Piwiking the Mastodon

First Published: Sun Aug 19 2018
Last Updated: Sun Aug 26 2018

So a long time ago, when I had a bit more time and interest I used to run an identi.ca server. For those of you aren't aware, Identica was an open source project aimed at delivering a twitter like social network, but with the added functionality of the ability to run your own server instance AND be able to talk to people on other server instances. 

Think Twitter but with an email model.

Identica couldn't build up the critical mass required at the time, so it basically died off. It wasn't the last effort at a distributed social network however, we've seen projects like Diaspora, Statusnet (child of Identica and now GNU/Social) and others try and build both the tech and the community that will be needed to drive it along.

I haven't dabbled in this space for a while, mostly because it hasn't had the people that I like to engage with buy into it. While the tech is cool, it does get boring after a while when your feed is basically dead or full of "Testing, testing, is this thing on" type messages.

Yesterday however I saw chatter about the Mastodon project. I THINK it was driven by the fact that Wil Wheaton announced that he was leaving Twitter and moving across to Mastodon. The people who were chatting about Mastodon were the sort of people who I would like to engage with, so I grabbed a copy of the source and setup an instance (no half measures like setting up an account on an existing instance for me!) using these instructions.

First impressions are goodish. Time line is pure, no mucking about with third party curation and the ability to talk to people across a number of different instances is very cool. On the flipside however, hashtags are buggered if you're running your own instance as they don't work with the federated model. Also, to be fair, the federated model does introduce the same privacy issues around who gets to see things like DM's (it's not just one instance Admin/Moderator set, it's as many sets as there are people on different instances in the conversation).

Anyway, I'll see how it goes, I'm not leaving twitter any time soon because it still offers me value, but Mastodon is another avenue for me to engage with people. If you want to talk to me on the old wooly social thing my handle is @purserj@mastodon.angrybeanie.com

Setting up the Mastodon instance also inspired me to have another look at the FOSS Web Analytics package Piwik (now called Mamoto) While I'm okay with using Google Analytics, there's something to be said to owning your own data. This site doesn't get much traffic at the moment, but running both at the same time will give me a good idea of which is better.

Pic is of sons Cockatiel Archie