Social graph

I am a heavy tweeter.
Am I doing this right?
I am finding The Apartheid Emerald Mine Space Karen Twitpocalypse absolutely hilarious. Though I am apparently a "heavy tweeter" by their metrics, if Twitter were to vanish tomorrow, nothing of value would be lost. I would add a bunch more things to my list of RSS feeds and say, "Oh well, moving on."

(Feedly, Newsify.)

I do have accounts on a bunch of other social-ish sites, mainly for handle-squatting purposes, "just in case". I basically never log in on any of these, because I barely follow anybody on them, and nobody follows me, because I never post.

Ideally, all of these sites would have some simple API that let me crosspost my blog-post-breadcrumbs there. Even more ideally, someone other than me would write that integration. Dare to dream.

Let's see:

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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49 Responses:

  1. rejj says:

    Is https://cohost.org/jwz also you, or someone squatting on your handle there?
    (I have no idea if cohost is yet another doomed to fail “well, it is not Twitter” or not)

    • jwz says:

      Yeah that seems to be me. Not only don't I remember signing up for that, I don't remember even hearing about that site.

  2. Baloo Uriza says:

    Mastodon, Octodon and Counter are all part of the fediverse and was able to successfully follow you from Tulsa Social.

    • jwz says:
      1

      But I appear to have separate logins on each of them. I just assume their cross-server federation is as halfassed as Jabber was, but since I don't actually use any of them I haven't had to care.

      • Baloo Uriza says:

        Correct, each of these servers are different, so having logins for each tracks.  Not entirely sure what you mean by halfassed.

      • Meep meep says:

        Just recently found stackexchange sites have partly fixed the sillyness with per-subsite logins

      • David Glover says:
        2

        If you end up picking just one, you can configure the others to forward your followers to the correct one in the account settings.

        • jwz says:

          How do you do that, and what criteria would one use to pick one? (Yes, I have read all the vague propaganda about "server operators get to set their own censorship rules!" but that doesn't really answer my question.)

          • Phil! Gold says:
            1

            I view the choice as akin to, "How do you choose an email provider (and email domain)," in the pre-Gmail days.  The name of the server will be in the address you advertise to others.  So pick one that seems nice and where the server admins seem decent.  If a particular server passes both of those thresholds, just go with it.  It's not worth the effort spending a bunch of time researching servers just in case there's someone you like more.

          • David Glover says:

            Well, I picked one by using https://instances.social/ - which might be a little out of date now but it still generally good. There's another server list at https://joinmastodon.org/servers

            I wanted to choose a "big" server but not "the biggest". I have no idea whether that was a good way to pick but it's been fine so far.

            In many ways it doesn't *really* matter, you can follow people from any instance wherever you are, as long as your instance operator hasn't blocked the instance on which the person you are following lives.

            Once you've picked one, login to your other older accounts, go to Preferences > Account > Move to a different account.

            On the one you've chosen, go to Preferences > Account > Moving from a different account.

    • Ariel says:

      Counter.social does not federate with any other servers.

  3. tobias says:
    1

    > Am I doing this right?

    no, and I am absolutely baffled by the design.

  4. ailepet says:

    Ideally, all of these sites would have some simple API that let me crosspost my blog-post-breadcrumbs there. Even more ideally, someone other than me would write that integration. Dare to dream.

    That's actually called POSSE, and indeed, no popular website supports it.  At leas t I'm glad the idea was written down somewhere.

    As for Mastodon, it mostly works like XMPP and email: you can create an account on any server and you'll be able to interact with tweets (called "toots" there) from any other Mastodon server, if their moderation policies allow it of course. It does not fix every problem Twitter has (this is still microblogging after all), but to my opinion, it allows for healthier relationships by its decentralized design.

    Then again, by experience, most of the people I see on Twitter complaining about nazis on Twitter are actually very happy to keep doing so ,and may post a single message on Mastodon once every six months before going back on Twitter, say something spiteful about "free software nerds" and resume complaining about nazis. We have the infrastructure we deserve.

