Rob Fahrni

Rob Fahrni

Mastodon for News Organizations

It’s a prime time for news organizations to spin up their own Twitter like service.

A wonderful bouquet of flowers.Look, I believe Mastodon is the beginning of something that could be very special. It uses the internet as it was intended to connect multiple Twitter like services together and anyone can have one. Think of how email works at a very high level. I have a GMail account and you have one at your company, say The Atlantic. If I know your email address I can send you email and our email servers know how to talk to each other. Brilliant! That’s a 30,000ft view of Mastodon.

Ms. Applebaum is asking which instance, or server, to join. Yeah, that’s a tough one. Some of the most popular servers, those with the Mastodon name, are jam packed with users and until Mastodon is great at scaling horizontally it’s going to be slow when you host a lot of people.

By contrast I have a teeny-tiny instance for me and my friends. It only has seven users but it slides right into the Mastodon ecosystem so anyone with an account on any Mastodon server can follow me and we can have a very Twitter like conversation. It’s really quite wonderful. I’m able to do this for $6/month. That’s it.

Of course a server hosting thousands or tens of thousands of users would cost a whole lot more.

Red sock.What if instead of piling on at one of the generic Mastodon instances writers formed a collective and spun up their own server? What if the companies they work for did it instead? In the Anne Apllebaum case The Atlantic could have a subdomain of The Atlantic running a Mastodon server. It could be something like stream.theatlantic.com. Boom! All writers for The Atlantic would have a home from which to write and the server wouldn’t be overwhelmed with users causing slowdowns.

Dan Hon

A Proposal for News Organization Mastodon Servers and More

Another service worth considering is Micro.blog. It is it’s own service, not based on Mastodon, but it supports two way communication with Mastodon servers!

Micro.blog has a Twitter like timeline of folks and for posts over 256 characters it allows you to make a blog post that is linked directly into its timeline. If you have any followers on a Mastodon server your “tweets” can be seen by people on that servers as well and you can see their replies. Micro.blog also supports custom domain names. It’s how I publish this very blog at rob.crabapples.net.

Micro.blog has really great service and help to get your rolling.

Another thing brewing from one of the creators of RSS, Dave Winer, is a way to federate using RSS. I don’t have a handle on this idea, at all, but if there was a way to do two way communication with RSS so we could carry on a threaded conversation, I’d be extremely interested given I’m the creator a feed reader.

There are so many things in a state of flux at the moment it’s really difficult to see where they’ll land but it’s another exciting time in the evolution of the web and I’m here for it!