Is it time to join the elephant parade? Or: what is this Mastodon doing in my web?

If you follow current tech events, you surely know a large investor recently took over a large social media site. Today, I’m putting my detective hat on the coatrack to share my views on migrating from one “social” site to another. Perhaps you recall Geocities, or MySpace, or way further back, CompuServe? Those were thriving but then something better (or just flashier) came along. Maybe not better, but the promise of “more signal less noise” is to be desired.

I heard about Mastodon from another SAP Community member a few months ago, wrangled an invite, then set up the skeletal account steps. You know the drill, a short bio, a picture, and an introductory post. The site encourages hashtags, so I threw a few of them into my bio. Just need to remember to use something other than “#fail”.

Fast forward to the end of October, and the twitter corporate takeover. There was much angst among some that the carefully built society of friends, contacts, and others would be damaged by a mercurial leader, hence leading to the great migration to Mastodon.

I don’t need to write details on the comparative design architecture, because this has been done for the SAP Community:

Use the Fediverse instead of Twitter, LinkedIn, …

And further back, this prescient post:

Microblogging as an addition to SAP Community – introducing Mastondon (GNUSocial / Fediverse )

And today, I found out there is a (new) Mastodon for the SAP community:

SAP%20to%20DON

SAP to DON

You can see by the user counts this is very early in a ramp-up phase. Yet, Mastodon has been around for years, so the impact of “new users” on “old users” is yet to be realized. One fediverse site I just looked at says they are shutting downLast week, with […] news, the fediverse generally experienced extra traffic with an influx of new users.”

Pluses:

  • New tech, or at least unfamiliar. Some folks like tackling the unknown.
  • Open source. Mastodon code is fully available. (I see this as a plus)
  • Explore new worlds, meet new people.

Minuses:

  • New tech; for those who don’t like the unknown.
  • Federated design can be challenging to navigate
  • Apps on the weak side, features in flux (i.e. translations).
    • Search doesn’t work right on my Android tablet in the web client
    • Browsing the federated stream causes jumpy rendering
    • Private messages aren’t encrypted (yet)

I happened to join first an instance (chaos.social) that is based in Germany, harkening back to the early hacker days of the Chaos Computer Club. While I don’t speak or even read German, seeing all of those posts reminds me of reading ABAP commentary from the R/3 3.x days. While a few SAP community people are there, I’ve found others on similar fedi-sites.

The instance pictured above was set up by Helmut Tammen with this announcement:

We are live. From now on you can register your account at https://saptodon.org. After the approval (may take some time, depending on my workload) you can use it to interact with other Fediverse users.
Come in and join us.

From what I’ve learned, you can migrate from one fedi-site to another, though there are potential issues with followers and history. The number of scripts/tools to find Mastodon users on twitter so you can follow them again is inspiring (as long as no data leaks or other surprises are found in these “wild-west-grub-stakes-claim” days).

I put “(mastodon at jspath55@chaos.social.)” into my twitter bio; not saying this to gain followers but as advice for people to find followers with mutual interests. Other people have altered their handle to display their new address in every post, like this:

Mastodon%20listing%20on%20twitter

Mastodon listing on twitter

Enjoy!

p.s. Part of this post title is a takeoff on the Grouch Marx joke from Animal Crackers about an elephant in pajamas.

p.p.s You can follow who you like, of course, but one person I’d recommend outside the SAP main eco-sphere is: “@matthew_d_green@ioc.exchange”.