Thursday, December 1, 2022

Should I stay or should I go? Some thoughts on switching from Twitter to Mastodon

I have not been active on social media for a while, and I must admit that keeping off social media did not feel like a big loss. Lately, I have started checking in more frequently again, though. Ironically, the reason for this is my consideration of whether I should delete my Twitter account or not. 

I will not pretend like I know exactly what's going on with the whole Elon-Musk-buying-Twitter thing and all the pros and cons of staying on Twitter. However, I like the general idea to move from relying on large corporations to smaller providers, and so I welcomed the idea to try out Mastodon as an alternative, and created an account. I'm pretty happy so far, which leads to the question: Should I keep my Twitter account?

My considerations here are mostly pragmatic. I have benefited a lot from being on Twitter. I managed to catch the wave when the Open Science movement started, and through Twitter, I have become an active member of the Open Science community. I have met and discussed with many colleagues about what I refer to as my "day job", my research on reading and dyslexia. My impression is that most Open Science people have moved to Mastodon, so I should not miss out on any new developments here if I delete my Twitter account. The same does not seem to be true for the reading research community, however. Perhaps (ironically), they are more interested in retaining their outreach to a broader audience than the open science community, and are skeptical about this being possible on Mastodon. 

This leaves me with the following dilemma: As a pro of keeping my Twitter account, I will be able to keep in touch with the reading research community. As a con, I will have yet another social media account, and it's not like I have so much spare time that I can keep up with yet another timeline. 

There are some other things I could do. For example, I could revive my lurker account on Twitter, which I created when the atmosphere in the Open Science community got a bit too tense for my liking and where I follow exclusively reading researchers, and delete my main account. Or, I could leave social media altogether. 

There is no conclusion to this post, it's just some disorganised thoughts, quickly jotted down between two meetings. Maybe it will encourage some reading researchers to try out Mastodon? And, in case you notice that I disappear from Twitter, I hope to stay in touch with all of the amazing people that I have met throughout the years.

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