by KIM BELLARD
Until last week, “mastodon” meant for me only a giant animal that went extinct several thousand years ago (it seems that I did not realize heavy metal band Mastodon). Now, as a result of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, many Twitter users are forced to look at alternatives such as Mastodon social networking site.
We may be witnessing Twitter’s myspaceization, debunked by competition, bad management and bad product decisions. In my usual “There must be a pony here somewhere”Mod, there may be some lessons in the Twitter saga that healthcare may want to pay attention to.
How most know Musk has been a powerful Twitter user and frequent critic for many years now. In March this year, he began talks about its purchase. He quickly made a bold offer, was turned down and then accepted by Twitter’s management, tried to back out of the deal, was sued by Twitter, and finalized the deal late last month.
Then things turned out really rocky.
Mr. Musk tried to appease vulnerable advertisers, only to upset them and others even more when retweeted some misinformation. After the hate speech surged on the site, he promised that, just as he was buying Twitter for the love of free speech, Twitter “cannot become a hell for everyone where you can say anything without any consequences! Then he shocked followers (and Twitter employees) suddenly dismissal of half of the workforce, including many staff moderating content. Some are now I’m asking backthey were told they had been fired “by mistake”.
He then released a balloon charging $ 20 a month for Twitter Blue Verification, argued about it on Twitter with Stephen King, and then went ahead with the $ 7.99 planjust to be punctured by users illustrating the disadvantages. In this writing, plan now seems to be suspendedat least until Tuesday’s mid-term elections.
Advertisers seems to be running awayor at least limiting expenses.
How Wall Street Journal put it down: “Elon Musk’s first week on Twitter Inc. he disregarded many of the management gurus of the advice they had given for decades. ” No wonder many Twitter users look at Mastodon.
Mastodon has been around since 2016, but has only recently seen a big increase in the number of users currently up to million users (as opposed to over 230 million Twitter users). It was founded by Eugen Rochko, who is perhaps the only real employee. He says: “The solution is not a copy of Twitter without Elon Musk. The solution is a different social media paradigm. “
The Mastodon paradigm is “decentralized, open source, not for sale and interoperable.” It is a collection of “servers” (they are supposedly approximately 3,000), each driven by a different person or organization, with its own moderation policy and focus (e.g. geographic, thematic). Instead of investors, it relies on donations, grants, crowdfunding, sponsorship and volunteers.
Users need to select a server to join, some of them (e.g. Social Mastodonlargest) are currently closed or require an invitation. However, users can track users on other servers, although they cannot get as much information about them as users on the same server.
If it looks like Twitter but is more complicated, it’s because it is.
It’s not like Twitter didn’t need to change. He has had problems with content moderation for a long time, especially with attacks on women and people of color. But thar is a couple for social media; just look at facebook. Equally problematic is that it just has never been consistently profitable. The layoffs may have been inevitable as even co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey now he admits that he could have increased the manpower too quickly.
Mr. Musk has faced the challenges and criticism of his actions in his other companies – Tesla, Space X, Starlink – and yet he has managed to make each of them successful, so he can know what he is doing with Twitter. Or he has finally bitten off more than he can chew.
Of course, not everyone who leaves Twitter is likely to end up in Mastodon. They can opt out of social media or make greater use of recognized platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Reddit. Depending on their political views, they can try Social or Tribe Truth.
Or they’re waiting for a new Jack Dorsey venture, Blue skywhich purportedly is a “decentralized social network” that will support a “social internet” without data silos. About 30,000 people joined the waiting list a week after Musk acquired Twitter. The team emphasizes that corporations shouldn’t have your identity online and that users need to be in control of the algorithms that determine what they see.
In research made by Casey Fiesler, an information researcher at the University of Colorado, one participant described online migrations as “watching a mall slowly disappear from the market.” ie there are starting to be fewer shops or shops of lower quality, so fewer people walk and it becomes a vicious circle. Twitter can become a dying mall in your community. Or Myspace (which still exists to my surprise).
When I think about Twitter lessons for healthcare, the first thing that came to mind was what happens when Judy Faulkner relinquishes control of Epic? She is 79 years old, has been in control of Epic from the start, and you have to suspect that her successor will make changes – ones that could threaten (or extend) his dominance.
And I think about how something like 3D printing will revolutionize the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry. When? Synthetic biology it changes our entire healthcare model by knowing how to “program biology? We will see entire healthcare industries collapse.
When I think of Mastodon and BlueSky in particular, I also wonder when / where open source decentralized healthcare solutions will appear – and they will. Maybe they will DAOor maybe a Linux or Wikipedia for health care. The solutions will not necessarily look like the ones we are used to.
The moral of Elon Musk and Twitter about healthcare is: you may think you are essential to your users. You may think you can treat them the way you want. But you are wrong. All you do is give people more reasons to leave when they have a choice.
Mastodons aren’t the only thing that can become extinct.
Kim is the former director of e-marketing on the Blues Master Plan, editor of The Late & Lamented Tincture.ioand now a permanent supplier of THCB.