Last week my personal Mastodon instance, https://mastodon.chriswiegman.com/@chris, turned 3 years old.
It’s not my first Mastodon instance. I started using the service sporadically in 2017 and I even self-hosted the same domain for a while before I launched the current rendition but, 3 years later it’s my home on the internet and I couldn’t be happier.
I’ve been on a lot of social networks over the years. At one point, around 2010 or so, I even built and managed my employer’s, at the time, social media presence. These days I really don’t want much to do with any of it.
My last major social media account was on Twitter. The service had been toxic for a while but when Elon Musk took over and it went full-fascist it was time to move on. Mastodon had slowly replacing what I had used Twitter for, my water cooler, for a quite some time so it wasn’t a big switch. Given that everyone who didn’t support the right-wing bullshit left the service it was even easier for me to just turn my account off and, 3 months later, I don’t miss it at all.
Mastodon isn’t free and, while many think of it as a Twitter replacement the fact is that it is not Twitter. It is Mastodon, a single service implementing the ActivityPub protocol on the wider Fediverse. The fact it isn’t Twitter is what is so great about it.
Mastodon fosters conversation and really was built with marginalized folks in mind. It’s the first network I’ve been part of in over a decade that has actually expanded my network to new people and it does all of that without tracking me. That’s such a win.
While I run my own host, the management of it has also been super easy thanks to the wonderful Mastohost. I pay a reasonable monthly fee (without getting the blue check mark that’s become another modern-day receipt for fascism) and Hugo takes care of the rest. In 3 years I couldn’t tell you of a single instance of full down-time. Even as traffic to Mastodon has grown exponentially it has chugged along with almost no intervention at all on my part. If you want to own own data and don’t want to deal with the tech I highly recommend it.
In the end what it comes down to is that Mastodon has been a healthy, ethical alternative that respects me as a human being and has allowed me to reach out to a whole new network of like-minded people. I have no plans on going anywhere else.