Mastodon and My Happy “Project”

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I just joined Mastodon. I’m also on the “instance,” too. Yup, you can follow me in two places.

So what the heck is Mastodon? It’s sort of like Twitter, but it allows people to create their own “instances” (or sub-communities) with their own guidelines, etc., effectively making it an answer to the hellhole of infinity that is Twitter. From what I can tell, a lot of creative types, especially from marginalized communities, have joined to escape Twitter’s endlessly disappointing reaction to rampant abuse and bigotry on its platform. Whether they’re leaving permanently or just taking more of their energy elsewhere, the vibe seems pretty clear:  it’s kind of a joyful zone.

For me, that will be by design. I don’t know if Mastodon will stick around like its predecessors, but my intent for the time being will be to use Mastodon and its instances solely for sharing happy things. No politics. No rage. No talking about controversy or things that annoy me or arguing with people or whatever. All happy. All the time. Make happy always.

There’s a reason for that:  I find Twitter exhausting. Since the election, I’ve actually left the main Twitter platform for Tweetdeck solely so I can better control what I see in my feed. It’s been almost nonstop politics on there since November 2016, and that makes for an environment that is almost stifling. Tweetdeck lets me mute a lot of that stuff so I have a feed that is more manageable. But it’s still a nightmare. A year of trolls, bigotry, and other forms of evil running rampant on the platform have led me to change my policies with regards to blocking people. Muting isn’t enough anymore, because the determined can get around it through their followers, requiring you to mute more people. Blocking doesn’t solve that either, but it makes things a little more difficult for the trolls, and it just feels better to know they’re gone gone gone. So my new policy is to block anyone I don’t have the energy to deal with, because I’m on this Earth for one lifetime and can’t be bothered to waste what little energy I have left on people who I wouldn’t interact with in real life anyway.

Mastodon is going to be a completely different experience. Because my intent is clear:  I’m making happy. That’s it. If you show up to poop on the parade, you get blocked. I won’t follow anyone who posts tons of negative things, either. I want to create an environment full of joy, and I want to share joy with as many people as I can there. So I’ll talk about creative things I love, share cat pictures or art, talk about my writer friends and their work, or just general joyful stuff, sf/f-nal or otherwise.

And if you’d like to join me, just head on over and become a member (of either “instance” or “both”). Hope to see you there!

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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