Mastodon So White

This is longer than a standard toot by about 12X. Since it is originating from WordPress I have no idea what it will look like on Mastodon clients so … sorry, I guess? Using excerpt in the template gives you “Show More” and strips all links so f it.

I acknowledge there is a debate about quote tweets in Mastodon. I’m too dumb to really understand the arguments for or against, and I don’t know if what I’m doing here is effectively the same. So, if you don’t like it – I’m dumb, not a dick.

That said.

This morning, I saw this toot boosted by someone I follow. There is a thread and much discussion but the first sentence of the first toot is this:
“TLDR: Mastodon is very white, male, status quo, global north, and designed in a way to limit its potential for use in social movements.”

I don’t know Naunihal at all. His experience is his experience, and mine does not negate his. However, I do find this statement perplexing. I mean, I am white, male, global north and the status quo is pretty friendly to me, sure. My interpretation of his points is that he thinks Mastodon is a pretty closed-loop, echo-chambering system. He finds discovery of topics and people difficult. He refers to this episode of On the Media (which I ain’t planning on listening to) with one Mastodon community member basically as canonical of the Mastodon mindset against virality and for niche interests. That is his experience.

Here is mine, cis white male middle-aged uppper-middle-class dude that I am. I joined Mastodon two months ago really out of an anti-Twitter impulse with no real plans. I barely used it until the holiday break. Before late December, I was following fewer than 10 accounts (and two were the same guy.) Over the break, I played with it more.

I did not dump much effort into replicating my network. I followed a few people I found and as I tooted here:
“Early in the Mastodon journey. I am bootstrapping my experience by following a few interesting people and hoping like hell they @ reply and boost other interesting people. I don’t have the energy to hunt the Mastodon world for people I already know.”
That is literally what I did. As I saw boosts and @ replies I would follow. In some places they were people I already know and recognized. In some cases they were completely new strangers that I knew only by the content of their toots. The network built.

Around new years I found this article on Techdirt with some migration tools. I used Movetodon to find Mastodon accounts of people I followed on Twitter one single time. I went through FollowGraph a few times, which shows the Mastodon accounts most commonly followed by the people you follow. I did this multiple times but quickly got into diminishing returns as the top of the list became filled with well known personalities in whom I am not interested. All of this was around New Years, and I haven’t touched any other tools. I have no plans to touch any again.

Given what Naunihal thinks, I should have a pretty white bread tech bro feed. I scrolled down enough Tusky pages to see around 75 accounts and did a rough headcount. Take none of this to the bank, it’s an estimation of a sample.

Roughly 1/3 were institutional type accounts or had no discernible demography. Roughly 1/3 were male and 1/3 female. A number of these accounts are strangers to me. Of the ones with identifiable characteristics, about 40% were non-white and about 10% were trans, nonbinary or flew some sort of non cis-het flag. The interesting thing about this is at no point did I every make any effort to find BIPOC people to follow, or trans people or anything. I looked for my friends and then let it sort from there, following anyone that ran across my radar and posted interesting stuff.

Earlier today I was having a conversation about using Zigbee on Home Assistant with @TprevoJr and  . I did not know either of these people before yesterday. We were organized around the #homeassistant tag and started chatting about our setups. From what I can glean from profiles, T is an African American man and Emily is a trans woman. We are just three strangers who now mutually follow each other nerding out about home automation. I will share what I can with them and hope to learn what I can from them.

This seems to be what Naunihal is saying doesn’t happen, or at least hasn’t happened for him. Again, I haven’t done anything but seed some basic data and watch the content flow by. Everything else is organic. My experience is quite different than his and frankly far better than I expected. indicated to me early that he figured that Mastodon would make me “a cranky mo’ fo’ ” (verbatim quote), which knowing me as he does was a reasonable prediction. Hell, it was my prediction as well. I hated the day 0 experience, especially having to pick an instance as the first thing you do when the reasons for the decision are kind of impenetrable. I picked an LGBTQ+ friendly one because in my experience they throw the best parties. Had I had Paul Stamatiou’s Mastodon Primer available back then I would have been much less grumpy about even that decision.

My summation is that the Mastodon experience, early as I am in it, is more inclusive, more positive and more fun that I would have predicted and absolutely better than Twitter ever was for me – even in the early days. It remains to be seen if this is a side-effect of the relatively low users compared to other sites or a permanent and durable aspect of this medium. I’m prepared for the former, hoping for the latter and riding it out either way.

