Two observations about Mastodon in early 2023

Tonight, not for the first time, I learned about a “breaking news” item from Mastodon. That’s been happening more often over the past few weeks, whereas this time last year I’d have gotten this kind of thing via Twitter first.

This seems significant to me because Mastodon is making the leap from “a small group of people talking about the service itself a lot” to “several of my friends are here and there’s some community” to “a news source” rather quickly. It took Twitter a long time to cross that chasm. And it’s one of the things that made Twitter valuable, if also a primary source of doom scrolling.

This doesn’t mean Mastodon is a drop-in replacement for Twitter. But. Mastodon, and the larger “Fediverse,” seem to be gaining critical mass beyond just numbers but also in the way it’s used.

The other observation is providers like Linode and Digital Ocean offering quickstarts for Mastodon hosting.

That’s good, it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not the kind of “batteries included” offering that’s going to really cause self-hosted Mastodon to take off. Deploying a service is not the hard part. Maintaining the service, the “day two” operations, is what you have to worry about.

It’s nice to have a helping hand to launch a service, but there’s a reason why I’m not managing my own email or WordPress installs any longer. I don’t have to worry about updates and upgrades from the OS to the web server, etc. all the way up to the application.

I’m wondering how long until Masto.Host comes back online for new sign-ups or other players start getting into the fully hosted Mastodon business. I’ll have a lot more confidence in the long-term prospects of Mastodon if there are more and better options on that front. Admittedly I’m really hoping that a reliable provider makes this come true sooner than later, as I keep getting the impulse to stand up my own host and know the headaches that await. (And fun, too, but fun that comes with substantial Yak Shaving.)

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