My Mastodon Pack and Go Journey
Along with many others, I packed up my social media presence on the twitter sites, and unpacked in the Fediverse of Mastodon instances. The time to move was obvious for me but the path was not. Leaving behind may contacts and previous communications is like losing the text message history on your mobile device (the infamous “new phone who this?”).
I looked at a few ways to save/export contact lists and on a dive through a couple thousand I found the veritable beginning of that social media channel with seven luminaries of the SAP community space(s). Unsurprising as I started connecting there because of what James Governor shared to the TechEd communities.
Data Export Attempts
Turned out just browsing was enough to find my first hundred or so people to get started on Mastodon. I ran online scripts that found a dozen or 2 but thought I’d go another way. Online help suggested to make an official export data request through the Twitter web site. Basic steps:
- Request zip
- Verify request
- Download from supplied link
-rw-r--r--+ 1 Jim None 662754007 Nov 18 11:38 twitter-2022-11-18-##.zip
The image above of Craig Cmehil et al shows their current “screen names” which, being variable, aren’t a key identifier; the “user id” is. Converting the latter to the former works on a recent browser, though availability of any API in the future might be a problem. I found a short script that appeared to work without needing an access key, but the libraries seem to already be outdated.
Of the 7 people, 4 mention Mastodon in their visible Twitter bios when I captured the image.
Besides user searches, prior “tweet” posts might be found with this pattern:
My first seems to have been a mundane search for a cup of coffee:
waiting for the first cup of coffee to kick in
— Jim Spath (@jspath55) November 29, 2007
[ twitter.com/jspath55/status/454267732 ]
Examples of API URLs:
Inside the downloaded archive are follows and follower data streams:
283934 Stored 283934 0% 11-18-22 16:25 00000000 data/follower.js 394725 Stored 394725 0% 11-18-22 16:25 00000000 data/following.js
My mutual count is around 800 from a total of 4000 follower+following.
Here is an example of an account I followed (local author of “The Widows of Malabar Hill”) with the saved identifier and the associated account:
On the Mastodon side
Just as the migration began in earnest, as evidenced by tracking various accounts and trending topics, those running the hosts were presented with a version upgrade. I initially saw a message about a release candidate, which is not what you’d want to pick as the stable platform for a predicted large growth (if allowed) of new users and traffic.
Hard times for some if not all system administrators as they tried to keep up with the changes.
When V4.x began to be rolled out on the instance I am connected to, a few burps, lost or changed addresses, and somewhat of a user interface evolution (more on media in another post). I’m getting responses from more and more people.
I'm burning the candle on both ends here. Look at this toot timestamp. Please save space for some patience.
Link: https://chaos.social/@firstname.lastname@example.org/109398058883988287 or maybe something else; I admit I am still learning (and some links changed from 3 to 4).
I see new Mastodon instances being set up and already growing, which is testimony to the open source community roots and networks. The resiliency and stability are good indicators in my view.
Seems I’m ready for the technical challenge of an environment swap to clear the decks, though losing multiple friend voices at one time can be a daunting human experience. I can grieve the loss as we’ve done in real world health challenges along with online mental health coping.
For the near term, I’ll search on hash tags which Mastodon supplies on a web column view.