Feel free to follow me at for my main account. This blog/podcast is followable via @dave as long as the WordPress ActivityHub plugin stays operational. Laissez les bon temps rouler.

#mastodon #dayZeroSucks

I’ll Tumblr For You


I created a Tumblr account today. I didn’t particularly want a Tumblr account, but I needed one to ask Matt Fraction a question on his blog, which is a Tumblr. Since I’ve got one now, why not hook it to the POSSE setup and have this blog push to it (which is exactly the opposite of what Fraction and many others do; I’m my own dude.)

With any luck this will push over there, and then I will never think about the fact that I have a Tumblr again.


Bitchin' Rest Face

For some reason that I don’t understand, I went from never experiencing the term “resting bitch face” to seeing it dozens of times a day on social media in, like, a week. I can’t speak to it, but here is a picture of my “bitchin’ rest face.”

New Swimming Routine

New Swimming Routine

I started swimming on July 1st. In those 21 days, I've swam 12 days with 2 of those getting shortened by thunderstorms. That gives me 10 full sessions and 2 shortened against my will.

Across all that, I've swam just over 9.5 kilometers. Today, I did the fastest time yet, swimming 21 laps (1.05 Km) in 37 minutes. I knew it felt pretty good when I was doing it, but it was a full 2 minutes shorter than what I did on Friday.

So far so good with all this. Now my main goal is to just keep pace with the 70 year olds in the next lane.

.   #fb   #blog?

via Google+

Bootstrapping a Podcast Economy with Flattr

Bootstrapping a Podcast Economy with Flattr

Very short version: I think Flattr has the possibility of enabling a reasonable podcast economy. If enough people use it, podcasters will be able to generate an income with minimal overhead. If I pointed you here from an email, it is because I want to give you money.

Slightly longer background:

If you are unfamiliar with +Flattr , it is a very low friction microdonation system. The brilliant thing they did was to separate out the cash decision from the payment decision. Unlike most where you have to decide whether to pay $0.03 vs $0.05, that decision has a mental transaction cost. With Flattr, you allocate a pool of money to pay each month then you "Flattr" which is basically the same thing as a Digg, a Facebook like or a +1. The things you like in a month, that pool of money is spread equally across all of those. Brilliant.

I have had Flattr on my blog/podcast for a few years. It has been an interesting experiment and worth doing, but not a huge revenue producer for me. To this date, the using of Flattr was a niche, early adopter thing. My hope – and the reason for my push for advocacy – is that this spreads out into a more widely adopted platform.

In a world where this was as common as, say, Digg was at its height then there would be a reasonable amount of money flowing in a roughly meritocratic manner. The more listeners you have, in general the more money that should flow towards you. The money that comes into podcasting now is distributed quite bi-modally. The top 5% makes livable money from and Legal Zoom et al, the bottom 95% makes little or nothing. I've been lucky enough to sell t-shirts and make a little from sponsorships via the very kind folks at Backbeat Media. Over the course of this podcast, I am probably close to break even on hosting, equipment and various expenses. That probably puts me in the top 20 percentile of podcasters because most people pay expenses and earn nothing.

My pledge is that I will flattr every episode of every podcast in my subscription list that has it enabled. If you run off of WordPress, you can install the Flattr plugin and go to town. Make sure you check the option to put payment information in your RSS/Atom feed and you are good to go. I'm still looking for auto-flattring solutions, but for now I'm manually clicking the button on the site of every pocaster that has it on their site. The trickle has begun, I hope to see a wider adoption over time. If the amount climbs enough, I will increase the amount of money I give.

My appeal is two-fold. If you are a podcast listener and a fan, sign up for an account. The site is in Euros, that is no impediment to Americans. The money will auto-convert from your credit card. All of the podcasters that you listen to, flattr their episodes either automatically via a podcatcher or manually.

If you are a podcaster, create a Flattr account and let people give you money. If you run WordPress it is super easy, others might be slightly more work but nothing is hard to do. If you have technical questions, I volunteer to be your tech support. Be patient, don't expect anything huge at first but I can guarantee nothing about this will suck money away from you. At worst, you wasted a few minutes. At best, you might find yourself paying your hosting or more with the money that flows in.

