Going on a social media diet: Leaving Twitter, investing in Mastodon

Friends, I’ve decided to take a step back from Twitter in 2024.

Since I still communicate with quite a lot of ham radio friends on Twitter (the only reason I still use the platform) this has actually been a difficult decision to make.

So why leave?

Two main reasons:

  1. There’s just not enough time in the day to keep up with multiple social media accounts. I quit Facebook a couple years ago and it had a meaningful positive impact in terms of feeing up time. These days, I need the extra time to invest in answering comments here on QRPer.
  2. I much prefer Mastodon over Twitter.

Twitter has been a brilliant platform and I’ve been on it for over a decade, but I don’t use it like most people who want to follow news, politics, trending stories/memes, etc. I only use Twitter to communicate with my ham radio friends and community.

This year, I’ve noticed that I have less control to keep “trending” stories from accounts I’ve never followed (nor intend to follow) out of my feed. Even when I mute unsolicited accounts, they re-appear a couple weeks later because I assume they’re paying for placement. It all makes the Twitter experience more cluttered and time-consuming for me. And frankly? I know this will only get much worse–likely, by orders of magnitude–during an election year!

In the end, I’m not a “doom scroller”–I do social media for the social part.

More Mastodon!

Instead, I’m going to spend my social media time on Mastodon.

As my teenage daughters would say, I like the somewhat nerdy “vibe” on Mastodon.

Here are some more specific reasons:

  1. Our ham radio instances/servers on Mastodon (https://mastodon.radio/ and https://mastodon.hams.social/ to name a couple) are administered by ham radio operators. When you join a ham radio server, you’re going to be surrounded by other radio enthusiasts from day one.
  2. There are no ads. Mastodon is free (though your server admins will appreciate occasional contributions) and there are no advertising accounts whatsoever. This also means that Mastodon is much more private than Twitter and doesn’t track your clicks or scrolling behavior.
  3. You have better, more granular control of what shows up in your news feed. This is a biggie for me. I’ve been on Mastodon since June 2022 and I’ve yet to see one unsolicited item in my notifications feed. There’s no algorithm behind the scenes that dictates what you see and in what order.
  4. Mastodon is federated and de-centralized. No single company or person can own Mastodon–you’re not going to wake up one morning and find that Mastodon has gone out of business or been sold. If, for some reason, your server admin goes rogue, you can move your entire account along with all of your followers to a different server seamlessly.
  5. My experience on Mastodon has been very positive. It reminds me of Twitter 12 years ago.

In short: I feel like Mastodon is a more focused, permanent, robust, and resilient social media platform.

Come join me on Mastodon!

Selfishly, I’d love it if al of my friends on Twitter opened a Mastodon account, too. (Yes, I’m a big hypocrite asking you to open another social media account when I myself am focusing on one!)

Here’s where you’ll find me: https://mastodon.radio/@qrper

It’s free to join and while there are a number of radio instances and servers out there, I know the admins of both of these:

It doesn’t really matter which server you join, though keep in mind that Mark’s server is in the US and Christopher’s in the UK. You might see a slightly better ping time using a servers that’s physically closer to you.

Down the rabbit hole!

If you’d like a really deep-dive into the world of Mastodon, I would strongly encourage you to listen to the Ham Radio Workbench episode where we interviewed Christopher (M0YNG):

This interview with Christopher will answer all of your questions–it was a really fun episode, to boot!

Thank you…

I hope my friends on Twitter understand why I need to distill my social media down to one platform. I will occasionally–maybe once a month–log in briefly if for no other reason to keep the account active and make sure no one has sent me private messages.

If you need to reach out to me, consider joining Mastodon and following me, or simply comment here on QRPer.com.

Have a very Happy New Year, everyone!

32 thoughts on “Going on a social media diet: Leaving Twitter, investing in Mastodon”

  1. Now we have advertisements on POTA qrper.com? I saw the same thing just take place on Olivia QSO party.

    I don’t check in to see advertisements. Next time I unsubscribe.

  2. Thomas :

    I have been thinking about ditching my Twitter (X) account for a while, as the whole platform seems to be going down the toilet. I think that you have just given me a good reason to switch over to Mastodon !

    Wishing you and you family a happy and prosperous 2024 !

