Bookmarked So long, Twitter API, and thanks for all the fish (by Ryan Barrett)

The Twitter API is moving to paid tiers for anything but the tiniest use cases by the end of the month. I’ve been using Brid.gy to get back webmention notifications about interactions on Twitter with my blogposts here. Brid.gy depends on the Twitter API obviously, and the scale of their needs puts them above the free and affordable tier, even if well below the more expensive tier above it. Therefore Brid.gy will stop supporting Twitter. Silo’s gonna silo I suppose.
It does help remove an action from my backlog: changing the way I show such backfeed on my blog without going counter to Twitter users’ common expectations of where their interaction and avatar might end up.
Unless Musk changes his mind once again, or can’t find an employee capable of implementing the changes.

…assuming it sticks, Bridgy Twitter will stop working on April 29, if not before.

Ryan Barrett

In the noisy chaotic phase that Twitter Inc. is going through, I downloaded my data from them 2 weeks ago. Meanwhile in the Fediverse newcomers mention they appreciate how nice, pleasant and conversational things are.

It’s good to note that that is how Twitter started out too. In my network I felt I was late joining Twitter, this because I was using Jaiku (a similar, better I might add, service based in Europe). Sixteen years on that can be seen as early user. My user ID is number 59923, registered on Tuesday December 12th, 2006. Judging by the time, 10:36am, I registered during my regular 10:30 coffee break.

One minute later I posted my first message. It had ID 994313, so my Tweet was just within the first million messages on Twitter (the current rate seems to be over 800 million Tweets per day!). That first message mentioned the tool I was going to benchmark Twitter against: Jaiku.

What followed that first message was like how it was the past 4 years using Mastodon. A bunch of gentle conversations.

Back then everyone was nice, as you tend to be in public e.g. walking through a small village. Over time Twitter conversations tended towards “I need to win this exchange, even if I agree with my counterpart”. Argumentative. Performance above conversation. Performing in front of your own followers by enacting a conversation with someone else. The general tone of voice on Twitter (apart from the actual toxicity) is somewhat like the difference of posture you take in a metropolis versus a village. In a village you greet passersby, project an aura of approachability etc. In an urban environment you tend to pretend to not see others, are pro-active in claiming your physical space, alert that others don’t push you aside or further down the queue etc. Urban behaviour easily looks aggressive, and at the very least unnecessarily rude, in a village.

The past few weeks saw a massive influx of people from Twitter. Which is good. I also noticed that it felt a bit like city folk descending on some backwater. The general tone of voice, directness or terseness in phrasing, reflecting the character limit on Twitter, in contrast with the wider limits in Mastodon-village which allows both for more nuance and for, yes, politeness.
The contrast was felt both ways, as newcomers commented on how nice the conversations were, a breath of fresh air etc.

Quantitative changes, like a rising number of people using a specific communication channel, leads to qualitative changes. It did on Twitter. It will on Mastodon, despite the differences. In the fediverse some of that effect will be buffered by the tools individual users have on hand (blocking, blocking instances, moving instance or run your own, participate from your own website, e.g.). Meaning one can choose to ‘live’ in the middle of the metropolis, or on its outskirts where not many much frequent. But the effect will be there, also because there will be more tools built from other starting principles than the current tree of fediverse applications on top of the underlying ActivityPub protocol. Some will be counter those that underpin e.g. Mastodon, others will be aligned. But change it will.

It’s nice out here, but do regularly check the back of the package for the best-by date.

It seems some 50.000 people created a Mastodon account since Musk captured the blue bird. Twitter has about 400 million users, and some 200 million daily active ones, so that’s about an 1/80th percent versus 2/80th percent of the total. For Mastodon 50k users represent about 7/8th of a percent, considerably more, and significant change for a single day, but still a small number. It feels more massive in my Mastodon timeline though. This can be a sign that the networks I’m part of are heavily skewed (most likely true), or that it’s more active Twitter users making the switch (not an unreasonable assumption). Some 10% of Twitter users make up about 90% of messages. If the 50k migrants come from that 10%, than as those 10% come by definition from the active users so that they represent 20% of those active users (40 million), they add up to 1/8th of a percent of those.

At those rates, and seeing the peak migration is behind us, it means what passes for #twittermigration is indeed just a wavelet. Especially as those new account holders have not deleted their Twitter accounts. I’ve been an active user of Mastodon for 5 years, and haven’t deleted my handful of Twitter accounts either. I still use them, almost only for broadcasting though, while most of my conversation is indeed on Mastodon.

So if anything this is at the moment less a #twittermigration than a sort of self-induced netsplit (common in the days of peak IRC), which may turn out to be as temporary as the netsplits of old were. Unless the momentum keeps up, for instance because the bird trapper‘s public statements and actions drive more people away. After all bird traps aren’t mostly non-lethal.