Because this is a "boil the ocean" situation, the early going has been and is tough. It makes little sense to sign up as a listener when there is nothing to flattr. As a creator, it makes little sense to invest in a platform with few users. Let's cut through that, and push on both fronts simultaneously with a mutual leap of faith. Neither group has much to lose, so let's all just do it. I'm doing both ends myself, so I'm as invested as I can be. +Dan Benjamin of does it for all their shows, the biggest network adopter I know of at this point. As Rage Against the Machine sings: "It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?"

This is already long, in a future post I'll talk about auto-flattr solutions for podcast listeners.

For now, I urge everyone to give this a try. You click like, +1 and similar things all day every day. You understand the paradigm, let's do it in a system where your money matches your attention.

#podcasteconomy #blog #flattr

Flattr – Social microdonations
attached image

via Google+

Podcast Yearly Statistics

Podcast Yearly Statistics

I was curious about these stats because of the #dogdaysofpodcasting  event and my recent return to a regular publishing schedule. Here are the number of shows I have published broken down by year:

2004:   64  (Started in August)
2005:   85  (First full year)
2006:   46
2007:   24
2008:   15
2009:   11
2010:   10
2011:    2 
2012:    5
2013:    41

What you can see from this is that in less than nine months of 2013, I have published more episodes than the previous four years, and I will soon surpass the previous five years. 

Admittedly, there are different scopes at play. 2010 and earlier tended to be longer episodes with music and more production. 2011 and later tend to be shows recorded in my car. There's a bit of an apple and orange situation, but I am pleased to be more prolific. It definitely sucked when I went to publish and episode and realize it had been six months since the previous one. 

Thanks +Kreg Steppe for giving me the kick in the butt I needed to get back on track!

#blog #fb

via Google+

Congratulations to  long time friend of EGC  + PJ Cabrera  and his lovely bride + Kate Mangan…

Congratulations to  long time friend of EGC +PJ Cabrera and his lovely bride +Kate Mangan on their wedding! We watched the live stream in our living room and then put the baby in the bathtub.


via Google+

First Week With Locket Update

First Week With Locket Update

I installed +Locket a week ago Thursday after hearing about it on +All About Android. I didn't have any fancy lock screen or any widgets, just HTC default so I lost nothing that way. I found it not terribly intrusive, not terribly lucrative, the ads so far not terribly in my wheelhouse. I tried to interact with one ad (Kick-Ass 2 trailer) but YouTube crapped out in the middle , which is not Locket's fault.

Summary from just over 7 days of use:

Money earned: $1.18
Affilates signed up: 0
Ads interacted: 1

At this rate, it would be early October before I'd be eligible for a cashout. I was actually thinking I'd be closer to $2 by now, but this is the difference between the turtle and the snail. I was under no illusions this would be highly lucrative. I'll probably keep going at least until I reach $10 and maybe forever.  We shall see.


Locket: Signup
attached image

via Google+

The Dog Days of Podcasting

The Dog Days of Podcasting

I am participating in The Dog Days of Podcasting this year, which is a project organized by my friend +Kreg Steppe. The deal is that you podcast every day from July 30th to August 30th. That's 31 podcasts in a row, which I'm not sure I've ever done even when I was cranking in the early days. Obviously, these are not all going to be full blown affairs. My plan is for the bulk of these to be 5ish minute episodes. I am shooting for a series within the series where I will discuss my history in comic book and science fiction fandom. These will be interspersed with other episodes. It won't be orderly but with any luck, it will be daily.

The first one is posted a few minutes ago. Away we go!

Dog Days of Podcasting
attached image

via Google+

Brand Disengagement

Brand Disengagement

I hate this notion of "brand engagement." Sure they make cute commercials and may competently use social media but Old Spice exists to sell me deodorant. I'll buy or not but I don't want to be your friend.

I specifically don't want the emo overhead of engagement with the mundane products in my life. Sell me shit and then walk away. It's treated in nerd circles that brand engagement is the holy grail but I've decided I don't like it and don't want it.


via Google+

I’ve had discussions with + Daniel Conover  over the relative merits of a tightly controlled…

I've had discussions with +Daniel Conover over the relative merits of a tightly controlled taxonomy vs. a non-controlled "folksonomy." My balance tended to be more heavily weighted to the latter than Dan's in general. I often favor a hybrid approach where systems accept any kind of tag but when needed a backend authority promotes some of those tags into a controlled taxonomy.

