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Where content meets technology

Dec 17, 2022

Digital Refactor

In light of the recent drama over at Twitter, I have been re-evaluating my use of social media. I have been off Facebook for years and for months I have made an effort to immerse myself in longer form content (newspaper articles, books, etc.). But I hadn't been able to resist the temptation of the Twitter timeline - specifically the little dopamine hits I got from snarky jokes and also surges of outrage at the world's injustices.

When I joined Mastodon (my handle is @sgottlieb@better.boston), I didn't want to recreate the same experience that I had on Twitter; specifically, the habit of trolling for dopamine. But it is taking me some time to figure out what I want from a timeline. I don't want to rely on a timeline to "stay informed" or "keep up to date." With their journalism skills and editorial standards, newspapers are much better resources to satisfy those needs. And I don't need to sift through a disorganized timeline to find links to articles that I should read. Content is already nicely organized in news websites and various newsletters that I subscribe to.

I rarely used Twitter as a social space to have conversations with people I know. And I am not looking for Facebook-style highlight reels from my real world friends. To maintain connections, I am much better off having real conversations.

So what problem am I looking to Mastodon to solve? I am inspired by passionate people doing noble things like advocating for more livable cities, scientific research, or any kind of creative expression. I like the idea of an open space to talk about esoteric topics. I am trying to learn how to use Mastodon to provide that experience. I think the solution lies in hashtags and being very deliberate in who I follow. It's a work in progress and I am patient.

Reach out if you have cracked the Mastodon code to create a perfect timeline.