It’s been less than two weeks since Elon Musk took over Twitter — and Cockburn is finding the app more chaotic than ever.
The news of the tech takeover really separated the kids from the grown-ups. One by one, the haughtiest users have bravely announced their departure from the bird website. Ciao!
The latest to go is the British actor Stephen Fry, who posted a picture of Scrabble letters spelling out “goodbye” to his 12.5 million followers. He’s since headed over to Mastodon.
Never heard of it? Neither had Cockburn until he got his tech-savvy nieces to give him a hand. And now he can say, with authority, that it is even worse than Twitter.
When signing up to Mastodon, users choose a “server,” which is based on your interests. “Mindly.social” was recommended to Cockburn, which focuses on a “friendly positivity focused, non-topic specific server created for people who want to use their brains and hearts to make social media more social and not a system to exploit.” Sounds right up Cockburn’s alley!
Next are the “ground rules.” Aside from feeling like he was being told off by a teacher, Cockburn found said rules frustratingly vague. “Stay tasteful and legal,” “be nice to everybody always” and “use content warnings for sensitive topics.” Content warning: what a load of BS.
Next there’s the “toots” rather than “tweets.” Not a big deal, but so incredibly twee. On the plus side, users have almost twice as many characters, 500, to write a post.
But as much as Musk-skeptic celebs try to convince us that Mastodon is the new hip thing, the truth will always out. A few days ago New York Times columnist Paul Krugman announced that he was opening a Mastodon account “as a precaution against the possible Muskocalypse on this site.” Within a few hours Krugman posted an update, saying: “so far things are not going well on Mastodon. After the initial post, nothing I try to post is showing up. And despite setting it *not* to send an email every time someone follows me, it’s sending them. I hope these are just teething problems.”
To Mastodon, or not to Mastodon? That is the question! Either way, Cockburn welcomes the Twitter exodus. So far, Gigi Hadid, Whoopi Goldberg, Shonda Rhimes, Sara Bareilles, Toni Braxton and Cockburn’s personal favorite Jameela Jamil have gone. Answers on a postcard if you can tell Cockburn who all those people are.
Then again, most will probably be back. Cockburn sees all the same signs he did back when conservatives used to get upset that someone they liked had been banned from Twitter. They would declare that they were “moving to Gettr” or “moving to Parler” or “moving to Truth Social.” Then three… two… one… and they’re back…