark Mark Latham. Old PM all but okay I don't care you as a customer can do with anything that interests me so you mean it's like it's part of the but with that arm because of so the instances close riser closed instance so you have to request an account and create one for you I'm hoping output and feature request a few other people you agree with that is that arm mastodon should have a I'd like to request an account on a closed instance and then an administrator can just approve it arm the other should be straightforward enough to implement rather me how you do your NRA command in the terminal to do it arm which of course have done my use number two post about this result is a link to show notes about why I went and did this but that that was the crux of it arm plus I also want to fully own my username arm in its entirety so if I own than I own you my handle and for all time and not dependent upon other admins words different from an email server is right now I've got accounts with Gmail and Apple are well that actually brings me to another question so people could shut down their instance a new correct correct they can alienate your toots go with it yes you so this is the thing is it a matter of trust pub harbour holler who do you trust and the thing is it's like you can trust me I'm given away free money arm in arm is like I am always grease and I think that there is business case to be had for someone that is going to be funded to maintain an instance and in the cases where instances have gone away typically they have come and gone haven't had a lot of users ones that have come and gone and have had like a few thousand users for example are refugees recently arm they've given a message at all the use of the admin can just post anywhere either everybody and send them a message and say hey were closing down you got two weeks to backup your staff it's been fun it's been a real throat when you get a chance bye-bye and you know and you can export your data and then reimported in new instance sense and it works arm kinda you just get a big dictator Bob what is it arm from cheese and try to remember now was a month ago I did this so I can't remember I'm I think it might have been that the point is that it that the process does work action I think you know you point your instance at the other instance account and it sucks it out of the timeline by selling a dozen in the background agency that's right does so it's not it's not too bad art but the truth is that arm owning your own content is, saying I own all of my emails that I send you but if all your emails are stored in a cloud then you do when you don't so back in the days when it was SMTP only and everything was on your home client on your own computer that was true and because mastodon is cloud hosted and you don't have that there so shouldering date if you post a photo what word is that photo in it being hosted the UNIDO is that somewhere appropriate and I julienne you just really posting a link to they handle that it you can do either but they will host a photo yes so that raises of course queried questions about moderation because you if you buy something allowances that they had a big waiter ballasting banana could get quite substantial if you go a lot of people in your instance and they all start Cheryl on immediate correct so have infrared videos while Yemen you can you can restrict that right so you can save file have to be less than a certain size are problems and lessen certain size all sorts of tweaking features will will will get more and more refined as it goes on I think but for the moment yes it is a problem because of the moment wanted to sucks it up it is the audit gap arm but when these are BBSs that are run by enthusiasts like me if are Tory that you so the thing is about the size of our moderation but right now most people know either indirectly or maybe just intuitively they, quite know that Twitter and Facebook have a huge moderation teams like lots and lots and lots of people in the hundreds arm well and truly and they try to remove anything it's a legal unsavoury bean images posts hate speech the car stuff but because of their size they struggle I think arm and a particularly struggle with that the differentiation of what can constitute harassment you now mastodon has some really really good reporting features because you can report an individual user or an individual tweet you can even report instances so Aisen instances in instances like mastodon.Nazis RR saw something on a picnic something bad so something that is unsavoury in a nice for the majority of people arm where you can actually report that to admins and so on and as I was a blacklist you can subscribe to as administrator with instances where people have already adjudicated said no this is unsavoury instance the don't even bother bringing them into the federated timeline so none of that will come in arm that that the bottom line though is that some moderation requires effort and that aloneness and that effort lies with the administrator of the instance in question and therein lies the problem so when you sign up to be in a Mr enthusiast like I you know have done so far are that means I'm on the hook for moderation so or because I could delegate that I could make other people admins and say hey help me out of this but now then cycle what your content guidelines and any monitored an administrator on any forum like I have in the past and plenty of people have done than dino fans of the show arm over the years written entirely bass and their experiences I know that there are people of done this and they know and I know that it's not easy and the bigger the audience and certainly the more multidiscipline or multi-depth or multi-experienced like different walks of life the more difficult it gets you so when you want to ask yourself the question do you want to run your own instance just cant do you really wonder on your instance do you so if you don't want to run your own instance for commitment yet is a commitment you best option is to I think our business model seems to be people on patriarchs and say hey char throw me a dollar a month and I will do all that for you moderation in what was actually the cannulas might be a cool thing for your part podcast and podcast networks and stuff like that yet exactly and one of the other things about Masson that that is great is that the ownership of your social and I do like the arm