And we have of course seen these wavelets of account creation in the Fediverse before, with little in terms of active retention. This renewed wavelet has led me to re-assess whether my own website can serve usefully as a ActivityPub (the protocol behind Mastodon/Fediverse in general) actor. WordPress, through plugins, can ‘speak’ ActivityPub, just not in the way yet I want it to (two issues: current plugins expose my username on my site, and don’t allow for selective sharing of posts on my site through ActivityPub). ActivityPub is just a protocol, and my site should be able to speak it in the way I want, meaning that my presence on Mastodon is likely temporary, even if me communicating through ActivityPub isn’t.

Bookmarked Welcome to hell, Elon by Nilay Patel / The Verge

Such a fantastic phrasing, in an otherwise entertaining read about the issues with Twitter and large social media platforms. Those issues center on how to moderate mostly (this in turn is why I never saw those platforms as communities, as maintaining a fine balance between safe space, to feel at home, and excitement, to make you return, and a balance between internal and external perspective is important there, yet severely lacking in those platforms). The quote centers on what drives engagement on Twitter, and who feeds that engagement in order to be able to feed off it. A group that includes Musk.

Twitter, the company, makes very little interesting technology; the tech stack is not the valuable asset. The asset is the user base: hopelessly addicted politicians, reporters, celebrities, and other people who should know better but keep posting anyway. You! You, Elon Musk, are addicted to Twitter. You’re the asset. You just bought yourself for $44 billion dollars.

Nilay Patel

Now that the deal is done and Musk captured the bird, i.e. Twitter, let’s see what happens. Will there be a wave(let) of people migrating to decentralised places in the fediverse? There were mulitple connection requests in my inbox this morning.

It might be a strange experience for most newly migratory birds, as finding the others on Mastodon isn’t as easy. Especially not finding your current others that you interact with already on Twitter. The path that one needs for this is like it used to be: once you connect to someone you check-out the people they follow and are followed by. We did that for blog rolls, and for every YASN (yet another social network) we joined, and we asked people in person for their e-mail addresses before that. Now I am doing the same for people using Hypothes.is. The difference is probably that many never encountered that tactic before, because it wasn’t needed and you can follow the recommendations of the platforms who do the ‘finding the others’ for you (for their definition of finding, not yours).

Anyway. I am on Mastodon since 2017, find me there. I run my own instance since 2018, hosted by Masto.host run by Hugo Gameiro, who provides a great service. But you’re more likely to start at a existing bigger instance: here’s a useful tool to help you decide.
Zoek je een Nederlandse Mastodon server? Kijk naar mastodon.nl, beheerd door Maarten den Braber.

Come find me. That’s how you find the others.


An AI generated image (using Dall-E) with the prompt ‘A blue bird has an encounter with a grey mammoth’

In reply to Reply to Tweetdeck goes web only by Frank Meeuwsen

Ik gebruik Tweetdeck als een manier om verschillende thema’s, mensen en groepen te volgen. De 70 kolommen zijn:

  • 25 kolommen met zoekopdrachten naar specifieke termen rond de Europese (open) data wetgeving
  • 1 Direct messages
  • 3 zoektermen naar vormen van mijn naam
  • 6 notificaties van verschillende twitter accounts onder mijn beheer, of van urls die ik gebruik
  • 9 tweets van individuele personen, of individuele personen noemend, meestal omdat die personen interessante twitteraars zijn, maar weinig twitteren en makkelijk in de ruis verdwijnen
  • 1 vermeldingen van een overleden vriend wiens naam nog regelmatig rondgaat
  • 7 lijsten / vermeldingen van communities waar ik lid van ben
  • De home kolom van mijn geheel openbare twitter account
  • 5 kolommen met zoekopdrachten naar termen rondom ethiek by design en digitale transformatie
  • 5 indieweb gerelateerde zoekopdrachten
  • 2 voor vermeldingen van Obsidian en tools for thought
  • 1 voor #amersfoort
  • 1 lijst van open data twitteraars uit de tijd dat ik 2011-2013 voor de EC de Europese open data community volgde en stimuleerde
  • 1 kolom van enkele samengestelde zoektermen rondom de Russische oorlog tegen Ukraïne
  • 2 kolommen over respectievelijk de laatste conferentie die ik bezocht en het volgende event dat ik ga bezoeken

Dit dijt uit en krimpt met actuele gebeurtenissen, events, of zoektermen die me een tijdje interesseren.

Ik ben minstens zo benieuwd wat jij in 70 (!!) kolommen hebt staan!

Frank Meeuwsen