Is Mastodon the solution?

By Ande Jacobson

I’ve written about social media before, most recently as the Twitter turmoil was ramping up. I originally joined Twitter back in 2011 mostly to help bolster my fledgling A Good Reed Review website. Originally, that’s all I used it for. Every time I’d publish a piece on the site, I’d have it appear on the site’s Facebook page and on what I considered its Twitter account. Then I got involved in politics in a more substantial way in 2020 volunteering for the Biden text team during the general election. At that point, I started using my Twitter account for more than just the music and theater related content on my website, and I started to recognize much of the good that Twitter could do. News agencies had long used it to get important information out quickly, particularly in times of crisis. The same was true for various public figures. Continue reading

Social media again

By Ande Jacobson

With all the hype about Elon Musk buying Twitter and taking it private to avoid oversight as a private company, it seems like a good time to revisit the world of social media. I wrote a piece about a year ago talking about the good side of Facebook (yes, it can be used for good). All of the social media platforms have one thing in common, how one uses them determines one’s user experience. Every platform can be used for good or ill, but a user can avoid most of the effects of the algorithms and advertising by using them deliberately. In this case, deliberate means not “doom scrolling” and leaving what they see to the manipulative algorithms but instead consciously choosing what content to view.

On most social media platforms, a user makes connections or follows various people and pages. To use social media platforms deliberately, one can search for or bookmark their favorite pages and go directly to those. Alternatively, one can start with their own profile and pick from there. Hiding ads also reduces the number of ads one sees pretty effectively. Continue reading