Of Beaks and Tusks


Saturday is usually the day I take to myself, in the sense that I don’t do anything work-related. Sunday is a mix of chores and catching up on work, but Saturday is for me and my frivolous pursuits. 

Eldest is coming to dinner today, so I have to go shopping for that and cook, but other than that, it’s mostly my fiction-writing time. I have a bunch of short stories (OK, not a bunch, but maybe three, so a tiny bunch) that I want to touch up and send out again, and there’s the novel which I sadly haven’t been able to work on this month yet. But I try not to have the perfect be the enemy of the good. 

I have a small Twitter presence under xykademiqz, but I don’t really do much there or check that account often. I spend much more time on the Twitter account associated with my fiction pen name, where my timeline features mostly writers and artists. 

But after the recent $44 billion takeover of the Bird Site by the Tesla guy, plenty of people have fled to Mastodon, or more like purchased a vacation home on Mastodon to which they will end up moving if their primary residence goes up in flames.  Technically, the network is a Mastodon fediverse, a distributed social network of independently run  servers (called instances) running Mastodon open-source software, which offers a cozier and more relaxing experience than Twitter but is in some ways akin to Twitter. You join a specific server (you can change it later if you need to, but you can follow anyone from any server anyway). You write and post “toots” (analogue of tweets), which I find endlessly hilarious, but which I find many people object to? I don’t care how old you are, potty humor is always sidesplittingly funny, so don’t be a stick in the mud and pretend it’s not. Toot with us! Anyway, you can “favourite” (like) and “boost” (retweet). However, the fediverse is not built for virality or promotion; it’s built for interpersonal connection. I have two accounts there (one associated with my short fiction (which is mostly dark and mostly speculative), and another with the genre in which I’m writing a novel), and dipping my toes into different social-media waters has been interesting. So far, I’ve really enjoyed the Mastodon fediverse, but the locals (understandably) aren’t too keen on all the changes the raucous Twitter refugees have brought along with them, not the least of which is the need for swift and presumably expensive hardware upgrades to support all the new traffic. 

For those of you who follow (kind of) these events, here’s a thoughtful post by one longtime Mastodon user: 


Academic blogosphere, do you use social media? Which ones? If you are on Twitter, are you thinking about moving elsewhere? 


  1. I saw somewhere (likely a Tweet) that Twitter users switching to Mastodon is like switching from Windows to Linux. I didn’t read further to ascertain if that was meant as a compliment or dig at Mastodon and/or Linux users… The night club / chill house party is a better comparison!

  2. My blogging (and reading blogs) was my main social media, but this year I’ve gotten sucked into spending way too much time on the r/Professors subreddit. I’ve never done Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, … .

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