Press "Enter" to skip to content

Tag: mastodon


I’m pretty much hanging out over there now. Find me here if you have an account. I have spare invites from time to time so if I know you feel free to ask.

It’s imperfect. In particular the company leans more rationalist than I’d like, although I think a bunch of trans people and sex workers successfully nudged them towards the left in the first six months after it launched — thanks, y’all! However, it benefits from the scarcity effect; people are less likely to be total throwaway dicks if it’s harder to get a new account. See also Metafilter.

The feed technology is spectacularly good. Basically anyone with the necessary expertise can make a feed, which anyone can subscribe to. To make a feed, you apply an algorithm to the firehose of Bluesky posts; it can be as simple as “include any posts that have the word ‘filmsky’ or the words ‘film festival’ in them” or “include all posts from these users,” or as complex as “include all posts with the word ‘Seattle’ in them as long as they have more than 2 likes but fewer than 10 likes, and don’t include anything from these people.” So sort of a more powerful hybrid of Twitter lists and Twitter hashtags.

Communities form around feeds. You can get a good look at what there is at Goodfeeds, which is a third party tool. And for the less technical, there are a couple of third party tools which allow you to create your own simple feed.

Algorithms get a lot of bad press, for good reasons. But Bluesky feeds put the algorithms in the hands of users. If I want to write a custom feed that mutes popular memes because oh god I don’t want to see everyone’s ten albums that define them, I can do that. This is pretty cool.

So I like Bluesky. Also, Mastodon is losing its appeal for me. I’m not totally comfortable with the way my Mastodon instance is run; Sage is a good guy but I don’t like the benevolent dictator model for any social media node with more than a couple of dozen people on it. I was going to run my own instance, but I don’t want to deal with the complexity of stock Mastodon and the interesting alternatives are eternally six months away. Plus running a solo instance makes discovery even worse, and I live for discovery when I’m using social media.

And man, Mastodon has a cranky vibe. I think this is a federation problem, and I think Bluesky will have to deal with the same problem when they open up federation. (Which they will have to do.) It’s possible that feeds will generate their own cross-instance culture, and I kind of hope they do, but I’m unwilling to predict that one way or the other.

And finally Mastodon is not great for discovering stuff and I use social media primarily as an information firehose. It’s a personal need but it’s an important one for me.