You know what has really changed my mind? Digitizing my CD collection. It is amazing what complete bullshit the data that comes in from CDDB is. I mean, sure it is usually accurate as to the titles of the songs and the name of the artist (but not 100% of the time.) In the other stuff thought, it is crap. Try getting the metadata for both discs of any two disc CD. There is no guarantee the artist name is even the same, much less the title of the disc. Capitalization, use of numbers, ampersands vs "and" and many stylistic bits vary wildly.

As much as I value user entered data, I do the manual editing of every single CD just to clean up the crap. Over and over I say "CDDB is a commercial entity. Can't Sony/Gracenote pay someone to clean this up this embarrassing mess?"

#blog #cddb

via Google+

When Pricing Doesn’t Make Sense I listened to + Aisha Tyler  ‘s interview with Saul Willi…

When Pricing Doesn't Make Sense

I listened to +Aisha Tyler 's interview with Saul Williams. I am not familiar with him and was interested in his music, so I  looked some up on Amazon. That's when I saw this gem:  his eponymous album is $9.99 in the MP3 store. That's not atypical, so no biggie. However, the physical CD is $7.99. That's also not the weirdest thing in the world to have the physical good a little cheaper than the digital. I see it in the Kindle store with regularity and while weird and annoying, isn't earth shattering.

Where it gets really weird is with the addition of Amazon's AutoRip feature. If I buy the above CD, I'll automatically get the MP3 versions. By paying the lower price, I get both products. It's cheaper for me to buy the physical CD, get the free Prime shipping and have it sent to me, have Amazon box it up and ship it to me where I throw it away or give it to Goodwill without opening it than it is to buy the MP3s. That's when life doesn't make sense. 

Amazon will automatically lower the prices of Kindle books if it detects them cheaper at a competing store. Why can't it do the same thing for itself? I don't want the physical CD so why force me to have you send it to me to get the better pricing? Amazon is definitely not making more money that way.


girl on guy 67: saul williams | girl on guy
attached image

via Google+

My G+ Metastasis System Described Short Version: I have cobbled together a rickety system to…

My G+ Metastasis System Described

Short Version: I have cobbled together a rickety system to originate content in G+ and have it appear in Twitter, Facebook and/or my blog – all controlled by hashtags.

Very Long Version:

I've grown weary of the fragrmentation of my social media existence. I've been looking for a way to have one single point of entry for my content. My original idea was to post everything to my blog in a special "microblog" category and have things push from there. The holdup is that G+ is not only hard to write to but apparently the SMS posting loophole has been closed:!category-topic/google-plus-discuss/mobile/HxlC9BnrHiw

I opted to start with the +Mike Elgan sharing system as described here:

I'm using a large chunk of that for my system, so Mike gets the bulk of the credit for this. The key point there is the steps that use Pluss Feed Proxy for G+:

then piped through Feedburner. (I'm experimenting with not laundering through Feeburner and using the Pluss Atom feed directly.) Once that is done, an RSS feed (or Atom) exists of all your Google+ posts. Given that, there are a lot of things that can happen. Mike Elgan has ManageFlitter as the posting system, which I set up. I also have now set up basically the same thing using only IFTTT rules, all driven by hash tags.

If the post contains #twt, then tweet it:

If the post contains #fb, then post to Facebook:

If the post contains #blog, then post to my blog:

Future Work:

The thing I like least about this is the way the title in the Atom or RSS feed comes from the G+ post. I'd like to have it truncuate at the newline if the post begins with a short paragraph, rather than just run on until it runs out of characters. The Pluss Feed Proxy server code is open source. I'm considering getting my own copy, making that change and running my own instance. I think I'd rather submit a patch and have that go into the server that is already there.

As mentioned above, I'm trying this with and without Feedburner in the middle. Mike Elgan cites the cleanup of the feed as the reason to use it. It does also add a lot of latency and one more link in this chain. Since the whole thing is a brittle Rube Goldberg machine, every one of those you can eliminate is one fewer place for it to break. 

For now, I'm going to run with this a while and see how it works. This will be a sizable post on the blog by the time it pushes there, and too long for Facebook to get the whole thing. It will be an interesting experiment just to see the different levels of truncation and how everything handles it. 

I'm interested in any feedback people have. If you use this, or improve it, let me know your experience. I got it from Mike and made some twists, so let me know what twists you make, please.

Elgan: How I publish from Google+
attached image

via Google+