    Michael VE3WMB

    1. I think you’ll like Mastodon.

      Again, if you want to really learn the ins and outs, and how it all works, listen to that Ham Radio Workbench episode–at least the bit where we interview Christopher (and Mark).

  3. Hey Thomas – I certainly understand. As a neuroscientist, I am concerned about the overall negative effects on Society (especially childhood and adolescent development) by so-called “social media” – increases in anxiety, depression, isolation and decreases in needed face to face social involvement and self-esteem. I applaud you getting off Facebook-I’ve been on a few techie groups just for information, but time to get off those also. Believe it or not, Twitter has been a primary way to stay of top of latest serious publications & advances in neuroscience – from the American Academy of Neurology, Cambridge Neuroscience UK, etc. There is a darker side to “X” now. So time to “throw the big switch” on X. Will certainly try Mastadon. But we need more face to face time, a cup of coffee at Hardee’s & such. Best wishes for a healthy and happy New year to you and the family. 73 de K4RLC Bob = PS. Saw you activated Lewis Bay….not that far from our NMB shack….

    1. Hello another neuroscience ham! I have not found mastodon communities to be a great place for academic news, but I enjoy that I can go on mastodon.radio, see everything friends are doing, reach the end of the new stuff, and feel no compulsion to keep scrolling! It’s a breath of fresh air!

      For work-related communities, I’m really heavily moving back to old-school mailing lists and RSS feeds. I don’t need an algorithm peaking posts based purely on “engagement” -that rarely correlates with actual impact. Also, the real social network is reaching out to colleagues directly to catch up or share updates.

  4. I never heard of the platform until I read your post. I just signed up and got approval very quickly. Looking forward to following you again in 2024. There is one annoyance I cannot find an answer to is how to mute the sound when there is a message or a notification for me. 72 de KN3A

      1. Hi Tony. Thanks for the link to the quick tutorial. It was hidden, and not only that, there’s several categories I had to mute the sounds. Anyway, I appreciate the help. 72 de KN3A.

  5. I like the move, Thomas, and you’ll draw more users to Mastodon for sure. I’ve been on there for quite some time but it was a little too quiet. I’ll keep “X” on my phone mainly for non-Ham news coverage, but I really hate the ads and the lids who seem to proliferate there. I’ll be checking Mastodon more often!

    All the best from VY2, and hope to see you in Dayton.

  6. Glad to hear you’re moving over. I just signed up for a Mastodon account last week and, while I’m still figuring the system out, I’m enjoying a feed that isn’t junk-filled. Twitter has become a total mess, for a bunch of reasons, and I’m happy to be done with it.

  7. Never been a fan of twitter or Facebook. I have no room in my life for all the adverts. I have been on Mastodon a bit, but not found much usefulness in what is being posted. Hopefully you will bring some good content there. So for groups.io is the most useful site for my ham related hobby info and discussions

  8. Done followed you, Thomas (https://universeodon.com/@RustyRing; I welcome anyone else who wants to join my circle and/or include me in theirs.)

    I’ve been on Mastodon for almost a year, and have seen things start to erode in the Twitter direction in recent weeks. But I agree it’s still better than Twitter, for all the important reasons you mention. If the Mastodon community ultimately loses control of the werewolves in its midst, I’ll be bailing on that, too. But for the time being, I’m staying watchfully put.

    Thanks for the post!

  9. TU Tom

    I’d never heard of mastodon until just now. I also left FB a few years ago since it seemed like a competition to gather the most fake friends. I’ve been having an experience similar to yours with the twitts. I’ll also give mastodon a try.

    By the way, I got my first successful CW activation under my belt today with 2W. Thanks for all your encouraging videos while learning. I’m pretty stoked considering I could only send SOS a year ago.

    73 WS0SWV Shawn

  10. Excellent point – these communities (“instances”) are not usually run by anyone making money off them. Especially true of the two that Thomas promotes above. I’ve been on M0YNG’s mastodon.radio for just over a year and have HAPPILY thrown a few coins in the pot so that we can keep the party going.

    Don’t follow me though – I post WAY too much nonsense.

  11. I’m not a programmer, so I can’t evaluate the code, but I’m a lawyer and I quickly did due diligence, which showed the russian origin of the project’s author and their registration in Germany. That’s enough for me to avoid that app. I will continue to use this site and content from an author I trust.