the terminology of social graft because it's Conover is an interesting way of thinking about the problem to me as an individual I have many facets of social media that I'm attached to a Facebook persona linked in unfortunately persona I've also got Twitter on multiple mortgage than the minute are and now have mastodon the problem is mastodon is the only one I actually have full control over and I only have full control over because I own my instance so if you're an organisation or a company it would make a lot of sense to own your own social graft and say everyone you don't tweet any more you're on mastodon and let's say your RG's alternate piggy company so mean Apple would never do it because they write their own it would suck and I would use it but you okay Ping Ping ping you there a damping no it's like it's a social network for music okay enough about that the memories memories anyway arm can't knock on for trying I guess but I cannot goal fail again you can I said I should do if I should start as a thing I can't knock you for trying but I cannot give a failing anyway and is just mean I'm sorry anyhow so and was getting it yet as I'm getting at the fact that you you could totally own that rather than having Apple Twitter you can have Apple support and be mastodon your completely own it you moderate your own instance and only people are employees of the company would have the right to have an account on your instance and anyone could follow them from any other instance so you would still get that distribution you'd still get the followers and still get the benefit that you would own it and I honestly think that that is going to become very very useful and very enticing because you're no longer at the mercy of Twitter or Facebook or whatever so the business model I think I I thought about this would would become something that an Internet service provider would provide no light would you go to you however your ISP is in and say hey I'd like like an email account I'll not only my E bit becomes the mastodon account so I can get for example I think people would probably be adverse to our previously recent therapist using their ISP's email account yet true so you change your routine generates a rest then you take the tassel to move down and let everybody know you've moved on you now tend to agree with you so I suspect what's can happen is that mastodon instances will will you have a filtering list of the top of the library like a top 10 or top 25 wasn't like that and some of the figures is to give you an idea of the scale as of like literally in our two ago I checked the figures so currently there is 1593 instances that are actively tracked and you can choose any credit instance to say will be tracked in the federated list and not the there is a total of between those tracked instances there are 672,000 users so it's creeping up to 3/4 of a million users worldwide now if you think about Twitter arm it took Twitter over a year to reach the million active menus a mark so mastodon for 6 1/2 seven months is doing pretty well so far are but then again Twitter had to introduce people to a concept whereas mastodon is simply extending that concept so it's it's a lot easier to ramp fast and also keep in mind that in the 10 years Twitter has been around now or thereabouts 2016 Sierra has been 10 years 319 million users on Twitter at the end of 2016 so also has a ways to go so about instances themselves the flagship instance may call it the flagship instance because it was the first and that was that sitting at about 65,000 users but the largest one is actually not that one the largest one is powered which is I'd I believe it's Japanese instance and it has 158,000 users just in one instance so a lot of developers are been very critical about design decisions that were made particularly about sequel and is I've read a few of the Yum the feedback articles on that the discourse threads about mastodon and try to sort of stay in touch with where it's going what's what's what was the story where it yet but we weren't going what they're working on and a lot of people say well is a reason that Twitter is built on no sequel as opposed to sequel and and you you're just basically of give doe designed yourself into a corner from the beginning so whether or not mastodon at some point involves a bit more as it scales I don't know I don't know running a sequel backend what the limit is in terms of responsiveness and how bad it can get an idea also don't know how they handle like how you were content repositories because you had their many other ways of handling the content repositories at the moment there's not many options exist on the same server that the that it's installed on I believe the year that that's that's something to consider as well longer term frequently overflowed the images somewhere else like if you found a cheaper interpreter to the bookstore I'd like to think media files and stuff yet if it doesn't do it yet appreciated doesn't do that yet maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so and I assumed that some point in future that will happen so honestly arm I guess I will now talk now to what Masson is how works and why think it's good it comes back to my discontent with Twitter and a lot of people round and modern woman was was just to be frank it was another Twitter I had a bunch of extra features there was still a single server managed by a single group of people and I don't see those really all that different from Twitter it had a few other things going for it sure any debt also invade Galway and was now dead so that is also not good obviously but none in our thinking then more recently about tent near your tent IO intent ISP became cupcake DME branding issues branding guys anyway mail-order origins can go out picture tent need a cupcake yell so I don't get it anyway but it's still kicking but the problem is that it's now gone and off tangents and there were authentication problems in the property with that one was that they built it too close to them to the grid from the ground up and rose mastodon is leveraging new social which leveraged status net would start as laconic and a psycho there's a lineage and resource people discourse forms Masson saying we shouldn't have to support oh status as cycle yam part you know you reinventing the wheel that that spins just fine so I dunno so white wily Twitter Casey's thing I haven't left Twitter exactly