Ulanoff and I used to go back and forth with contrary opinions, and I was hoping to do that again, but his argument is pretty much based on the fact that he could not cajole William Shatner to connect with him on the system. It seems like that’s a deal breaker for Lance. No Shatner? I’m out. End of story.
The Mastodon buzz appears to stem from the decentralized nature of the product. There is no central authority, and it has an anarchistic, free and open aura about it. You can set up a community, I can set up a community, we can all set up a community.
Mastodon is not the first Twitter-like, open-source system. Chyrp, Sweetter, and Twoorl all come to mind along with Identi, Revou, and others. What makes Mastodon different is the interlinking. My podcasting partner, Adam Curry, even set up a Mastodon server for the No Agenda podcast “community” which I joined, of course.
The first thing Curry noticed is that much of the “we are all humans living on the same planet” social justice warriors have already blacklisted the No Agenda server and other non-PC communities. He joked to me on a recent show that those who advocate “No Borders, No Nations” are the first to put up borders and lock out those who don’t abide by their anti-Trump, anti-Republican, anti-Brexit, anti-capitalism, safe-space philosophy.
This may be a bonus if you think about it. It will auto-segregate annoying nutballs who are incompatible with the general population; hate dominates in some quarters of Twitter. That may not happen on Mastodon, where communities establish boundaries much like what we used to see on pre-internet Computerized Bulletin Board System (CBBS) systems.
On Twitter, I cannot do much more than block an individual from communicating with me, but there are all sorts of workarounds for serious troublemakers and trolls. With Mastodon, there are blacklists of entire servers where people have gathered, a structure that has a lot of potential. Whether it can connect Ulanoff with Shatner remains to be seen. I’m guessing no.