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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Twitter - - - to - - - Mastodon - what ??

Do you have a Twitter handle ? – how often do you tweet ?and how many followers do you have on Twitter ?  .. .. .. for sure, you know of the change in ownership !

The new owner - Elon Musk has dissolved Twitter's board of directors - cementing his control over the social media platform.  The multi-billionaire will be its chief executive after buying the company last week, ending months of back and forth over the $44bn (£38.3bn) deal. He has moved quickly to put his mark on the firm, which is used by famous people,  politicians and journalists around the world.  The reforms he is contemplating include changes for how Twitter verifies accounts, as well as job cuts. Top executives have already been removed, as Mr Musk brings in high profile allies to the company. There are fears that there could be serious job cuts too !! Along with taking the top role at Twitter, Mr Musk is chief executive of electric car maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX. However, he has indicated that his position at the social media company may be temporary.

Moving away, they  look like Elephants to us - The American Mastodon became extinct by 13,000 years ago. The mastodon family diverged from other elephant-like relatives in Miocene times.  The American Mastodon was wide-spread across all of North America from Alaska to central Mexico. Other mastodon species were widely distributed throughout the world, and mastodon fossil remains are locally common and well-preserved in Pliocene and Pleistocene age deposits. Complete or near complete skeletons have been recovered, some even with preserved hair.

A mastodon (mastós 'breast' + odoús 'tooth') is any proboscidean belonging to the extinct genus Mammut (family Mammutidae) that inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene or late Pliocene up to their extinction at the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Mastodons lived in herds and were predominantly forest-dwelling animals. They generally had a browsing diet, distinct from that of the contemporary Columbian mammoth, which tended towards grazing.  M. americanum, the American mastodon, and M. pacificus, the Pacific mastodon, are the youngest and best-known species of the genus. Mastodons disappeared from North America as part of a mass extinction of most of the Pleistocene megafauna, widely believed to have been caused by a combination of climate changes at the end of the Pleistocene and overexploitation by Paleo-Indians.

A Dutch tenant farmer found the first recorded remnant of Mammut, a tooth some 2.2 kg (5 lb) in weight, in the village of Claverack, New York, in 1705. The mystery animal became known as the "incognitum". In 1739 French soldiers at present-day Big Bone Lick State Park, Kentucky, found the first bones to be collected and studied scientifically. They carried them to the Mississippi River, from where they were transported to the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.  People started referring to the "incognitum" as a "mammoth", like the ones that were being dug out in Siberia  – in 1796 the French anatomist Georges Cuvier proposed the radical idea that mammoths were not simply elephant bones that had been somehow transported north, but a species which no longer existed. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach assigned the scientific name Mammut to the American "incognitum" remains in 1799, under the assumption that they belonged to mammoths.  In 1817 Cuvier named the "incognitum" Mastodon.

Twitter now has a new owner and the social network is awash in speculation of what Elon Musk will do with it. Some Twitter users are declaring that they plan to find an alternative rather than stick around and find out — and some have already left. In case, you too have plans of shifting there are some  possible alternatives. Most don’t have the size and scale of Twitter, and it’s hard to say if any of them will attract enough followers to give it a run for its money. Some of them ape the real-time feed of Twitter, but most provide a different take on what a social network can look like. Depending on what you get out of Twitter — perhaps you use it to broadcast your work or maybe you use it to keep up with news events, or maybe you use it to connect with other Twitter users — you might prefer some of these options over others.

Mastodon is sort of a decentralized version of Twitter. You don’t join Mastodon per se; you join a specific server run by an organization, individual, or group of individuals!. Confusing !  On Mastodon, you post toots (rather than tweets) with a 500-word limit per post; you can attach images, a video, or an audio file. Hashtags are encouraged to help people find your toots, and there are apps for iOS and Android devices – not sure, how to join with desktop / laptop computer.  To sign up, you go to join M and click on the Servers link at the top of the page to choose which server you want to sign up for. You can choose to search by topic and / or language. Some will let you join immediately; others have waiting lists. You might want to start with one of the more populated ones, such as (which at last count had about 779 thousand users).

The best way to get started with Mastodon is through apps for iOS and Android, but many third-party apps are also available. Mastodon is free and open-source software for running self-hosted social networking services.  Each user is a member of a specific Mastodon instance, which can interoperate as a federated social network, allowing users on different nodes to interact with each other. This is intended to give users the flexibility to select a server whose policies they prefer, but keep access to a larger social network.  Mastodon was originally created by Eugen Rochko and announced on Hacker News in October 2016.

The Mastodon mascot is an animal with a trunk, resembling a mastodon or mammoth, sometimes depicted using a tablet or smartphone. Messages posted using the software are known as "toots". 

There are signs of a small but growing Twitter exodus underway following Elon Musk’s closure of the deal to buy the social media platform.  While many Twitter users are taking a wait-and-see approach and may not have fully deleted their accounts at this time, a sizable number of people are currently checking out Twitter alternatives. According to some media reports,  Mastodon has gained more than 70,000 new sign-ups on Friday, the day after the Musk Twitter takeover completed. And this weekend, the official Mastodon mobile app saw a record number of downloads !    

Technology changes so fast that often people are swept aside by its speed !  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Nov 2022.


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