what I have done is I've streamline my presence iconic at that point my goal a bit sick and tired of having to having a separate account in our day something honestly I heard Dan Benjamin many years ago talk on the podcast method about are there seems to be this thing when people start upon cast have to have a new domain they have to have a new Facebook account Facebook page have to have a new Twitter account as I think that through if you go cycle through a lot of pod casts I mean I'm up to I'm running so I'm basically recording three pod casts at the moment so I've got pragmatic causality and analytical however previously I've also had little I did have a brief stint with body cast I did the residential pod casts arm idea season full-time in a bit part-time with anodised all of them had separate Twitter accounts all gentle open and tangential thank you very much for reminding me tangential arm that was also another brief flirtation but although had to separate Twitter account Twitter account all the light already manage it it is right so if we think about our social media grass that was huge for me and unlike I don't want to be managing that anymore so I decided that it was time to consolidate so I've taken a pragmatic show at causality show and analytical show and the gone wife and gondola not gone yet by the time this goes live Dolby gone so they can be either deleted from Twitter I saved the histories and I thank everybody arm who's ever followed them retweeted them favoured them I appreciate that but what I've done is I've done a swap see on the pragmatic show account for the engineered_net account on Twitter so the night and I just messaged everybody that didn't already follow pragmatic show arms and outlet engineered_net and I've messaged everyone else and there is a huge list that I had the idea people are on the other accounts that were following up on and I'm saying hey these want to go be deactivating a couple weeks please shift over so I had about 20 or just have the one account for the whole network exactly so that on doing arm the new trim guys who are planning to release an episode in the next couple months so new trim still around so don't worry arm they are gonna keep their own account that's fine but I will post are any at any point because of any shows present and future from a single Twitter account and maintain that but I'm gonna drive it from mastodon so the idea is this arm someone are pulling in the show notes did AER a prescription for mastodon to our Twitter is excellent both it was a bidirectional script but I've no interest in Twitter back to mastodon so you could sink in both directions but it was a scripts are written in Python are never programmed Python before so couple weekends ago on Michael let's learn-because my not anyway as you do as you do when you seek anyway so I'm on Hakkinen/in some Python on the weekend you and down it sounds cool and I say go and it's late be entered anyway so I extended the scripts to search the string our substitute for a reference to a hashtag and then a Twitter username in this case hash engineered_net and I can then direct that tweet automatically to our that account so if I don't enter anything in my toot it automatically will tweet that to my John GG account Twitter and I direct every other one to either the tech distortion account was also keeping separate from the network and the engineer network account so that is now 93 Twitter accounts that I maintain all the others are gone and they are combat critical so comfortable bit of flak for this the actual Python script originally was designed to take a toot and split into three tweets and unlike that I thought that was ridiculous because if the point is to show people that mastodon is better then why would I shove it into the antiquated hundred and 40 character format of Twitter all I'm doing is I'm feeding the Twitter machine so instead I decided to take the URL of the toot this is really about the click through you got now if you look at that in the official clients and you've got the load URLs on it should load an embedded our snapshot of opportunities anyway looks pretty decent but if you got that turned off in Westchester people on the bird website that are getting near the stepchild experience I think so I'll actually and if the figures turned off into a pop so arm I don't think it's too cumbersome but I had one complaint already arm of a window for a couple weeks I have one complaint saying that is destroying engagement makes me not want to follow your might well that's okay once you form your mastodon you may have a problem arm obviously I use I would basically for a bunch of different reasons right and out part of it is venting arm my frustrations with with reality I guess existence and another is at its option to engage with listeners and is it's been good for that but honestly arm I got to that point from just I feel like I'm done with Twitter I don't want to abandon everyone that wants to listen to what I've got to whatever inane things I'd like to toot tweet whatever by just killing all my Twitter accounts don't do that arm that seems like a bit of a rash thing to do some give mastodon a go one way or another at least I've streamline Twitter and everything will be driven from mastodon so the only things I'll be doing is if you do dear direct message meal at mention me on Twitter then I will respond in kind on that platform but I sit on the go initiate anything from from Twitter anymore it'll all come from mastodon and Centrelink through arm so that she can get access to the full full toot in all its glory and I strongly recommend giving mastodon shot you have already have a go but my advice would be picking instance that is likely to be around like one of like the flagship instance for example 1 of the larger ones is far more likely to be there for the long-term and if you like it and it's an instance that supported through patronage then stump up and be a patron arm of however is the administrator for that instance because it does take to help make sure it sticks around yet exactly and if you also really do like Matt that I also recommend that you arm that you pitch in and help arm Eugen and arm I haven't done that yet I'm going to arm basically by the time this goes up I will have so arm honestly are yet that's why did it and I'm hoping that other people will want to join my little club I guess if you are called that our