So...About this new social media landscape

Icons for mastodon, hive social, post news , and bluesky social

Well this is fascinating. Billionaire buys my favorite bird app and flies it straight toward the ground. So I get curious about other options. I've found a few. I posted a list of new handles on Facebook and a friend asked for more information about them, so here is a rundown of what I'm looking at. I'm listing them from most developed to least developed. 

Note: All of this is based on my impressions as a user of these platforms for 1-3 days. I fully admit I do not know much yet, but in some cases there isn't that much to know. 

Mastodon: You've probably heard about this one and been curious. Mastodon is like if Twitter and Discord  had a baby. It's open source and distributed. There are separate 'servers,' and you join one of those. If you don't like the server you join, you can 'migrate.' Those servers connect to each other as a 'federated' group. You can follow people on other servers, if you can find them. The web app is the easiest place to get started and the easiest way to find people. I'm

Mastodon settings/appearance page
Click image to view larger
Mastodon has several phone apps. One is official, but the rumor is that the less official apps are better/easier to use. Hashtags work in Mastodon. Use #introduction with your first post. Fill that post with lots of hashtags that interest you to help people find you. Miguel Guhlin put out a form and created a list of Edu folks on Mastodon. There are 365 folks on there as I grab the link today. 

Navigate to your settings and choose Appearance/Enable advanced web interface to create columns that look like Tweetdeck. This makes it a little easier to navigate. Here's a recent screen grab. I blurred out the handles of anyone who wasn't my friend Judy. She is 

mastodon user home page with columns
Click image to view larger.
Tip: Once you create your Mastodon handle, write a tweet that includes your handle, and then pin that tweet at the top of your Twitter feed. If you do that, people can use a tool called Fedifinder to scan their own twitter account follows and it will extract Mastodon usernames from pinned tweets. More of the folks who follow you now will be able to find you again. 

Current impressions: Mastodon seems cool. Folks on there are smart people willing to spend the time to figure it out and they share interesting things. I'm looking forward to learning more and connecting with more people. Plus, the mastodon mascot is super cute. 

Stimulus: (Added to this post 12/6/22) This one is -new to me- from the folks who run StickerMule. My friend Alice Keeler posted on the bird app inviting folks to follow her on Stimulus, so I signed up. Looks like Alice has been on there since May of '22, so it has been around six months or more. Spoiler: It's a lot like Twitter, but green. Also, they have give aways you can enter to win cash prizes, so there is money involved. It's hard to find people to follow, partly because there aren't a lot of users. The #edtech hashtag only turned up two people and I know both of them. It has a slick and functional user experience. They verify all users. I had to provide access to an app that scanned my driver's license. I'm not sure yet if that makes me feel safer or not. Frustrating, is that I can't find a way to see who follows me beyond the notifications page. And I can't look at another user's profile page and see who they follow. Alice and I have friends in common. If I could see who she follows, then I could probably find more people I know or want to know. Alas, that is not a feature yet. Current impressions: I like it. People seem nice. I know a few folks. It's backed by a company that has a good reputation for customer service. Find me on Stimulus @JenRoberts

Hive social user profile page
Click to view larger
Hive: So far you can only join Hive through the app and they only recently launched a beta version of an Android app, so it's mostly folks on iOS. It's really pretty. You can customize your profile page to look a lot like Twitter. Hashtags work, but take you to a page of images. Click an images and scroll the feed for the hashtag. It's an odd extra step. It's easy to use and easy to set up. It will attract a lot of folks who want something that feels like Twitter and Instagram merged. 
Current impressions: I like it. I'll probably like it more when I can connect with more people. Without a web version that I can access on a computer it will have some limited utility for sharing things like teaching resources. On Hive I'm @JenRoberts. 

Those of you who know me from twitter will recall that I am @JenRoberts1 there. Part of the silver lining of migrating to new platforms is the chance to get in early and drop the 1 from my handle. 

Post social user profile page
Post: This is the newest entry to the field. It is still in a limited beta. I got access yesterday. It has great potential. The former CEO of Waze is working on it, so that's a good sign. It has an attractive user interface, but I haven't followed anyone there yet. Right now everyone essentially follows everyone else because the only feed is the main one. That will certainly change as development continues. I'm really looking forward to how this turns out. I expect it will be pretty and functional. 

My Post handle is... you guessed it... @JenRoberts

Current impressions: Positive, but it's really too soon to tell. I'm optimistic though. 

And someday soon...

Bluesky Social:  Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter is working on this one. All you can do so far is enter your email to join the wait list to try the beta. I suggest doing that now. 

I started talking to strangers on the internet on IRC in 1992. This feels almost like those early days. Get online. Say something. Hope someone says something back. Here we go again. Yippee ki-yay y'all.