You’ve probably heard that Elon Musk is having some … minor difficulties in his takeover of Twitter.
Ya know, just some small things.
Small things like being unable to disable access for former employees because all the employees who used to do that are now former.
Small things like an employee parking garage full of stranded cars because no one who could open the gate was still employeed.
Small things like demanding everyone click on a Google form promising to be oh-so hardcore and work longer hours for less pay or else endure the horror of 3-months severance pay.
Small things like being down to something less than 20% of the employees who were there a month ago, with absolutely no idea what relatively important tasks (like regulatory obligations, access control or even just keeping the servers running) no longer have anyone doing them.
These are all things I’ve seen reported as having happened in the past few days.
(Though to be fair, in this chaotic environment is can be hard to verify that they’re all 100% true. Given that Musk seems to have fired the entire corporate communications department, it may be expected that they wouldn’t have issued any denials.)
So it would not be at all surprising if the company collapsed completely, especially with the World Cup coming up quite soon and a skeleton staff at best running the systems.
I do not envy anyone who’s still minding the pager over there when servers start going down.
So if you use Twitter, it’s probably past time you started thinking about what to do next.
This is where this topic intersects with the cultural and political focus of this site: there are alternative systems out there trying to offer similar services without the downsides of being massive, centrally-controlled, profit-extracting organizations.
Many of them currently operate on volunteer labor and resources and depend on donations, of course, but part of having a better system is realizing that we have to pay for it ourselves so that doesn’t really bother me.
I am absolutely not going to do a compare and contrast about all the possible alternatives.
The best choice of the systems running right now goes by the irritating name of “The Fediverse”.
It’s a distributed network of independent systems, running a wide variety of software, that can all interoperate as a federation (hence the name).
But you’ve probably heard of it as “Mastodon”, which is the name of the most popular server package.
It’s … not perfect.
Most importantly, it’s pretty lacking in the “finding new people and establishing new social groupings” side of things, which is understandable because doing that is way easier when all the data is in one place. Trying to identify people and conversations that would interest you is much more difficult when the data is spread across thousands of independent systems.
It does do a good job of the mechanical part, though, taking posts and distributing them around to whoever wants to read them and that’s a damn good start.
And it will get better, especially if a whole bunch of us give it a chance.
So, this site’s post notifications are now going out via a Mastodon-compatible system in addition to Twitter. (You may notice the Mastodon logo is now appearing next to the diaspora and Twitter logos on each post.)
The host I’m using is OKSocial, since I’ve been involved in that project since the beginning anyway.
There are lots and lots of folks out there running these systems, though; maybe look for one that’s trying to be a community built around something that interests you.
Here’s a pre-formatted search to get you started.