Nicholas A. Danes, PhD

Is this thing on? Initial thoughts on Mastodon & social media

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Hello, random internet traveler! My name is Nicholas Danes. In order to not repeat myself, you can learn more about me here. I have always had an on/off interest in Linux, Open Source, and Privacy. Inspiration to start running this website primary came from the Fediverse instance called Fosstodon in October 2020; more on this below!

Since Summer 2020, I have been slowly migrating away from popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Initially, these moves were motivated by the impulsive behaviour that these websites generate; I’ve always been an anxious person, but the combination of the global pandemic with these websites made me spiral and constantly made me doubt myself as a good person. I slowly deleted these accounts, with the hope I don’t remake them again.

A few months past from initially leaving these sites, I was slowly becoming less impulsive with my smartphone and re-learning about the privacy implications re-enforced my decisions to leave these platforms. However, I still felt I was missing a community. Not being able to see friends/loved ones during these times have obviously made it more difficult. I began looking for alternatives.

I was always aware of Mastodon as a decentralized alternative to Twitter, but the main instance, always intimidated me due to its sheer size. I began looking for more instances to better suit my needs. I eventually found Fosstodon and decided to join. I’ve always been interested in Open Source software and Linux, so I figured it would be a naturally good fit for me.

The community here so far as been so great and welcoming. When I was a young teenager, I was always involved with internet communities/forums, and joining a smaller instance like this feels like going an earlier form of the internet. What stood out to me most however, were the prevalance of blogs ran by many community members. I’ve enjoyed reading many fellow Fosstodonians’ (I believe it was @kevq where I saw this term) blogs; what a refreshing experience! Below is a list of blogs I’ve enjoyed the most so far:

Because of these blogs, that is why I’m typing this now. Who knows if there will be more posts, but we’ll see!

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