model private social network thingy just for the possibility opportunity to have like a version of LinkedIn that is not full of crap arm and Twitter is not full of crap was no advertising none of that there is no one scouring looking the page view selling your information to anyone it's all yours you want to go only if the toot timeline in chronological order yes so there is none of his algorithmic crap arm you know it is what Twitter should have stayed but Twitter have a different set of drivers and this is why Twitter will ultimately die in the end you know and the same with Facebook people safely cast off Facebook a yes you glow all of the big words start man it's going to happen it's not a matter of if it's a matter of where you are you get a poor Syracuse that they are an infinite scale arm that it is not possible to have an infinite scale and that's a joke I think isn't because a member you on a scale of 1 to infinity how more annoyed are you are infinity plus one anyway arm know it's inevitable because what's going to happen is alternative services will spring up they might be VC funded they may be open source either way they will spring up and when they do people again ask the obvious question if I've got no advertising over here if I've got more options over here while I stick with Twitter and the answer is critical mass audience takes is another medium to reach a critical mass to become interesting and once you reach the critical mass and is enough people on their all the cool kids go over everyone follows the cool kids over in the old one withers and dies like MySpace you know and that's that so honestly honestly I think that in the very long-term Twitter will dying and I think that it will kill itself because of the decisions that it's made whether or not mastodon is around for the super long-term are not entirely sure but at least I'm more in control of it that I am with any other social media platform I've ever been involved with and we have some control over it that's automatically more walks and yet so yeah arm we think it sounds interesting was the idea to and that's why I've gone and set up my own instance but you don't have to go totally crazy like that hi recommend that you don't do that you could discuss it migrating you join my crazy armed with that that the reality is that you when you do set up your own instance you taking all the maintenance and updating you taking on all the patching taking on like let's save your instance is just a party of one or either party of five if it goes down with still responsibility to those 52 yet but if it goes down it's really not many and much love lost especially if it's a freebie like I'm not charging anyone to use mine yet so yea and I suspect I'll probably funded from the network anyway so it's probably not a beer I'd identical be imposing a cost for it in the near future you but then again it is one of the two users say from inundated with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of requests and suddenly a master moderate hundreds of posts a day that becomes a very different or the hijab index yes and possibly a far less enjoyable job than podcasting so we'll see what happens I do think though that is worth exploring and I would recommend people try and established instance and just give a shop you might like it and you might find that some of the BS that there is an Twitter just melts away I found a lot of the discussion on there for the moment feels much like Twitter did in the beginning so it's very geeky it's a bit in a it's a bit I find it very thought-provoking as a lot of people that are arm that that that are a bit philosophical about technology are which I love and it's a lot of what was missing for me and Twitter is now been overrun by IBS and and and popular staff which I suppose speaks to the fact that I am on a freak and I'm not the majority of the population is clearly the majority population does not care which flavour of Lennox is the best arm it does not care about the purity of the social network that uses people to type stuff into the void other people see it and they nod and say like as like okay and maybe that's fine for some people but it's not five minutes not what I want and I been getting down more disgruntled with Twitter every time I open it I got to the point where I check my Twitter feed once every two weeks now and I don't bother because it's like there's nothing on there anymore it's all just politics and horrible things happening in the world following what horrible things happening the Walton the TV on and have a look at the news you know it's I got Twitter is no longer replace a haven for me to escape or to be asked to following people with a like-minded yellow people that love technology and love programming and love creating things and you all that stuff all that really good stuff that that helps drive our civilisation forward not complaining about XYZ in politics it's like you now I'm done with it and so that was just as much a reason after giving a shop in time may mastodon go the same way maybe arm but the idea of having a local instance with people of a like mind is something that Twitter can never give you yet so whether or not that has lasting value I don't know but for me that was that was warm my rationality I so will see what happens may I so one if you'd like to talk more about this are you can reach me on mastodon now at GG at all you can follow engineered_net on Twitter if you're still in there are to see announcements about all the shows an engineer network and we can find all information without at if you like to get in touch with Vic was the best way to get touch the map they could still play me on Twitter at big hats and avoid adult know I have a garden layer database methodology and a special thank you to our patrons and a big thank everyone for listening and as always they through every judge John mastodon�
Duration 1 hour, 10 minutes and 12 seconds Direct Download
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Show Notes

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iOS Apps I use for Mastodon:

Episode Gold Producer: 'r'.
Episode Silver Producers: Chris Stone, Eivind Hjertnes and Daniel Dudley.
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Vic Hudson

Vic Hudson

Vic is the host of the App Story Podcast and is the developer behind Money Pilot for iOS.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.