Greg Morris

Designer, Pretend Photographer, Dad

Calming Down My Feed

Since moving all of my proverbial social media eggs into one basket, it has become obvious that a noisy feed sucks. Don’t get me wrong, there are some gigantic benefits from following everyone from one app, and not doing my usual bounce around several apps to elevate boredom. Unfortunately, I doubt that the best pace for this is because it’s making my experience worse.

Like many users on the service, I use because it is slow, thoughtful and much quieter than most places on the internet. