Things are happening quickly on the bird site! Time for a blog.
When the possible acquisition was announced back in April, I created my Mastodon account at scholar.social. (If you haven’t heard of Mastodon, there are various great guides, for example here and here). Back in April it was a bit quiet and I didn’t use it much, but things feel different this time.
My bird account dates back to 2010, but I only really started using it in 2015 or so, as a postdoc. I was struggling in various ways during that time (not a secret, but not the point now, if you are curious you can infer a few things from my shadow CV). But with #AcademicTwitter, I found a community, and it had a lot of impact on me as a person. Being there led to many good things, and I even wrote a paper and gave some talks about it.
Twitter changed a lot since then. I did my best to keep my experience algorithm-free, by using a chronological timeline, muting suggested tweets and such (example). I like to think I was quite successful in this, because my Twitter experience has been good. But the recent activity on Mastodon made me realize that recently my Twitter experience wasn’t great.
I don’t want to get into too many details right now on why I think Twitter is not a good place to stay or trying to convince others about this. Perhaps it’s worth mentioning I hard quit various social apps a few years ago, due to both mental health and ethical considerations, and more recently I’ve replaced many big tech services with open source alternatives. All of this has been great, so if it seems surprising that I’m not so lyrical about Twitter right now, it’s actually not.
With my reasons, a few weeks ago I dusted off my account on scholar.social, and I absolutely love it. I found things that I remember from “early Twitter”, like connecting about niche topics. There are no ads, no algorithmic suggestions, and lots of helpful people. There is a feeling of excitement, like we are all going on a road trip. I genuinely missed this feeling, and didn’t even realize it – until the recent events became the catalyst. I’d like this feeling to stay, and I want to contribute to building the community. I did already move instances to dair-community.social, as I’ve excited to see their local timeline. So from now on you will mainly find me @DrVeronikaCH@dair-community.social, and of course, this blog 🙂