Mastodon: network of federated pods
Last updated: December 3, 2019
Artwork by Abhijith Ka
I used to use different communication channels, both free and propriotory. Quoting Akshay,
“switching from a communication medium to other is like vaccination. It is useless unless the community decides the switch."
Most of them I am communicating are using proprietary means of communication. To connect with them, I have to use the same even I am very aware of the problems it have. I switched my communication to libre protocols and failed miserably only because of this. When I was in college, I influenced my friends to install libre tools. Next influence group I have is my family. They weren’t tech savvy. I suggested them not to join any popular proprietory sns. But both of them had to change their decision for the same reason.
Everything is political and this time we got to know what all this centralized mediums are doing. TBF, I love birdsite than the sucking evil.
I have been using Mastodon for past two years. I migrated from Diasp.eu another decentralized, federated network. From Diaspora, mastodon have a lot of interesting features like
- Account migration - another pod.
- Thread like conversation
- 2F Authentication
- Customizable interfaces. I can install and configure a custom front end. For instance, kutti.aana
- Public and local timelines
- Connect with other services using ActivityPub like PixelFed or Write.as
When I was in college, I got chance to read about Network Cultures and alternatives. From my friend, I used to know about Geert and his works. I experimented with popular social networks to know deep about Filter Bubbles. I was confident that I could hack into their algorithms to make filter bubble impossible by adding more and more known/unknown friends. By ditching my original profile I created a new profile and wandered around. My sole intention was to be the next Santiago Swallow. Later at some point of time, I realized that I am not that smart enough to hack into it. Eventually, That means I fell deep into a filter bubble.
I was a guinea pig for their data manipulation efforts. Still I am. I hope you remember the controversial research by a SNS giant. Their experiment on feed manipulation I think they are doing that even now. I am feeling I am being part of one of their emotion manipulations. I am getting depressed very much. Unnecessarily, Most of the times.
I am not repeating everything that everybody knows. There won’t be any such experiments happening in this platform. This platform is democratic. This day is very special to speak up about democracy. It will consider you as a person; not as a guinea pig. They will respect your privacy.
I am feeling proud of my country. United States designed and developed algorithmic inequalities. Europe developed tools and theoretical frameworks to counter them. But, India used realized the problems very quickly and migrated as quickly as possible to the alter platforms (Here Mastodon).
Each Mastodon instance is called a pod. There are a lot of Mastodon pods available for sign up. I am using a pod, Aana site hosted by my high school alumni (And I am really proud to say that.), our benevolent ആനപാപ്പാൻ Sajith.
Actually, my intention was to write a tutorial on Mastodon tips and tricks. And it went long. I will come back with another post. Any way, Mujeeb and Aboobacker did videos and threads. I will use them and I will highlight my personal favorites.
Thanks and ping me on Mastodon.