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Twitter is Dying. Join Us on Mastodon for Lively ICT4D Discussions

By Wayan Vota on November 25, 2022

mastodon ict4d tag

Two years ago, I noted that ICT4D discussions were dead on Twitter. That was very disappointing. The conversations and debates on Twitter from 2008 to around 2014 were instrumental in creating an ICT4D community and culture. However, the site became an echo chamber of marketing posts, mis/disinformation, and downright negativity.

Now the platform’s new owner is giving us a masterclass in how not to run a software or social media company. After laying off, firing, or driving off most of the workers, he’s reinstated banned accounts and gutted any semblance of content moderation. I find it hard to interact on a site in such chaos, though it is interesting to watch the slow-motion train wreck from a safe distance.

Happily, we don’t need to support Twitter with our attention any more. There is an alternative: Mastodon

Join Your Peers on Mastodon

Mastodon is not a centralized service. It’s part of what’s called the Fediverse – a federated set of servers that share data. There is no single entity trying to monetize you, like Twitter, but this also means there are many servers to choose from. It doesn’t matter which server you join. You can see and interact with any other server and the people on it that is part of the federation.

I’m on Mastodon now and it feels refreshing. Gone are the many bots and bombasts that soured my Twitter experience. In their place are the early adopters that make digital development interesting. Here are a few ICT4D thought leaders to follow when you join Mastodon too:

Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive list. It’s just who I could find from my existing Twitter following that are also on Mastodon and speaking about digital development. Please add others in the comments below – even yourself! Gratuitous self-promotion in this case is welcomed and encouraged.

Let’s Chat on Friday at 17:00 GMT

Please join us for a lively ICT4D chat today, Friday at 17-18:00 GMT – that’s noon-1pm Eastern time or this time in your city. I’d love to see new discourses and debates on today’s topics of concern. Here’s a few ideas to start the conversation:

  • Who should we follow on Mastodon?
  • What’s your top ICT4D concern this year?
  • Where do you see tech innovation happening in 2023?
  • When can we claim digital development success?
  • How can we use this new platform to improve lives globally?

We can always expand the debate to include artificial intelligence, blockchain, data, drones, GIS, IoT, cybersecurity, and any other technology that we can use (or misuse) to accelerate social and economic advancement.

No African or South American Servers?

One thing that I did notice was a complete lack of servers in Africa and South America, and the only ones in Oceania are in Australia and New Zealand. Hence my first question on Mastodon: Does that matter for #ICT4D?

Since this is a federation of servers, specific locations feel arbitrary. Any issue with one server can be routed around by people and data. However, there is still a sense of ownership, local knowledge and skills gain that can come from deploying technology infrastructure near one’s physical location.

I would not want the Mastodon platform to become yet another digital divide.

Filed Under: Thought Leadership
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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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6 Comments to “Twitter is Dying. Join Us on Mastodon for Lively ICT4D Discussions”

  1. Matt says:

    Hot take: this Mastodon moment is akin to a more left wing friendly Parlor moment, albeit much more technically interesting. However, it’s initial UX is overcomplicated and won’t catch on and Twitter isn’t going to die.

  2. Peko Raznatovic says:

    As an ICT4D researcher, I’m always on lookout for a good discussion on the topic. This is why I’m excited to join mastodon as https://mastodon.online/@peko

    Looking forward to meeting y’all on Mastodon!

  3. Debirdify was a great help – it finds folks you follow on Twitter who are also on Mastodon. https://pruvisto.org/debirdify/

    I’m https://hci.social/@jcdonner over there. Happy to keep chatting about ICT4D and Digital Development

  4. Ict have become so popular platform which help young people to use it. Many people are interested on it. I just wanted to congratulate everyone who’s interested on this platform. M the chairman of Rhema compassion Organization which help the streets children and the vulnerable families in Kenya. Please If you have anything please support what m doing for the society. Rhemacompassion.org the website.

  5. Rory Crew says:

    CALP Network support humanitarian cash transfer programming, and I advise members on their data and digital strategy

    Find me on Mastadon here https://mastodon.social/@rorycrew

    Looking forward to de-birding!