One Foot in Twitter and One in Mastodon

Casey Newton:

By some measures, Twitter usage is down from previous highs. But among the 900 or so tech and media professionals I follow, usage is basically steady. The timeline may scroll a little more slowly than it used to, but everyone is still showing up for their daily dose of sparring for retweets. And I think it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on why.

Andy Bell:

I honestly think Mastodon — or some other decentralised platform — is the long term future, but I also think unless Twitter literally disappears, it’s going to take a long time. That’s fine, in my opinion. It gives Mastodon time to evolve into something more people friendly, which will be great!

Twitter does not need to lose for Mastodon to become a successful network; it already is successful for many people, despite — or perhaps because of — its size. But I do see where both these writers are coming from. Twitter is still a more vibrant place for many users, and I share many of Bell’s gripes about a particularly zealous sort of early adopter.

I am more optimistic about online social networks today than I was, say, just a couple of years ago. The long-quiet Mastodon has been invigorated. The launch of Glass was well timed against Instagram’s erosion. The demise of incumbent platforms has been overstated, but their stagnation and lack of focus has catalyzed interest around these smaller entrants.