Prediction: Mastodon will likely outlast Twitter.

Historically, decentralized, open-source platforms and protocols with any adoption run forever, even if they rarely reach the popularity or cultural relevance of centralized platforms.

It seems likely to me that when Twitter eventually shuts down, people will still be running Mastodon instances.

Did you know Diaspora has 328 active nodes and 17k users? Hell, there are 3,652 active FidoNet nodes, and that started in 1984!

So... am I wrong?

TO BE CLEAR, I'm not saying that Mastodon will have any impact on Twitter whatsoever.

The idea of a social network "beating" another social network is ridiculous.

@andybaio Honestly? Wouldn't mind if it doesn't kill Twitter. Firstly it wont, and moreover people here are nicer than there. So it's cool if it would stay like this.

@andybaio Hmm, I don't know about that last sentence. MySpace? Friendster? Diaspora? Ning?

@clee Myspace, Friendster, and Ning were all centralized and dead. Diaspora is decentralized and still around.

@andybaio I haven't heard anything about Diaspora in years, so that's surprising to me, but good on them! I guess my point is, centralized social networks can certainly die.

@clee Right, that's exactly what I'm saying. Centralized social networks all die eventually, and decentralized networks rarely do.

@andybaio I'm agreeing with you very hard right now.

@andybaio diaspora is also full of dirty commies so it's a lost cause anyway

@andybaio but we've seen that happen with IG stories and Snapchat. Though still early days with Twitter/Mastodon.

@andybaio Twitter has its place but I don't consider it to be very "social."

@andybaio Probably right, given Twitter's constraints on evolution. Facebook is more likely to respond and innovate.

@andybaio I'm confused. You're saying that social media are not masked Mexican wrestlers?

That explains why that Santo guy is so confused when I tell him about my lunch and show him pictures of cheese.

@andybaio I'm not sure it's "ridiculous" since it's clearly happened in meaningful ways several times, buuuut "beating another" doesn't have to be the only mode of success :)

@andybaio It's not that Mastodon will cause Twitter's demise, but Mastodon may survive if Twitter implodes.

@andybaio But we can't write a story without someone being a WINNAR!

@andybaio My new analogy is a bit like ~ What if Tumblr and Twitter had a baby. The fact that it looks like "TweetDeck" is pretty hilarious to me though. It's a bit like the experience of IM in a video game meets interactive tagging.

@andybaio Mastodon is also younger than Twitter? but built into Mastodon is the ability for bits of the culture to splinter off and form new instances, and for vestigial cultures to wither off invisibly. Twitter is encumbered by its insistence that all of these cultures share a common center.

@andybaio You are not wrong, though I think most of the chatter (however inane) about Mastodon: Twitter Killer Or Flash In The Pan? isn't really engaging with that question. For folks orienting Mastodon as the latest entrant in an all-or-nothing corporate tech rivalry, "it's got basic legs and people will keep using it because it's nice" isn't one of the narrative paths on the table.

@andybaio I mean, shit, email is enormously successful and has a tremendous installed user base and is the least sexy thing in the world that nobody is ever going to put up against a newer tech as a narrative combatant. When was the last time email was in its own right even any sort of news? Launch of Gmail? Eventually it's just fish saying "what's water", just a band that's perfectly good and never breaks up but never hits the top 40 charts.

@joshmillard @andybaio email cyclically gets press as "the next big thing that's always been here," most recently in the form of newsletters and before that political fundraising.

@joshmillard Agreed. The tech press is all about the zero-sum game. Makes for a better story.

@andybaio @joshmillard this is the real story about mastodon, not the false competition between Twitter and mastodon

@jfm @andybaio @joshmillard There's a lovely gopher plugin for Firefox called Overbite that is still being actively developed.

@andybaio - agree. I continue to think of Mastodon as prettier IRC. (Not apples=apples.)

@andybaio Counterpoint: Technically, CompuServe still exists, too.

@ericblade Ehhhh, not really. The moment a community platform shuts off signups or goes read-only, it's officially closed.

@kitredgrave @andybaio prediction: GNU social will outlast Mastodon because its not already extinct.

@andybaio corollary : robotic ships will be delivering iphones on acidified seas long after humans are extinct

@andybaio It's going to be interesting to see how multi-user vs. single-user instances grow... ultimately I think it makes more sense for every instance to be single-user??

@andybaio wow, fidonet still exists, now I have not been expecting that

@andybaio the continued existence of IRC would seem to prove you right.

The continued existence of Usenet might make you double-right.

@kodo dudes in my dorm in college would definitely agree with you. :joy:

@phildini @andybaio XMPP makes him right. I still run a server even though the protocol is over-complicated and *really* dead compared to IRC.

@mulander xmpp is actually a really good technology, although i use matrix now-a-days since it seems like xmpp++

@andybaio yeah, I remember writing about Bitcoin for the first time, and realising that I was hitting the same failure of my own imagination -- I could not imagine them succeeding with the ambition levels of some people involved, but at the same time I couldn't actually define what "failure" would look like, because I couldn't imagine absolute extinction

@mala I think the only reason bitcoin sprung back in price is because it's impossible to kill and people were starting to realize that

@kodo well, never say *impossible* but certainly quite hard to imagine/improbable. Again, that doesn't mean that the end isn't just 11000 hardcore bitcoin fans having their annual conference in Boise, Idaho. But it's not /absolute disappearence/. Plus things sometimes kick off again (*cough* *cough* GNU Social)

@mala even if that happens it's still working flawlessly. I think there is this silicon valley false idea that unless you have 'users' you haven't 'made it'

@andybaio My prediction is that the company will get bought and Twitter will be absorbed into another service, so I don't think there will be a point when it "shuts down".

@andybaio they are even unkillable. The whole user-internet on a deep level is run on emails, 90's RFC and rotten protocols. How many imap, smtp? Since when is it the same? Even Facebook tried to kill it and deeply failed.

@andybaio you are totally right but you didn't talked about the most obvious one.
Mails (smtp) is by far the most popular social federated network with thousands instances.
#mastodon still lack other implementations to be more resilient.

@andybaio There's a distance between existing and surviving. How active are the diaspora users? How active are the fidonet users?

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