Why I just switched instance on Mastodon

Mastodon 'failwhale'

We’ve become accustomed to, when signing up for a new service, to not putting much thought into what stands behind it. Most services, such as are Twitter and Facebook are centralised. You sign up in one place and use the service, mostly unaware of the organisational structure and (sometimes) the revenue model behind it.

One of my reasons for signing up for Mastodon and using it for a month instead of Twitter is to rectify some of that. I am actually interested in what goes on behind the scenes, especially when it comes to avoiding ‘platform capitalism’. I just signed up to the first ‘instance’ that I saw was open for sign-ups, which happened to be mastodon.cloud. What I’ve learned over the past three weeks or so is that it does actually matter which instance you’re on, for a couple of reasons:

  1. You need to trust the administrators, the people behind the instance you’re on.
  2. Although you have a ‘home’ timeline of people you follow, and there’s a federated timeline of everyone, an important timeline is everyone on the same instance as you.

As a result, and at the prompting of fellow We Are Open Co-op co-founder John Bevan, I’ve signed up for the Mastodon instance at social.coop. As the name suggests, it’s being run by a co-operative, and has a sustainable business model — as part of the sign-up procedure, I pledged $3/month for my account. Other options are available.

Although I can envisage a situation where you’d want multiple Mastodon account, for now I just want one. So I’m redirecting people from my previous account to the one I’m now using. Happily, I’ve been able to export my data (in terms of who I’m following/blocking) from one instance to another. I don’t think it migrates my favourites, however, and obviously everyone needs to follow me again from that new account.

Follow me here: https://social.coop/@dajbelshaw