Twitter, Mastodon, Elon Musk, AR/VR, and the future of tech...

Twitter, Mastodon, Elon Musk, AR/VR, and the future of tech...

As you may have heard, Elon Musk purchased Twitter, and many things are now happening, including letting employees go, making major changes, charging for Twitter Blue, and more since the transaction. This change has led to many of Twitter's users saying that they will be leaving the platform and never coming back, leaving us to wonder: where will they go?

According to CNet, the bird may have been freed, but some Twitter users are looking to fly the coop. Even before Elon Musk took over the social media company, many of Twitter's most active users were disengaged from the website, according to a Reuters report on October 25th.

Since Musk’s official purchase of the site closed on October 28th for 44 billion, the Twitter exodus has grown. Bot Sentinel Organization tracks the Twitter account behavior estimated that almost 900,000 accounts would be deactivated between the 27th and November 1st. Some of those walking away from Twitter are switching to Mastodon, which is a decentralized social network built on open source software.

Mastodon has just over a million active users right now. Twitter has 238 million active users. Mastodon you can post toots instead of tweets, follow people and organizations and your favorite things; like them and boost them, which is the same as retweeting on Twitter.

It was created originally by Eugen Rochko, the CEO and lone employee of the non-profit organization. By the time he began developing Mastodon, he realized he was gonna be able to express himself online with his friends. Thought-through short messages were actually important to him. He realized it was also important to the world that Mastodon should not be in the single hands of a corporation that can just do whatever they want from it.

Instead of a town square for everyone, Mastodon is composed of thousands of social networks all running on different servers or instances that can communicate with each other through the system called the Fedaverse. The Fedaverse also contains social networks like PureTube for videos, FunkWhale for music, PixelFed for photos, and NextCloud for files.

Now that was a mouthful- and extremely confusing for me the first time I read it, so I'll break it down as best as I can. The Fedaverse is similar to Meta having Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Messenger in their arsenal; just like Alphabet has Google, YouTube, Meets and the others, except the Fedaverse doesn't own the platforms underneath it. It's decentralized. 

Mastodon does have just over a million users, and some of the channels I found on the homepage servers were kind of weird. One was, focused on technology, networking, Linux privacy and security. One was Nerd Culture. All it said was “not only for nerds, but the domain is somewhat cool ;).” So the platform seems to be a big can of worms to kind of jump into, which makes me wonder: if we keep populating the earth like we are right now, and tech keeps advancing like it is, are there gonna be too many social media platforms to even know where to go to find friends content?

It just makes me a little nervous for the future. We keep adding platform by platform, and I feel like America's (and the world’s) mental health is gonna be on a decline with the feeling of social pressure. Something like having to keep up with friends at the beginning of COVID and that big sense of fomo that led to a lot of people being depressed.

Only time will tell, but for now we might as well learn about the social platform a little bit. It's in its early stages. For me when entering the website for Mastodon, I get the vibe of Reddit. If you don't know what that is, it's essentially a ton of different feeds, all different topics, kind of like Facebook groups. Some have moderators, some have rules, some don’t. On Mastodon, you can request to join some servers. For others, they just let you create an account and join straight in without a vetting process. So, it’s pretty familiar because of Reddit. At face value, the whole platform kind of feels like a merging of Reddit and Facebook using Twitter mechanics to let people interact. 

Elon Musk and Eugen Rochko seem to have a similar idea, where they want a digital town square where people can openly and freely communicate while remaining within the bounds of the law for their location. If you Google a picture of Eugen, you'll notice he's a very young guy. And the platform is non-profit, and he plans to keep it that way, so I don't know what's in it for him. There's no light at the end of the tunnel that seems to have a big payout. It's not like Twitter where Elon can just inject cash anytime they hit the fence.

That kind of makes me nervous for Mastodon, but my mind immediately went to NFTs and crypto and how they could monetize and use the platform seamlessly, especially with it being decentralized. They've broken down all these forums just like Discord, and Discord is used for NFT mobs. That made me kind of think this could be maybe a good pairing for the two of them. And funny enough, when I looked up Mastodon and NFTs in Google, this is what came up from the website Gadget 360.

“Mastodon, the federated social networking service that allows users to create their own private networks made it clear that it will not be incorporating support for non fungible tokens or NFTs on its platform. The platform has been vocal in its stance against microtransactions enabled by NFTs, and in a reply to a Twitter user on the platform, said that Mastodon will never support or create NFTs. The move comes just days after Discord CEO Justin Citron suffered a serious backlash from the community after hinting at a possible integration of Ethereum based wallets. Although often seen as an alternative to most of the popular social media platforms, Mastodon is certain about its anti-NFT stance, contrary to the likes of Twitter and Facebook, who have hired entire teams of people to look into tech innovations in the crypto space. Mastodon has earlier cleared the air about how the term decentralism doesn't necessarily have anything to do with blockchain, cryptocurrency, or NFTs. Therefore, users of the platform were elated to learn the platform does not intend to introduce any form of microtransactions to the platform.” 

It seems like Eugen has his own plans and ideas for Mastodon, and he clearly wants to keep the platform totally pure, which is admirable, but anything could happen. So where does this leave us? Do we try to get on Mastodon? Is it too confusing to hop into if you're not techy? Do we have the ability to do business on it? 

Well, it kind of depends. Should you try it? Yes. I'd say if you're gonna be bored, you can go on the website, see if anything on there interests you. Is it confusing? Kind of seems a little bit confusing. It's pretty multifaceted. Might be a little bit harder to set up than a TikTok account or something like that. Can it help out my business? So this is kind of where the podcast ends, because I couldn't really get any answers out of this.

Now, I've seen a lot of other people create their own forums through their business or in their community. So for us in the social media world, or me for instance, I could create a forum through Mastodon and then have people join into that, and we could be tweeting back and forth through each other. Again, it's kind of overkill because for me it just feels like a Facebook group again. However, getting established early on social media platforms, like we talked about in a couple episodes ago, is never a bad thing. We were talking about YouTube, TikTok, and all these other platforms. It's good to play with all of them. 

The shame about that is the softwares that we use to post to multiple platforms. For instance I can send one post out at a time, but it'll go to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. Mastodon and these lower level platforms are not supported at the moment. So posting on Mastodon can cause operational drag for you to be able to go in and do those things. So, personally, we probably won't be participating in anything Mastodon related for the time being. The rest of the Fedaverse, however, that's a little more interesting to me.

It seems like a really young Meta. A lot of people have been voicing their opinion on Meta trying to take over the AR and VR world and how that could be dangerous, because it's kind of a monopoly on all of virtual reality and augmented reality space. They don't want one person to be able to run that. That kind of brings the conversation back to that topic of decentralism. Meta might be ahead of the game in AR and VR, but it makes me wonder. If the army of people that love decentralized social media platforms and currencies and all these things, are they gonna carry another torch and move that branch forward too?

And that also begs the question: will it pose a threat to Meta and its ecosystem in the future? Now there's also been rumors that Apple's gonna be coming out with their own headset for virtual reality in the next year or so. Google has tried numerous times with Hololens, Google Glass, and some others. It's just a really interesting space to kind of see where everyone is getting into. That is another episode that we can go into AR and VR, and my thoughts on how that's gonna change the world.

And that’s pretty much Mastodon. It's kind of goofy, it looks super futuristic. It's a cool website. You ought at least check it out, and let me know what your thoughts are. Let me know if you're gonna be hopping on it. If not, tell me why not. If you have any other questions you'd want me to answer on other topics or even inside of augmented reality and virtual reality, I'd love to hear those from you too so we can get a discussion going on them. That is it, guys. Have a great day.

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