    1. Interesting, Wlad. I will keep it in mind. Hope you & your family are doing well in the midst of Russia’s continued barbarism.

    2. I understand your apprehension Wlad but I feel like I can shed a little light on this.
      Mastodon’s creator Eugen Rochko (or “Rochko”) was indeed born in Russia, but moved to Germany when he was still a child. He is German.
      If you’re worried about Rochko being sympathetic to Russia at all, you should know that he’s *very* vocal about his opposition to Russia. On Mastodon, he even posted “If you are siding with Russia’s government during this conflict, please block me.”
      Rochko is one of the good guys and those of us who follow him know that he’s not the sort of guy that would be safe in Russia.
      Also, and importantly, Mastodon gGmbH is a registered German not-for-profit organization.
      Mastodon is decentralized. It’s not like X where one person can decide what they do with all of your data (there’s no mystery here…they sell it to anyone and everyone who pays…your location info and all habits).
      In fact, the whole idea behind Mastodon is that it can never be controlled or monetized by any one person. It’s more like a network than an app.
      Since anyone can start their own Mastodon instance (server) I would certainly avoid any instances hosted in Russia. Hypothetically that could be a bad idea.
      The two instances Tom mentions above are hosted and administered by (well-respected) hams in the UK and US.
      That said Wlad we are not living in the situation I assume you must be and I could see where any even slight connection to Russia would be avoided at all cost. It’s for this reason if I were in your shoes I would not be on X where one person has all of your data.
      If you feel like X is an important information source, at least set up an account with a fake name and VPN/TOR to it, then just use it to follow and read.
      That’s my two cents as we say.
      Victory to Ukraine!

      1. Thank you for your thoughts! Only social media I use for my professional purposes is LinkedIn. As for terrorists, you are right. I have lived near them for too long and I recognize them immediately. My approach is very simple. I don’t ask others to fight evil, I constantly ask myself what I personally did for this? I don’t want to go on about this here. I warned, but everyone makes their own decision. I apologize for this digression.

  12. Brilliant choice! Have followed you on Mastodon since you showed there. Thanks for making the move complete.
    -Jack – KD4IZ

  13. Yes! The big slide from ‘X’ is on. FYI, Space Weather Canada is ditching it on 2024-01-13…. and let many more follow.
    Dunno about their future plans. By the way, Mastodon is favoured by Vivaldi’s development team, so hope they will further expand neat things within the browser.

  14. i too went to mastodon as i never heard of of it either i also gave it a try as well ! I’m glad i fellow you too take care

  15. I’d consider myself a “younger” amateur radio operator (<40yrs old), and would also consider myself relatively tech savvy. No offense to the Mastodon crew, but the interface is clunky and not intuitive at all (for my sample size of 1 anyway), and the posts on there are often not helpful, not radio related, nor do they promote healthy 2-sided conversations. I joined Mastodon for a few days, and then promptly deleted my account. I'm all for networking and learning new things, but (for me anyway) Mastodon isn't working.

    1. Hi, Luke,
      Mastodon’s interface is very different from Twitter, Facebook, and other algorithm-based social media sites. It won’t feed you “trending” posts. It only serves up what you choose for it to show you–it won’t feed you anything outside of those you follow unless you explore other accounts on your server or in the Fediverse.
      Your experience has been quite different from mine. I find that my ham friends share ham radio stuff almost exclusively and in the 1.5 years I’ve been on Mastodon, the discourse has always been respectful and civil among those I follow. If someone I follow decided to troll or be antagonizing, I could simply unfollow them and they would disappear.
      The interface did take me a little time to get used to, but now I *way* prefer it to Twitter. I also used the “advanced” interface which give me more content on one page.
      The biggest criticism I hear of Mastodon from folks who’ve moved from Twitter is that it’s quiet in comparison. That is very true at first because Mastodon only shows you accounts you follow in your main feed. If you want to see more content and find others to follow, just click on “Live Feeds”–it’ll default to your own Mastodon server (and any linked ones), but you can also then select “Other Servers” or “All” to drink from the firehose. 🙂
      That said, no worries! Thanks for giving Mastodon a try!

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