Okay despite being a tech policy "expert" I am actually not very tech savvy. I was pretty confused when I first started getting myself set up on #mastodon, but i figured it out pretty quickly (with some help from friends!) and you can too. Here's the steps I took if helpful🧵
First, our brains our so trained to think of social media in a centralized way, so some of the terminology around #Mastodon can feel a little confusing. But really it's pretty simple. Think of it like email. Choose an address on a provider (server) you trust, or host your own
I kind of agonized a bit over choosing a server. I thought about hosting my own on a domain that I own like evangreer.org (this gives you the most independence and control, and means you aren't relying on someone else's server or trusting some admin with your DMs)
I'm planning to eventually set up my own instance and use that, but for now I ended up joining mastodon.online, a server set up by some of the developers that created #mastodon. You can see a list of mastodon servers here: joinmastodon.org/servers
Here's the thing: it doesn't really matter that much. Pick one of the more popular servers, or host your own, and get going. You can change to a different server (and thus change your "username" and take your followers with you) later. So don't stress about it too much.
Once you join a server and create an account, you can set up your profile. Pretty easy to copy over more or less whatever you have in your Twitter bio. You can download the iOS or desktop app or just use it in the browser, like Twitter
Okay, now you're set up but ... you're just shouting into the void, right?

Fortunately, some helpful folks have made tools that make it easy to find your Twitter followers in the #fediverse (the network of #mastodon servers.)
I used these two:

#Debirdify -- pruvisto.org/debirdify/

#Fedifinder -- fedifinder.glitch.me

They both pretty much work the same way. Authorize with Twitter, they find your followers who have fediverse addresses in their bio, pinned tweet, etc.
Here's the clutch thing that I almost missed cuz ADD and skimming the instructions:


Then you go back to your #mastodon account (I did it in the browser), and upload the CSV to automatically follow all those accounts (thus alerting them you're on Mastodon so they can follow you back)

Make sure it's on "merge" instead of "overwrite."
Boom! Now change your Twitter display name to tell ppl yr on #mastodon, do a pinned tweet with your mastodon address (which will look something like this @evangreer@mastodon.online) and link to yourself (usually servername dot whatever slash @ username) mastodon.online/@evangreer
I know lots of other folks have done threads like this / there are great guides out there, but figured I'd share my personal experience. Feel free to hmu if you wanna chat about it or have questions and I'll try to respond.
I've said this elsewhere, but just to say it again: #mastodon is not a utopia! The admin running the server you're on has just as much control over your account as Elon Musk has over your account here on Twitter. In some cases even more!
One specific thing is that means DMs aren't really private on #mastodon, so just keep that in mind. (Fortunately, most servers have a prominent warning for users so they know this, which is great!) And also DMs on twitter still aren't encrypted, more here: makedmssafe.com
But yeah, it's pretty rad that so many people are looking for alternatives to Twitter and other larger more centralized platforms. I'm excited to check out the #fediverse. Also closely watching cool projects like @bluesky and @matrixdotorg. Heck let's make lotsa signal groups too
I'm not currently planning to leave Twitter. I'm always of the mind that activists need to use every tool available to us. But i'm also seeing this as a wake-up call moment. A reminder we just CANNOT depend on large for-profit platforms to organize, build audiences, etc
I wrote about the bigger picture of all this here if you're interested! time.com/6228045/elon-m…

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More from @evan_greer

Nov 8
🧵Okay it's #ElectionDay (go vote! voting is a valid harm reduction strategy.)

I know this birdsite is going to hell in a handbasket, but while we're all still here, I put together a THREAD on what the midterms will likely mean for tech policy fights that impact human rights.
This is going to be a bit of a ruthless analysis of how I see the election results impacting hot button tech policy issues like Section 230, content moderation, privacy legislation, the FTC and FCC, antitrust and Big Tech accountability, etc.
I'm not gonna spend as much time explaining the substance of each issue, more just how the political dynamics around them are likely to shift depending on the makeup of the House and Senate. But I'll try to link to relevant campaigns / news coverage to dive deeper.
Read 54 tweets
Nov 7
Honestly mad respect to @elonmusk for making the new Twitter TOS so much more transparent, clearly readable, and easy to understand Image
I was really skeptical of his leadership but if it's gonna be straightforward and transparent like this then I'm feeling a lot more optimistic time.com/6228045/elon-m…
If I get banned for this one catch me on mastodon shortly
Read 4 tweets
Oct 26
not today, satan
nightmare shit
"we heard that no one likes doing their Toggl so we're replacing it with CONSTANTLY SCANNING YOUR FACE AT ALL TIMES"
Read 5 tweets
Sep 30
I can't believe this is actually a thing I have to tweet, but the @TrevorProject, who are supposed to help queer and trans kids, have signed school surveillance software company Gaggle (notorious for outing LGBTQ+ children to school administrators) up to be a corporate partner.
What. The. Actual. Fuck? @TrevorProject you need to immediately cut ties with Gaggle, and apologize to the queer and trans youth who you are supposed to serve. Boosting school surveillance is the OPPOSITE of what any organization supporting LGBTQ+ youth should be doing right now
In states like Texas, law enforcement could easily direct a school district to use Gaggle to monitor student communications for LGBTQ+ or trans related content and then use that to investigate and prosecute families who are just trying to love their kids. Do better @TrevorProject
Read 11 tweets
Sep 29
Hi, I'm director of @fightfortheftr, a working musician, & helped organize this letter along with my colleague @liaholland (also a writer and longtime music industry worker.) You may disagree with us & the 300+ authors who signed but calling us "tech astroturf" is an absurd lie
Do a quick news search for "Fight for the Future." We are literally leading the fight against Big Tech monopoly power and abuse. We've helped organize some of the largest efforts in support of antitrust and privacy. We are actively fighting AGAINST actual "tech astroturf" groups.
While it's amusing to be called a "tech shill" and an "anti-tech luddite" at the same time, let's focus on the actual facts. You claim that our letter conflates the activities of the nonprofit @internetarchive with "the important work of real public libraries."
Read 5 tweets
Aug 3
Huge yikes in this story about school surveillance: schools sent teens home with chrome books pre-loaded with Gaggle spyware. Teens plugged their phones into their laptops to charge them. Gaggle sent administrators alerts when teens texted each other nudes wired.com/story/student-…
Teens were texting on their phones assuming the conversations were private. Meanwhile their school was monitoring everything they were doing on their personal devices. Instead of uninstalling the dangerous spyware, the school told kids to stop charging their phones off laptops 🤦‍♀️
I just can't with this. We're failing our kids.

13% of students said they knew an LGBTQ+ peer who had been outed as a result of student-monitoring software.

Crucial, harrowing, nauseating reporting from @lapiaenrose
Read 9 tweets

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