Speculative fiction writer, translator, and editor

(1/34) look y’all, I got many mastodon accounts, but if you’ll follow on mastodon, follow @[email protected], a mastodon without a fifth glyph

(2/34) </oulipo> anyway, this is fucking why mastodon is never going to be my main home, 3 of the 6 instances I signed up for in 2017 are now defunct, it is FAR, FAR less stable with less longevity than twitter, you are at the whims of the instance maintainers oulipo.social/@sqiouyilu/364…

(3/34) blah blah federation blah blah this or that blah blah idgaf, if my entire social media platform can go down because the one person who owns the domain decides they don’t want to pay for it anymore, I am NOT MOVING

(4/34) exodus from twitter to mastodon means (1) twitter communities split up between instances, which is supposed to not prevent you from interacting across them, but in practice produces niches, which (2) can be annihilated as soon as someone doesn’t want to maintain it anymore

(5/34) everyone exodusing from twitter to mastodon without a full understanding of how mastodon works—which you will not develop unless you use mastodon—is going to be severely disappointed when at least half of the instances die off due to abandonment within 3–5 years, and you’re stuck

(6/34) I adopted mastodon when it first rolled out bc I was really excited about the premise, but I just completely given up on it, because if I want to go somewhere with detailed and nuanced conversation about a niche, I go to a subreddit, and if I want to microblog, I go to twitter

(7/34) remember when reddit was the cesspit of the internet? and now when you google something the only way you can get authentic results from real people is to add “reddit” to your query? that’s bc they didn’t change infrastructure, THEY CHANGED MODDING

(8/34) just check out the reddiquette page: reddit.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/artic…

THIS is what twitter needs, not a splintering exodus—ALL social media needs a communal, living etiquette document

and if you say “lol that would never work on twitter,” YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM

(9/34) also, I must remind people that large companies like twitter, facebook, instagram are still, to some degree, beholden to their user bases, and will typically provide advance notice of changes, and especially would provide advance notice of a shutdown so you can retrieve data

(10/34) your mastodon instance maintainer, however, is under no obligation to give you any notice if the instance is going to go offline. it’s usually one or a few people starting up a server bc hey wouldn’t that be cool? except oh wait it costs $$$$$$$$$$$$ and labor

(11/34) your instance owners could just decide “yeah no this is too much work” and wander off and once the domain’s time limit is up, whoops you can’t even go to the mastodon to retrieve a backup, and there WILL NOT BE a way to get your data back

(12/34) mastodon is an EXTRAORDINARILY risky place to be a creative, simply because of the sheer amount of data loss if the platform goes down, which has a much, much higher rate of happening than any other social media platform in existence rn imo

(13/34) to conclude this thread, I will provide a number of metaphors to explain mastodon, bc the other big fucking issue with mastodon is that the power user base would rather explain until their last breath what “federated” means than consider user-friendly UI, which includes language


each mastodon instance is like a livejournal community: you typically have a topic or theme, but not always, and there are mods who maintain the community and access to it. however, your username is associated with a home community,

(15/34) and each community is hosted on a separate website. it’s like if livejournal communities were separate wordpress installs that all still use a common software. but basically, instead of lj user being the basic unit, lj comm is the basic unit


each mastodon instance is like an apartment complex. you have your own apartment (your account), and you share your address with many people who also live there, and often have a sense of community. you can go visit other apartment complexes, too!

(17/34) however, your experience is going to largely depend on what your landlord is like. if they’re responsive and maintain the unit well with forward-thinking longevity, great! but if they’re shitty or absent, you will want to move, or can be “evicted” if the instance goes offline


all mastodon instances are under the same “mastodon” group umbrella, which describes the software. each instance is like a local chapter of mastodon. you interact with a smaller group of people, and often with local chapters near you as well.

(19/34) you typically share some ideals with the group (in this case, what social media should look like and how it should run), but the effectiveness of your local chapter depends on whether you have effective leaders who are committed to the chapter’s ideals and functions

(20/34) to end this thread, I will STRONGLY urge anyone who has an online presence, but especially creatives, to get a domain for your own website. there’s still the possibility that your hosting providers go down, but there are far more long-term stable hosting providers than mastodons

(21/34) also a caveat that each hosting provider has different definitions of banned content and have different legal jurisdictions, but like, it’s not gonna be more restrictive than tumblr or twitter usually

(22/34) I really want young people to understand this too! there’s a lot of drag-and-drop site builders and platforms these days, but they’re still on under someone else’s control. there are ways to have spaces that are 100% under YOUR control for you to freely experiment with

(23/34) if your sole web presence is a carrd or linktree, or if you just want a page with links for your site, I have several free launchpad themes and instructions on how to use them to make your own site: s.qiouyi.lu/resources/laun…

(24/34) this thread is now archived on my site: s.qiouyi.lu/threads/on-mas…

(25/34) this is very possible, so NOW is the time to download a copy of your twitter data & set up a website—in the meantime, a subdomain of .wordpress.com will function—so that you have somewhere to post how to find you that’s indexable by google & search engines

Quote retweet of https://twitter.com/shirts_leaves/status/1588594559168417792

(26/34) Settings > Your Account > Download an archive of your data

it will take about 24 hours for the archive to become available, so initiate the process BEFORE you need the backup

(27/34) this is also your regular reminder to periodically download backups of your data from ANY website you use

ALL websites are susceptible to going offline at any moment, and your only defense against that is to keep multiple backups of your data in different locations

(28/34) if you just want to back up individual threads, use @threadreaderapp, which offers PDF downloads, and I’m writing up a post on how to transform the HTML of the page into simpler code via regex to back up elsewhere

(29/34) the main thing right now is, don’t panic! it’s still far too early to say what’s going to happen to twitter, whether changes stick, whether lawsuits are going to reverse layoffs, etc. etc. etc.

and make contingency plans anyway, because they’re smart to have in general

(30/34) take this moment as an opportunity to “platform-proof” your online presence. you will be running into platform exodus over & over again—in my 20yrs of Being Online, I’ve left dozens—and if you don’t address this now, you will just be panicking again next time there’s a migration

(31/34) also, tongue-in-cheek of initial tweet aside, I do also still have my @[email protected] account (which I have had since it *started*), which is where I’d probably post if I did return to mastodon, but at this moment I have no plans to migrate off twitter

(32/34) tutorial is now live! s.qiouyi.lu/resources/tuto…

QRT: (28/34) if you just want to back up individual threads, use @threadreaderapp, which offers PDF downloads, and I’m writing up a post on how to transform the HTML of the page into simpler code via regex to back up elsewhere

(33/34) the tutorial doesn’t include info yet on how to transform media in tweets (images, video, audio) because I haven’t explored those cases yet, but if you have thread reader examples of threads with multimedia in them, feel free to link me so I can examine the code and add it

(34/34) and a final note about domains… if you buy yourname.com, you can maintain ownership even if you decide to change registrars, and you can point it to different platforms if you migrate, while keeping your address the same. MUCH more stable and controllable than ANY platform!

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