Hello Mastodon! (Goodbye Instagram)

Created: 2022-08-02

A moment of silence for Instagram

As I explain on my Art page, I found the art community on Instagram to be a really friendly, inspiring place to be. Along with regular sketchbooking, interacting and posting on IG was a real boon to my drawing and painting.

But as everyone knows, Instagram is Facebook is Meta is the Devil incarnate and wow, has it ever taken a steep nose-dive over the last year or so. The push to change it from images to video in an attempt to compete with TikTok and the heavy-handed "algorithmization" of the feed…​well, either you care about these issues or you don’t. That’s not what this update is about.

No, this is a happy update, my friends!

Fediverse to the rescue!

I’ve been interested in the "fediverse" and specifically, Mastodon, for quite a while. But I never quite had a reason to join. I’m not a heavy Twitter user (frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever really understand Twitter), so another "micro-blogging" platform just wasn’t calling my name.

But while pondering where I might go next for an art community, I thought to do a search for "art" and "Mastodon". Sure enough, an instance popped right up: https://mastodon.art/about/more

screenshot of mastodon.art website

And so far, it looks like the perfect replacement for Instagram. Here’s me: https://mastodon.art/@ratfactor

It really is awesome how you can you can interact with people on other servers.

And I’ve seen zero advertisements so far.

And the official Android app does a good job of replacing Instagram on my phone. It’s not perfect, but at least it’s not actively hostile!

WTF, Ello?

Before it occurred to me to try Mastodon, I also thought I’d take a look at https://ello.co where I’d made an account when they first launched and I liked it, (but Instagram had the "network effect" and kept me).

Well, I don’t know what the heck is going on with that but apparently they were bought by a company called "TalentHouse". And now the main page of the site flat-out won’t load in Firefox. Period. It’s just a blank screen with this in the console:

Uncaught Error: Invalid site key or not loaded in api.js: 6Lft--UeAAAAACoK2ynWZpP8WXScrAn0iqUZUuEU
    M recaptcha__en.js:45
    C recaptcha__en.js:415
    default gui.js:185
    Redux 8
    <anonymous> main.js:67
    Webpack 3
recaptcha__en.js:45:288
[Honeybadger] Unable to send error report: no API key has been configured.

It loads in friggin' Chrome, surprise!. And it’s been this way for at least a week. Which tells me all I need to know about what’s up with Ello. It’s dead to me.

You know what? The real Dark Web is the part that only loads in a browser made by an advertising company.

So I guess this is goodbye Instagram, and goodbye Ello at the same time.

And that’s another brick in the wall.

But enough negativity, I’m super jazzed about this

I hope this whole Mastodon/Fediverse thing continues to grow. I love the idea of decentralized social platforms that can join up for the "network effect" without all the negatives of One Huge Platform. The future’s looking pretty bright.

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