I switched over completely to Mastodon almost two years ago, and it's been interesting.

Twitter started out fine, I was able to follow interesting personalities in the hobbies I cared about, connect with other academics, and use it with a sense of intention and purpose.

When I left academia and went into industry, it was more difficult for me to share what I was doing on a daily basis. Twitter was left as a weird vestige of a past life, something I compulsively used and couldn't get rid of.

I didn't really miss Twitter, but I still had its habits internalized.

Even on Masto, I would refresh constantly for new content to consume, and there would be none since it was slower and less noisy. I would get very frustrated at this, but after over a year, it helped wean me off of that kind of behavior.

I find myself using idle time that I once spent compulsively refreshing my social media feeds doing other things: socializing with my pets, playing games I enjoy, going outside.

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Social media was probably what stopped me learning and making things for fun.

Not only was it this low-effort, high-reward activity I could indulge in during my downtime, it also made me contextualize everything I've done as a performance for an audience that didn't really exist.

Mastodon, and by extension, private/local social media has been an important contribution in helping me unlearn those internalized messages pushed by the larger, for-profit platforms.

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I've said multiple times that I believe this recent work in ActivityPub has been a sort of Renaissance for meaningful open-source work.

In the past decade or so, we saw a lot of split-model open source projects like databases and message queues and stuff that targeted business users: people who would leverage the free version and pay for support.

This reminds me of the efforts to make tools like word processors and image editors, and I'm very excited to see where it goes.

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Barry Peddycord III

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