To battle the immense feeling of frustration with yesterday’s West Coast outage at Reclaim, early this morning I decided to take Travis Bickle‘s advice and get my Mastodon instances dockerizized. I would blog the process of migrating from a source instance of Mastodon to a Docker instance, but once again Taylor already did as much on his blog a few weeks back: “Migrating Mastodon from a Source Install to a Dockerized Install.” Hell, we even did a stream of the process that takes you through it step-by-step, and I re-watched that this morning in order to get both social.ds106.us and reclaim.rocks containerized.
So this post is not as such about the details of containerizing, as it is a love letter to Mastodon. It’s become like a neighborhood bar where I can follow and catch-up with a few folks I actually want to see, rather than every jackass in high school I wanted to leave far, far behind. I think Mastodon epitomizes the idea of faith in a seed when it comes to community and open source tools, and it is become the most important for me when it comes to connecting with folks. Mastodon reminds me why I got into this edtech racket: 1) I love to tinker with open source tools, and Mastodon is a remarkably powerful open tool for building community and as a result has helped to curb the impact of algorithms, commerce-driven data extraction, and the usual crap that ruins these spaces–what’s not to love?* 2) ratcheting back scale and connections right now is probably the healthiest mental approach to a news/hype cycle that continues to go fully off the rails. Mastodon is akin to what people have told me about marijuans :), it makes you feel happy and inclined to laugh without the sense of needing more, and any potential paranoia of being found out quickly dissipates when you realize no one is there to find you out—they’re all looking for their own home away from the maddening crowd.
The modest scale of the ds106 social server is a case in point, there are maybe 20 or 30 users that are “active,” and there is a general sense of folks dipping their toes in and trying to wrap their head around it, as a result the conversations are slower and more direct, the drive-by attention culture is much less, and it provides a personalized, contextualized feed that can open up to a wide range variegated topics. Twitter at its best, but with far less soap boxes and self-promoters that craved the follower count capital far more than actually connecting. I’m happy on Mastodon, it’s a kind of enclosure that offers protection from the onslaught of the market in those other social spaces, and I’m ready to settle in the murky territories and pioneer the socials for a while.
I say this knowing that just over a year ago I, too, was dipping my toe in the Mastodon pool, considering jumping, and I finally did and installed three or four servers and managed to figure out the what and how. But it has taken me much longer to figure out the why, which it turns out is pretty simple. I do want to be social in these spaces, but I want it on my terms outside the templated, market-driven spaces that have proved time and time again that they do not respect privacy, civility, tolerance, compassion, or just about any of the qualities that need to define a space I want to call my local. Mastodon has become the rock we have built the ds106 Social Local on, and one year later I have no regrets, do you you corporate social media hippies? Be more than a burned out threat!
*And I have to say, what causistry will folks who know better use to explain away their merry posting on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to keep those likes and subscribes coming? Staying on those sites, no matter the reason, is cynical at best.