A "Danger" warning on a subway track.

On De-platforming

Since April when Twitter first appeared to be for-sale, friends and I took initiatives to plan for a life without relying on Twitter. It’s now one month since that sale has completed. Here I’ll share what de-platforming means for me.

I deleted my main Twitter account on November 10. Verification on that platform was problematic before the sale to Elon Musk; afterwards is only comical once one accepts that Twitter can’t be trusted for anything anymore. I remember all sorts of thought leaders who’d paraphrase second-hand quotes in the New York Times, themselves quoting from “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.”

I don’t think it meant what they think it meant.

I see how actual open source and actually federated approaches like Mastodon worked (and still must contend with biases, moderation, constraints, safety, growth).

I count myself very lucky to have met and know Alex Hillman from Indy Hall in Philadelphia. He started Jawns.club, a Philly-based mastodon instance, back in 2018. He had foresight and initiative. In the days and weeks since Twitter’s sale, Mastodon’s growth has been significant — about 10,000 new accounts daily. The numbers are only interesting in that one surmises that several new people are joining the local instance, which means a few more people who might get the same jokes, be cranky about the same weather impacting the same things — a few more people for whom a geo-local online community makes a lot of sense.

A Place for Helpful Ideas

Two things about jawns.club that have been a real delight the last few weeks have been watching (and livetooting) Eagles games. On Twitter, I connected with so many people from around the world… over the course of 15 years. Twitter was so large that it made for lots of small communities informally drawn from years of use. To join a Mastodon instance is to intentionally join a community and one thing about a Philly-local instance is that when the Philly sports fans all joined en masse, it was a thing and it was fun as hell.

Several folks I’m coming to know only through our interactions about WXPN’s end-of-year “90s A-to-Z” dealio (follow #XPN90sAtoZ) have caught songs played that I had never considered left Milwaukee, like Paul Cebar & the Milwaukeean’s “Didn’t Leave Me No Ladder” Some songs take me back to a specific time and place, though, and I know where I was in 1992 when Tim Berners-Lee introduced the web, because my buddy Dan and I were just talking about it as we closed up his dad’s dry cleaning shop, right down the street from the “Up and Under” where Paul Cebar was kinda a regular, and they didn’t card until 10pm back then.

What appealed most to me from TBL’s vision was the idea that my ideas had a place on the web. I’ve had ideas I couldn’t put together until I learned to navigate some of the professional, career, and industry boxes around actual answers to questions. I feel confident, for the first time in a minute, that I got enough figured out to start sharing more intentionally. I intend to write more about how I’ve been working with xAPI over the last five years and share some tools, tips and tricks along the way that hopefully help.

I’ll occasionally share about what I’m learning as I try to figure out how to do everything related to xAPI, which can be a real challenge. Lately I’ve been learning about containerization which has led to me running a desktop instance of DATASIM for a project I’m working on, and in the coming year I expect I’ll be playing with a few different analytics frameworks and business intelligence packages.

In short, as we roll into nine years of MakingBetter (and 10 years of xAPI!) I plan to do my part to make this website a place for helpful ideas around how to do precision learning — learning content and data strategy that results in measurable real-world outcomes.

I will also try to contain the amount of off-topic references in a given post.