  5. a says:
    3

    ftr:

    • Discord doesn't support posting something "to your profile" like most other platforms do, since it's designed more around conversations (very vaguely IRC-ish) so the only value in linking to your Discord handle is to allow people to know that "yes, this is that jwz" if you engage in conversation with them, as well as invite people to converse with you by DM
    • Discord allows several people to have the same username, and disambiguates them with numeric suffixes. as such, if you did want the above, you'd have to link to your username plus disambiguating numbers (e.g. @jwz#1337.) this makes it effectively impossible to username-squat - if I wanted to, I could also register as jwz and get a different numeric suffix. also: I don't know of a way to generate a hyperlink to your Discord username, and suspect there is no mechanism for this
    • if you wanted the experience in Discord of posting something for the consumption of others, you'd have to set up a server (where "server" in Discord parlance is really closer to "chatroom", and involves no physical servers from end-user perspective) and link people to that instead, optionally disabling the ability for others to post in your dedicated posting-things-channel, or everywhere
  6. Molly Harris says:
    1

    >  The Apartheid Emerald Mine Space Karen Twitpocalypse

    That's good enough to be a book title.

  7. Pronoiac says:

    Making this list isn't a bad impulse, but have you considered setting up something like a linktree? It's easier to keep updated, and link from somewhere that only lets you post one link. I set one up for a friend, a static site, sorting by most recently used.

    • jwz says:
      4

      Have I considered making a list, and then hosting that list on someone else's server? Yes, I have considered that.

      • Pronoiac says:

        I mean, post it as something like jwz.org/linktree . I used Hugo and the Lynx theme, which gave decent results though the toml to configure it was ... fiddly.

        • jwz says:

          Well as I am not making any kind of use at all of any of these other services, that seems  premature. I had to check 1Password to even remember some of them.

          • Carlos says:

            Note the "I used Hugo" throwaway line.  "used" is doing a *lot* of heavy lifting there.

            I spent days of my life trying to beat Hugo into producing sensible output and chasing phantom content problems because of intermittent bugs in the damned thing.  I eventually got it to ~~work~~ do what I wanted it to, but it was pretty much as painful as just writing raw HTML would have been.

            What I'm trying to say is, if in future you are tempted to try Hugo, do not expect it to behave in any way like a sane piece of software, and the documentation is thoroughly useless in that way where it only makes sense if you already have a complete understanding of the code implementing it.

            C.

            • Falkon says:

              For page with a list of links?

              Seriously, if you can't be bothered to type out the HTML yourself, you could just use any markdown editor of your choice to generate the HTML.  Then if you ever need to edit it, just edit the HTML or use your then-current favorite markdown editor.

              Why bother with all the dependency hell and build tools and complexity and choosing a templating system and all that?  Do people not know anymore that HTML is just text and you can easily edit it?

              • Carlos says:

                > For page with a list of links?

                Uh, no.  For an entire new website that was going to be heavy on the content, and light on the dynamic content generation.

                Yes, I have websites which are purely handwritten HTML.  Yes, it works fine.  Yes, it's flexible.  But for anything more complex than a "Hello, world" demo or single-serving site, it's nuts to do it that way today.

                I didn't want to use a web framework; like I said, no dynamic content.  I wanted to use a static site generator, and wasn't happy with any of the ones I already knew.  I read up about a bunch, bought into the Hugo hype, and then spent weeks working around its brutal documentation, bugs, and hacking (with external scripts) necessary functionality in that it apparently has no native way to support.

                There's a reason people don't write HTML by hand anymore, unless the actual goal is "do something by writing raw HTML", in which case, go nuts.  It's the same reason we no longer toggle machine code into the front panel of our computers to boot them.

                C.

                • jwz says:
                  3

                  I'll have you know that each of these blog posts is lovingly hand-toggled in from the front panel.

                  It's bespoke, dammit.

                  • Carlos says:

                    Sorry, I should have known to exclude you from that generalization.

                    How did you hack a bunch of toggle switches onto your Iphone, by the way?  Even the smallest ones I have would reduce you to entering a byte at a time...

                    C.

                  • jwz says:

                    I use a 9 volt battery, a paper clip, and a steady hand.

    • andyjpb says:

      See the

      <link rel="me"

      tags at https://www.jwz.org/

  8. 2

    I've been having dreams of interoperation making a comeback. Post wherever you like, read wherever you like, all connected. Not just Twitter and Mastodon but also RSS, email, XMPP, SMS/MMS, NNTP. One big fediverse.

