While I’m in no way a Mastodon power user, I’ve really been enjoying the content that I get from my very limited Mastodon feed. I recently stopped consuming news from – hold on let’s not call it news. I recently stopped consuming useless information from a site that I won’t name. Everyone has those junk, just-for-fun sites they visit to blow off stream. You don’t have to be proud of them, and it’s fine that you visit them; every part of every day need not be productive. Anyway, I recently stopped consuming a lot of useless information that I plan to replace with an equally fun, but probably less useless Mastodon feed.

Feel free to visit my feed and follow me, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.

There are a few things about Mastodon that are surprisingly refreshing.

The algorithm

The Mastodon feed algorithm is an absolute delight after years of being forced to consume linear timelines non-linearly, because linearity is apparently not profitable enough for Facebook. You don’t use Facebook, you say? I’ll remind you that Facebook is the reason that most timelines today are non-linear, algorithm-driven ad and vitriol machines designed to juice your serotonin levels. Stable feeds don’t build addictions, and ad businesses require your addiction’s constant pulls-to-refresh to keep revenue up and to the right.

Mastodon’s algorithm is not what most people think of as an algorithm, but it is one nonetheless. It’s a date sorter.

I’d forgotten what it was like to read a stable feed of information until I started using Mastodon. And how refreshing it was. When you return to stable feeds hours after your last visit, you’ll find new items of course, but then you’ll find items you’ve already read in exactly the same order. That’s when you know you can stop reading – when you’re looking at stuff you’ve already seen. Feed complete.

The anti-social-media

I’m a grumpy man and not one to suffer uninvited guests on my lawn. The typical social media fare are all uninvited lawn guests. The comments made with the express purpose of stirring up conflict, i.e. the “hot takes”. The manufactured, smiling Instagram moments made by people who were bitching at their camera person seconds earlier. The sharing of news stories, without comment, because the headline says everything that one’s audience wants to be confirmed about their existence.

I want no part of that. Mastodon seems to be full of people with heads on their shoulders. Weird, creative, fun, and not too serious. These are my people.

Read Jonathan Haidt’s WHY THE PAST 10 YEARS OF AMERICAN LIFE HAVE BEEN UNIQUELY STUPID if you have an afternoon on your hands and want to understand where these feelings of mine are coming from.

Open protocols

Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech covers well the topic of protocols’ superiority over platforms. Mastodon embraced Activity-Pub early on, and in my opinion, that has been a great success. I don’t think Activity-Pub is a perfect protocol, but Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube … the list goes on – these are not protocols at all. We don’t need a perfect protocol to improve upon the current platform landscape that is “social media”, we only needed a protocol.

Activity-Pub is largely responsible for the rise of the “Fediverse”, which I won’t try to define here. has a nice little overview of some of the bigger players.

I’m bought in

That’s all to say that I’m bought in on Mastodon, the Fediverse, and open protocols. My minor contribution is adding Mastodon comments to this site. I doubt this will be a world-changing event, but it’s a fun way to participate in the greater Mastodon community and get more non-commercial media in front of normal people.

Thanks to Carl Schwan for the code!