The Alternative After Being in Twitter Jail

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Twitter is an amazing social media platform, but there are a few rigidly enforced rules that their algorithms can use to threaten your existence on their service. The most distressing is breaking one of their rules of behavior (and they have a number of them) that limit, IMHO, free speech.

I’m not a hate monger or a bigot but use one wrong word or expression and you are placed in Twitter jail for 12 hours. Break it again, and you are expelled permanently from Twitter. But any company, and Twitter is one company setting its own rules, can decide, via their AI, how you will be treated. I have my doubts if these rules are equally imposed on all posts or posters.

Yes, I unwittingly broke one of those rules and they determined I used bigoted language, to which I do not agree, but they nevertheless placed me in a 12-hour hold. During that time, I could send and receive DMs (Direct Messages) but I could not post. This denied me access to my 10K+ followers. And I waited.

Good-from-bad is my mantra and here, too, I found that Twitter isn’t the only game in town, albeit it is the biggest one to date. Where opportunity appears, competition is sure to follow and, in the case of Twitter, there surely is growing competition.

What might these competitors give you? How about not selling your interest to those who want to buy adds with it? Then there’s that “one company restriction” where they decide how the game will be played and can strike with formidable force once you break a rule. As I said, I think their AI is rather capricious here, but hey, what is AI but as dumb and thoughtless as those who wrote the code and determined to punish us harshly?

Also, Twitter is maintained on their company server, not spread around to others. This does not appeal to me as BitTorrent had appealed to me for a variety of needs I have had. Hats off to Bram Cohen for creating that one and for Aaron Swartz who believed in internet freedom and died for it. I like the fact that many servers, worldwide, hosting bits of programs, books, films, etc. which can hand things off to other servers when needed is laudable. It prevents the arbitrary application of “rules of behavior” too that appears to have infected Twitter’s AI.

Next, these alternative platforms allow you, similar to Facebook (to which I do not belong) to form groups of like-minded people and you can join many groups or form and host your own group. Sure, some groups are only for kids, but isn’t it ok? Of course, it is. Some could be for researchers exchanging information or musicians testing out tunes or distribution or whatever or people who love or hate cooking. The decision is yours. But no hate speech, homophobia or a few other caveats.

I have only dipped my toe into the alternative pool and will start building up my following after, as I said, that Twitter smack in the face. It came as a shock, but I know I’m not alone. Some wonderful people have been banned on Twitter, so I’m in good company although my timeout was only 12 hours and theirs is permanent.

What alternative platform am I going to join? Mastodon because of its open-source, allows 500 characters, not 140, BitTorrent-like multi-server setup and its flexibility where I set my own rules of behavior, don’t have my data taken and sold without benefit of royalty and as a result of this action, which I consider an affront to me personally by the mind-in-the-machine Twitter approach to a business model.

You can easily find alternatives to Twitter and YouTube videos to explain what they are and the benefits or downsides of each. This isn’t heresy; it’s plain, old good sense. Who goes out into the wild not being fully prepared for things like this? Always have a back-up plan to protect yourself and this one came as a bolt of lightening out of the blue.

Mastodon, here I come. Don’t hear me roar but let me roar if I want. BTW, you have an incredible number of “instances” (groups) to join but https would seem a wise one. And use a VPN for extra protection plus you might not want to use your regular email address. Simple enough to get another from Google.

Once burned, twice shy as they say.

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