    • jwz says:
      3

      That sure would be nice. Be careful, though, I think you can you get mercury poisoning from too much exposure to OAuth.

    • Matthew says:

      That was the idea of Friendica, and it still just about does enough so that you can see the idea if you squint:

      • Twitter ✅
      • Facebook ❌ (access denied)
      • Mastodon ✅ (and the rest of course)
      • RSS ✅ (the only content I actually care about)
      • Email ❌ (although that's how I read it)
      • XMPP ❌ (I seem to remember some talk of this but maybe it went away)
      • SMS ❌
      • NNTP ❌

      Back in the day, it was cool to write your post and have little buttons at the bottom for all the places you might want to cross-post to.  But of course it didn't take long for that to get shut down.

      I'm not saying it's great, it's hanging on by a thread.  Just, I'm still using it.

  9. jwz says:
    3

    Here's a prime example of Mastodon UI design ineptitude that will absolutely prevent its uptake:

    • I have accounts on three Mastodon servers, apparently.
    • Someone I follow on Twitter posted a link to their new account at https://fourth.example.com/@handle
    • Clicking it does not do anything useful for me, like, say, allowing me to follow it from any of my three other accounts without creating a fourth.

    Federation needs to be more than just technically possible. If you don't make "follow someone" be the easiest, most brainless thing in the world, you have lost the race before the starting bell.

    • Ben says:

      While logged in to my mastodon.social account in Safari, if I click your octodon link above and then click follow on that page, it pops up a window with a follow dialogue including the text entry box "Enter your uername@domain you want to act from". If I enter wikkit@mastodon.social and click "proceed to follow", it then goes to an actual follow page; basically the same process as leaving a comment on a news site as a Twitter account.

      I'm new to Mastodon, and I'm not going to argue that this is ideal, but doing it any cleaner seems like it would require something like cross site scripting or cross site tracking. But you certainly can follow someone without making a new account.

      • Ben says:

        All that said, it seems clear at this point that we need a social network that can afford developers, get big enough for network effects, and is oligarch-proof, and I have no idea how to do that. Mastodon isn't it right now but maybe it can get better.

      • jwz says:
        1

        Wow, this is all pretty asinine.

        So I clicked on a link that happened to be on "socel.net" on which I do not have an account, and, seeing the Log In and Sign Up links in the upper right, didn't even bother clicking the Follow button, because who in their right mind would expect that to work?

        So then I clicked Follow and it wants me to enter my account. Ok. But I can't just paste my link, "https://mastodon.social/@jwz", nope. Nor can I just delete the leading junk and use "mastodon.social/@jwz", nope. Hmm, is the the slash that it hates? Nope. It wants me to reformat it as "jwz@mastodon.social" instead.

        Perfect zero friction onboarding, no notes.

        • Ben says:

          Yeah your username is, inanely, "@username@domain.tld". But you can leave off the leading @ in some undefined situations.

          Cn I offer you a default RSS URL for accounts? feed:https://mastodon.social/users/jwz.rss

        • George Dorn says:

          In the next version of Mastodon, I gather the process is going to be changed to give you a link that you paste into your own instance's search box.  This also feels a bit janky, but does encourage the use of that search box to do a lot of things other than searching.

          For example, if you paste the url to a post into that box, it'll force your instance to retrieve everything needed to display that post, including details about the user you're interested in following.  From there you can click on that user, still in your instance, and follow them.

          The only time you'd need to do that routine is when you run into a link from outside the network, but next time just paste that found link into your instance's search box instead of following it with your browser.

          I'm also not sure less jank is actually possible given the design of the network.  Maybe a vcard equivalent that everybody will also ignore in favor of the quick hack they inevitably learn for the process?

          • jwz says:
            1

            Obviously less jank is possible, with only a handful of regexps to accept any of the obvious things I tried, instead of making me manually invert the text I was given. That they didn't do this shows that little thought was given to how people are actually going to encounter these things, and how that confusing onboarding experience is just going to drive potential users away.

            But, sure, let's just throw up an error when the user puts a colon or at-sign in the wrong place, that dumb user did it wrong, ha ha ha, dummies.

