In my exploration of Mastodon something's become clear. The body of people out there who value a non-commercial, self-controlled, decentralized, and a more manually curated web, is much more real than I imagined.
Having spent so much time flowing in the monetized commercial web for the past 15 years, and bitching about it the whole time while in so, I am pleasently surprised to discover that there does indeed seem to be an emerging fork in the marching column of humans in digital civilization where one bend continues on happily looking to big tech and pop-culture platforms to define the limits of digital life - to whatever benefit (and I have to imagine that despite the pitfalls, there is one) -, while another intuitively bends toward a culture that values the efficiency of all those elements I mention above.
I thought Mastodon was on its own merit a refreshing reprieve from ads, but when I follow the links of fellow users, I land at places that are also free of ads -- blogs, papers, lists, and general information sites. Kind of like the early days of the web before advertisers decided to own the web, yet, with the maturity for simplicity, and perhaps most importantly an explicit sensitivity to the dangers of commercialization.
After just a few minutes of clicking around from place to place I could literally feel the fog of a cluttered horrible experience dissipating. I found I could click a link without "sensory anxiety" for pop-ups or challenges to sign up with newsletters. I was...web surfing.
I forgot web surfing was even a thing in feeling. I remember it well enough in commentary, ranting about the good old days and the fall of the web an all that, but truly and apparently forgot what it was like to click from place to place on whim, and to keep on going.
So, yeah, with Mastodon as a kind of apparent gateway to people with the same evident philosophy, because you kind of have to "get it" to even find Mastodon an attractive platform (and notice that I avoid saying "alternative" platform, because it's not a Twitter or a Threads, or an Instagram alternative which are places where blind reach potential is paramount in rating the quality of conversation).
Mastodon doesn't just reintroduce a non-cluttered web experience, it also introduces the value of a human mind behind every decision to link and interact, and to present information. The people who believe that the future rich web is a curated and more manual one, are on to something.
By Dave for Personal Blog.