A blue circle with a white speech bubble with a blue M in the middle

Adding Mastodon

So now that Twitter’s new owner has set the place on fire, I have established a new outpost on Mastodon — @blueterraplane@wandering.shop. This instance has quite a lot of SF/F people on it, and so far seems free of drama. (Of course, the minute I post this, something is bound to happen. But I live in hope.) I’ve already had a nice chat about sock knitting patterns, though.

I’m not sure what I will do about @blueterraplane on Twitter. It’s unclear what will happen with the service. My expectations are low and falling, but it is remotely possible that Musk will get bored and someone will pull the wreckage out of the fire. I’m certainly not going to pay money for what I’m seeing, which may well mean that any use I get out of Twitter will dwindle and die as non-subscribers’ posts are routinely demoted and unshared. (Musk has hinted at this, along with a lot of other things; I don’t think he knows what he’s ultimately going to do.)

There are plenty of things I won’t miss about Twitter, and I could list them in detail, but they’re the same things everyone else objects to: the misinformation, deliberate disinformation, bullying, harassment, and the general assumption that everyone should respond to everything with outrage. The things that I will miss are subtler, and are the result of years of tending my online relationships. I had slowly built up a web of connections with other SFF professionals, writers, artists, editors, game-makers, publishers, and more, and Twitter had become my second-most effective promotional tool (in-person convention appearances remain the most effective). From a professional point of view, it was the best place to learn about new books and interesting opportunities, and to connect with fellow writers.

I also followed a number of museums and educational accounts (the MERL! Hadrian’s Wall! the British Museum!) and favorite but far-away theaters like the RSC and Shakespeare’s Globe. It was through Twitter that I found the wonderful “The Show Must Go On(Line),” who spent the pandemic performing Zoom versions of the entire Shakespearean canon. (In their Romeo and Juliet, it was arguable that Friar Lawrence’s plan went wrong because of a bad connection…) I fell in love with Hookland, and am still more than half convinced that many of my and my neighbors’ ancestors came to the Southern US from that county. I followed various astronauts and random aviation geeks, a squid scientist, a few bots, and an entire phalanx of Victorian historians. Twitter reliably offered links to new sources and further research, and at its best, I could get advice from actual experts. I have been on Twitter for 12 years, and I’ve seen 12 years of connection and curation blown up in less than a week, for no apparent reason, not even for someone else’s profit.

For now, I will keep my Twitter account open and cross-post there and on Mastodon. I’ll continue to keep building my Mastodon account — and keep reminding myself that it took me 12 years to get to where I was on Twitter. I’m still figuring out all the mechanics, but I like the system so far, and I’ve managed to reconnect with quite a few people. Hopefully as things settle out, new professional connections will evolve, and we can continue to support each other.