Join Me In A New Community?
OverviewI joined Twitter 9 years ago in a quest to follow my favourite Wi-Fi gurus and hear their pearls of wisdom about Wi-Fi technology. Through their generous contributions and support I learned a huge amount, completing a number of career certifications, becoming engaged with my own blogging & tweets, and generally advancing my career as a result.
It was without doubt, a very rewarding path for me on many levels.
In those early days, it was a small community with a very tight focus on Wi-Fi technology. Every day brought new opportunities to explore new topics, concepts and details of the latest and greatest ideas and kit.
As time has marched on, the community I follow has grown significantly. This has generally been a good thing, as more people are able to learn and share.
Unfortunately, the nature of people’s individual social media usage patterns have also changed over time. Many have chosen to “spread their wings” in terms of their social media output to include news items, personal beliefs, various memes and other current social issues that are important to them. This is fine. It is understandable that they feel compelled to share things that are important to them.
The side-effect of this is that my Twitter stream has become far more ‘varied’ than I care to see.
Despite ongoing efforts with filtering, muting and various other methods to streamline content to be more tightly focused around Wi-Fi subject matter, Twitter has become unusable as a tool to keep up to date with my chosen area of interest.
Therefore, I have decided that Twitter is no longer a useful platform for the microblogging that I enjoy so much. Looking for alternatives, I have decided to set up a Mastodon server that is similar to Twitter, but more akin to a special interest group or user community.
“Really!? Another Social Media Platform?”Sure, this may not be for everyone. Perhaps you enjoy the variety of content you see on traditional social media platforms, and enjoy the freedom it provides. However, in my experience, if you are interested in a specific topic, getting high quality, focused information and engagement is no longer possible on those platforms.
I personally enjoy the more concise format of microblogging platforms. Browsing through a timeline of relevant, interesting content is highly beneficial, without consuming too much of my time.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of my Twitter time is spent scrolling through unwelcome content that is not relevant to my core interest, muting people who are engaged in ongoing rants, or desperately modifying key-word filters to quieten things down. This downside now far outweighs the benefit of Twitter for me.
“You’ve Heard of Slack...Right?”Yes, I’m a member of a number of Slack groups. They are a great source of extended, in-depth conversations that microblogging can never match. However, they also take some effort to follow on a daily basis given the levels of traffic that they generate. They do not provide that interesting stream of news-feed content that I can scroll through over breakfast or on my lunch break to find out what’s going on in Wi-Fi.
I have also had some negative experiences with Slack due to the in-depth discussions they facilitate - these can sometimes descend into some negative activities. This doesn’t mean that microblogging platforms aren’t without their issues, but they seem to be more of a news-feed source than a debating chamber.
“OK, So What Is This New Platform?”Mastodon isn’t a social media network as such. Each Mastodon interest group runs their own Mastodon server (wifi.masto.host in my case). Servers can be federated so that you can also follow users on other Mastodon servers that support other interest areas if they allow access
The platform is not free. It uses open source, free software that is installed on a managed Mastodon instance. I currently pay a low monthly fee to provide the service. It is free for you to use.
The end-user experience is very similar to Twitter. You install a Mastodon app on your phone or tablet, or use the web GUI via your browser. The look and feel are very Twitter-like.
This is not Twitter. It is a (closed) user group for those interested in Wi-Fi and related technology. There is a set of community guidelines available that outlines how I would prefer the group to be used: https://wifi.masto.host/about/more
The new group is focused on Wi-Fi technology. Anyone who feels the need to engage in discussions or rants about other non-tech subject areas is probably best not joining. Similarly, anyone engaging in any type of unsociable, hateful behaviour will be removed. I want a community that encourages everyone to engage, share and discuss their passion for Wi-FI and related technologies.
“I Think This Idea Sucks.”No problems. Please don’t feel compelled to join us.
“Hmmmmm….Sounds Quite Good...What’s the Catch?Pros:
- No politics, religion, social debates, memes or main-stream news items
- No “celebs”
- No ads
- Focus on a specific subject matter
- No kitten pics
- No kitten pics
“Sounds Great, How Do I Join?”As I am in the initial stages of setting up the community, I'm keeping memberships quite low so that we can assess if this platform is going to meet our needs. Do not feel excluded if I can’t give you access right away. If initial testing goes well. I’ll open it up to a larger group of beta users, followed by more open access once all of the kinks are ironed out. You can submit a sign-up at wifi.masto.host, but make sure you understand the community guidelines before signing up.
“Where Can I Find Out More About Mastodon?”
- Sign-up: wifi.masto.host