Way back in the long ago, before the World Wide Web, before everyone and their grandma had a computer, before facebook, before hashtags and domain names, before trolls were really a thing, before all this… I was… well, maybe you can say I was a late to the game pioneer… on Compuserve.
It was the mid-90s, and was married and a bit lonely, as my ex was a railroader and gone quite a bit. Well, there were other things, but that I’ve written about here.
We had just bought our first computer, and I even remember first handling a mouse, like it was weird and took a lot of getting used to. I was a freshly minted computer user, after my College days, and breezing off into the wilds of internet as it was… forums, community IRC chat rooms, and all that. Disconnected, connected, and all of us (well, most of us) thinking this new fangled thang would change the world.
So, yeah, it did… just not exactly the rose-coloured glasses, pie-in-the-sky, utopian “we are the world” sorta way we imagined.
But I digress. Anywho, this week I took a leap… and one that in so many ways felt like it was back in time… yet in a wonderful way. In a way, like back in those Compuserve days… this divergent, neurodivergent, introverted, creative, inventive, anal-retentive group of us… very much like back then.
I didn’t delete my Twitter account, but I hopped onboard the Mastodon train, chose a server, and username, loaded my avatar, a header to dress my profile… and poked around. Saw that #introductions were at good thing when you’re starting out… so I composed one. Fleshed out my bio… and… now what?
**Foot tap… arms crossed** So… what now?
Well, I’ve been doing this a long long time, you know, using new things, teaching myself how to get around, do what I need to do… the ways and means of using things that are new.
I’m good at adjusting, changing, going with the flow. I like apps, or what we used to call back in the day… APPLICATIONS. (I know, so retro. But… you know… everything comes from something.)
So, I hit #explore, hit hashtags… and scrolled through the #introduction tag… following those who sounded cool, creative, lost in space, friendly, beautiful, endearing… you know… as you do when you find yourself somewhere new.
Or, as someone over there said… “you don’t go into someone’s home you just met and go through their trash”.
Ahhhhh… the peace, the gentler ways, the politeness, please and thank yous… the quiet conversations… the respect, and manners, and thoughtfulness. The open-mindedness.
I’ve since learned that this platform was created by the neurodivergent, the trans feminists and LGBTQ+, the weirdos and geeks… they gathered their wisdom and skills together. Created public spaces, villages, communities, gathering halls, neighbourhoods. Like disconnected, connected worlds, scrolling blissfully through your own “local”, or venturing out into the “federated” world, the fediverse of instances, servers of diverse characters from here, there and everywhere.
And, I swear… the old Compuserve days of old came back to me… everywhere. Just as though the children of those who used to hang out there got together and made this thang… but better… more open… safer. The sense of connection, lack of hierarchies, that no other social media platform has really every replicated.
But, blessed be the creators of that thang… dang… I feel at home.
Though, and this I know all too well, the site will undoubtedly suffer somewhat from the mass migration of us exploring outside the twitterverse… like having a quiet conversation on the train with friends, and a group of noisy tourist get on.
But, ya know. This venue is different, and the whole platform was set-up to be more sustainable, safer, user-friendly for all, maintained by coding geeks and techno wizards living the wild fandango, and jumping in to help this beautiful open-source, disconnected, connected, free of edgelords and greed be all that it can be… thang… or… atleast that is the unspoken creed.
So, I guess we shall see.
Let me know if you try it out. Ask me any questions… anything. I may write another post in the next couple of days… on Mastodon Etiquette, Ways and Means. But, in the meantime, ask away.