            The only time you'd need to do that routine is when you run into a link from outside the network

            Right, you mean like... for example... when a Twitter user sees someone saying, "Hey, I'm using this other thing now" and they click the link.

            Nah, that's some weird edge case that is "outside the network" and doesn't deserve careful consideration. Surely something weird like that wouldn't be someone's first encounter with our goofy new service, and a bad experience there wouldn't drive them away forever.

            • thielges says:

              This is exactly how open source software gets productized by for-profit companies.   Software developers are excellent at producing working code.   But not always very good at making the finished product easy to use.   That requires considering the user experience and simplifying the interface to its core functionality.    Enter companies like Oracle and Red Hat to convert MySQL and Linux from geekware into broad market products.   It requires continuous refinement to file down the sharp edges and balance customer requests against quality.   Unlike the original developers, those people want to get paid to do that SNEW work.  

              • jwz says:
                2

                I don't think "open source developers are deplorable at user interface and user experience" is a novel insight.  But if you're building a project that is fundamentally political rather than technical, you'd better figure that shit out.

                Maybe they don't even think this project is political. That would also be non-shocking.

  10. Jim says:

    I was impressed with the Bluesky tech docs and architecture. Dorsey isn't a paragon of, well, anything, but he's skilled enough and absolutely driven top build something to make up for Twitter. I'd keep an eye on it.

  11. Matthew says:
    2

    I would very much like someone to explain to me what's up with BlueSky.

    In general, if you can't see how the billionaires think they're going to make money / seize ultimate power out of the thing they're doing, you should be very scared until you figure it out.  I understand they think they're gonna shake us loose from NATO and upload us into the basilisk.  But how does Twitter have a role in that at all?

    BlueSky has already noticed ActivityPub.  The obvious right answer is "Twitter and Facebook use ActivityPub, we did it chaps, meeting adjourned forever".  But that doesn't make anyone any money, and doesn't take an entire corporate division.  So just what the hell are they up to?

  12. mattl says:
    1

    https://moa.party/ will post your tweets to Mastodon

    https://fedifinder.glitch.me/ Gives you a CSV file of people you follow on Twitter who have a public Mastodon profile somewhere on their Twitter page. Go to https://example.com/settings/import on your Mastodon instance and import that CSV file. People you follow on Twitter should show up in that page and in that CSV file and you’ll start following them on Mastodon.

    I agree the current UI for following one person based on their profile URL is bad. This way works much better and you can do it every few days and follow many others.

  13. Rob Landley says:

    Squatting a mastodon address is like squatting an email address. Having more than one just makes life harder. As long as you've got one somewhere you can follow everybody from that account and they can follow you. If you care about being at gmail or hotmail great, if not pick a smaller server or you can set up your own (it's just a web thing written in ruby, about like setting up mercurial or cgit). Moving servers means your old account does a 403  to the new location (there's a config thingy for it in your account's settings page). I presume other people's subscriptions auto-update? (Haven't tried.)

    To follow people go to the search bar on YOUR server (logged in as you) and type @user@server (ala https://mstdn.social/@cstross becomes @cstross@mstdn.social) and then when they come up there's a "follow" clicky icon right there.

    When you go to another website any interaction will try to do an OAUTH sort of thing to your server, which is a pain, so don't do that. Instead view their feed through YOUR server's page, and then you can just interact as you directly. If you go into settings and enable "advanced web view" you get columns like tweetdeck, which makes this much easier. Then clicking on the name of anybody you follow (while looking on YOUR page) pulls them up as a column.

    As usual look at other people's following/followers list to find more people. Although half the time I have to go to their page for that (right click open in new tab) because of security settings nonsense, but then I picked a server in Japan.

  14. JiSK says:

    While I'll be happy to see Twitter crash and free all the journalists from the scourge of Having to Be on Twitter, we will lose something, namely all the records of people talking. https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/11/11/1063162/twitters-imminent-collapse-could-wipe-out-vast-records-of-recent-human-history/

    A lot of it is trivial nonsense, but historians love trivial nonsense. And we'd also lose 90% of the actually-intelligent conversations about COVID, which would be legitimately painful even in the short term. (Also 90% of the completely brainless conversations, but still.)

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