One of Hawaii’s most well known “geeks” Ryan Ozawa is at it again. This time it’s a new social network that he set up called Masthead.social. It is an open-source social space that is part of the larger Mastodon ecosystem.
Basically Masthead is another Mastodon “Instance” that is a “social network for journalists, muckrakers and media makers (including bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters), scribes and stringers, hacks, newsies, and the news junkies who love them”, according to the site’s “about page”. Basically it is a new Twitter where for 500 characters or less you can post snippets, much like “tweets” called “toots” on this platform.
Viewing the video produced by Ryan above will give you all of the basics.
I joined Masthead, and it is one of three Mastodon “instances” that I belong to, the others being GeekNewsCentral and SDF.org. Frankly up to now I’ve hardly used the first two… and well, with Masthead I’m off to a relative slow start. I think I am only following 3 people at Masthead and about the same amount are following me back. There is a way to link the former two instances up to Masthead and vice-versa, but other than following myself through the “Federated link” I haven’t quite figured out how to bring those two and possibly my Twitter feed into this.
At this time let me tell you a little about Ryan’s online communities that he seems to have led or created all of his life. I’ve been following him from when he was at least a teenager at the time of running a dial-up BBS called “Prophet’s Place”. You remember dial-up? You used to use a modem to connect to a local computer through a slow, analog telephone line. Once connected, you’d join the BBS, read and post messages, exchange email within the system and download software. Other BBS’s were popular at the time, and on several you could also play text based games.
When the internet started to become commercial in the mid to late 1990s, Ryan moved on to college, got married and started a family. Through those years and beyond, he created a few online communities, Hawaii Stories, which was a place for early bloggers to post their stories, and Hawaii Threads, a web-based message board and modern successor to Prophet’s Place. Ryan also led us to social platforms that we all take for granted today. I think I followed his invites to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and a handful of other, less successful places which are largely forgotten like MySpace and Jaiku.
So now I’m there at Masthead. We’ll see whether this online community will be the well intentioned successor to Twitter.