I think... there are too many social media platforms right now. A couple of years ago, the only thing I used was Twitter, and I was pretty happy with it? Now:
- Mastodon is where I mostly consume short-form social media postings... and is pretty frustrating a lot of the time. I think there are a total of three people I know in the real world who are still on Mastodon; everyone else bounced off. There's no coverage of any local news or politics. The Discourse is absolutely exhausting1. I saw a post2 last week that said something to the effect of "Mastodon isn't a social network, it's a leftist social engineering project and if you don't like that you should fuck off" which feels right. Mastodon does have by far the most usable iOS apps of all the social networks, and is also the only option that has Mac apps at all. I think Mastodon3 could certainly be a place where people talk with other people about interesting things, but it's mostly a place right now you can go to get scolded for not being an ideologically-pure gay space communist. The only exception from this is the "iOS indie app dev" network, which decamped whole hog from Twitter to Mastodon and mostly just talks about the same things they ever talked about. They're cool.
- Threads is Facebook's4 entry into the "Twitter clone" space. It is a clone of the parts of Twitter I never used or cared for; in particular, it only has an "algorithmic timeline". As far as I can tell, the people you Follow on the app has no bearing on what posts you're shown; it's a constant barrage of Brands™ and B-list celebrities. I open it once in a while to follow back all the people I know IRL who follow me there, but none of them post anything and the main timeline is boring as sin. There's no iPad or Mac app for Threads, nor even a website5.
- Bluesky was originally some kind of proposal for a decentralized future Twitter, and has a bunch of funding from Bad People6. However, there are a lot of people whose writing I used to enjoy on Twitter who are only found on Bluesky. The iOS app is deeply mediocre7, there's no iPad or Mac app, and the website is just the iOS app in a browser8. At the end of the day, though, Bluesky is still an invite-only social media network with <100k people on it, so it can't really solve for the general case. I do think ATProto has some things that it does a lot better than ActivityPub.
- Nostr is legitimately a neat protocol concept that has a roughly 0% chance of ever
being used by anyone outside of a vanishingly small set of cryptography nerds. Also, somehow it's been
captured by cryptocurrency nuts, goldbugs, and doomsday preppers. I don't think I've ever seen a post
on the network that interested me. My public key is
npub1g86srua47gncah0l2aalwxlt8mhvnwgq3860240aa0zm3nqem3wq49lrwkif you happen to want to look for me.
- Lemmy is a Reddit alternative built on ActivityPub. I was hopeful that it would have a big growth spurt after Reddit killed off all the decent mobile apps and moderator tools, but it didn't. There's some interesting stuff on there, but the server software is incredibly buggy and the community is very small.
- Twitter is still around, but given the eager embrace of Nazis by the new owner, it feels like anyone who still chooses to spend time there is being willfully ignorant. Without decent applications, I can't imagine using it even if it weren't a right-wing hotspot; nobody gives a shit about your "For You" timeline, Twitter. Also, apparently Elon Musk is going to throw away the name Twitter and rename it "X" and maybe turn it into an unregulated bank soon. What a winner.
- Facebook is still around as long as you only want to see pictures of the kids of your gen x friends, and intermittently report your crazy relatives for posting super-racist conspiracy theories.
I don't know what the point of all this is. Twitter was a lot of fun — a social network that almost everyone was on, where you could use great native applications and see the posts from only the people you wanted to see, or if you prefer, use the terrible first-party application and see a constant feed of celebrity click-bait.
Maybe I should just stick to IRC.
popular subjects this week: "anyone who makes bad user interface is a white supremacist"; "Mastodon having multiple instances is racist"; "making closed-source software for pay means you hate freedom and might be a fascist"; and, of course approximately one million takes about other social media networks)
actually, I kept seeing it over and over again because multiple people in my network boosted it, and deduplication is still flaky
and the wider Fediverse of Calckey and Misskey and Pixelfed and whatnot, of course
"Meta" is a silly rebrand and I refuse
my favorite fact about Threads is that the official Facebook blog has buttons to follow Meta on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but not Threads
if you support Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for president, you can fuck right off
it doesn't have timeline sync, randomly moves you around, and doesn't follow any iOS platform best practices, but at least it does let you see posts by the people you follow in reverse-chronological order
for funsies, try pressing ⌘-down on the web app and see how it freaks out