Why did I create my own Mastodon instance? Honestly, because I've decided no identity other than firstname.lastname@example.org feels quite right.
But let's back up a little. October was a momentous month for Mastodon/The Fediverse. It started with mastodon.technology announcing it was shutting down and ended with Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter going through.
The former led to me searching for a new Fediverse home and the latter led to millions of others doing the same thing. So it's been interesting.
I knew I didn't want to be on a mega-instance, but I also wanted an instance with an active local timeline. The local timeline is one of the things I enjoyed on mastodon.technology. So I landed on dads.cool. Being a dad and all. And then for silly reasons I also ended up with an account on eattherich.club. And for a short while I was content.
For a little while, between those three accounts, I found I was barely visiting Reddit anymore, which felt like a good thing. But gradually the shininess wore off again. I think there are a few reasons.
- A number of the "Twitter refugee" accounts that I followed gradually stopped posting
- I thought I'd feel unrestrained to post non-dad things with my dads.cool account, in particular by making them "unlisted" so my followers still see them but the dads.cool local timeline doesn't show them. I think part of why this didn't work out is unlisted posts won't show up in hashtag searches either, so Mastodon kept telling me my hashtags were pointless.
- Even though I set up a monthly donation to contribute to server costs, I still worried about becoming too big a footprint on the server.
- Felt weird to do anything in German since these were all English-language instances.
Combined with just wanting that email@example.com identity, and I decided to give self-hosting my own instance a try. I'm keeping the other accounts, but those will be for specific topics.
I'm also trying to make sure I'm following more regular people and fewer celebrity/broadcast accounts and also to find more active accounts that have also been around a long time.
Sometimes I think the best Fediverse decision I ever made was following Blast HardCheese, a bot that once an hour posts a nickname for Dave Ryder, the "hero" in Space Mutiny. Space Mutiny, of course, is my favorite MST3K riff of all time, and seeing "Slab ThickFlank" , “Hunk McSlagman” or "Stump SquatGroin" interspersed in my Mastodon timeline helps me remember to not take anything too seriously.
So I came up with the notion that I must have at least something in common with anyone else who follows that bot. And since it's been on Mastodon since 2017, some of those followers may also have been around a while. I did find some interesting accounts to follow this way.
Now having four active accounts, I do find myself wanting to boost something on one account that I came across on another. So far that's a bit of a copy-and-paste exercise since I haven't found that I like any of the Mastodon apps any more than I do just the mobile web interface.
We'll see how it all goes. Maybe in a few months you'll be reading about why I now have a fifth Mastodon account. Or why I deleted all my accounts. Or some other option I haven't even come up with yet.