Over the holiday break I took some time off of the big three social media sites – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Like many of you, I am increasingly concerned about how these platforms are evolving, and the impact they are having on both my own well-being and society at large. But while I have concerns, I also recognize that I gain a great deal of personal and professional satisfaction from participating on social media with peers and friends. I still consider social networks a key foundational component of a well rounded Personal Learning Network (PLN). So, I want to try some strategies to better balance my desire to participate in social media spaces with the increasingly alarming stories about how these three corporate controlled spaces are shaping and influencing not only societal discourse, but my own beliefs and opinions.
One strategy will be to actively participate on Mastodon more than Twitter. I’ve had a Mastodon account for the past couple of years and have been somewhat active in that space, trying to maintain a presence there as I really like this model of a decentralized social media network where it is possible for a small group to host their own instance and connect their Mastodon instance to other Mastodon instances. I have used the user-supported Mastodon.Social site for the past few years, but would really like to explore with the OpenETC this year what it might take to host our own instance of Mastodon within the OpenETC specifically for educators within BC to have their own Mastodon account.
For now, I’ll be more active on Mastodon than on Twitter. I am trying to alter my digital habits to be Mastodon first instead of Twitter first. But I am not giving up on Twitter. I’ll still pop in and am going to make an effort to be visible in both spaces by cross-posting my Mastodon posts to Twitter using an IFTTT applet that will take the RSS feed of my Mastodon posts and cross post it to Twitter.
Yes, as I discovered over the holidays, Mastodon does have RSS feeds, which means syndication and republication using an IFTTT applet is a breeze. To find your Mastodon RSS feed, just add a .rss extension to your Mastodon url https://mastodon.social/@clintlalonde is my Mastodon account, https://firstname.lastname@example.org is the RSS feed for my account. Once I get the RSS feed, head over to IFTTT and create a new RSS to Twitter applet that will watch the RSS feed from my Mastodon account for new posts and, when a new post pops up, will automatically cross post to Twitter. (instructions on how to create a new applet if you have never used IFTTT before).
I am still messing around with the parameters, or ingredients as IFTTT calls them, to control exactly what gets posted from Mastodon to Twitter. But for now, this works to give me a presence in both places and now gives me a bit more freedom to begin to develop a Mastodon network while not completely abandoning my Twitter network. I’ll still need to log onto Twitter every once in awhile to monitor conversations that may pop up there. But for now, this will hopefully help me to adjust my own digital workflow to post to Mastodon first instead of Twitter first, and still be able to share and connect with the much larger network I have on Twitter than I do on Mastodon.
* If this topic of controlling your digital life is of interest to you, today is day one of TRU’s Digital Detox program. I have signed up for the program and am looking forward to seeing where Brenna takes us over the next month.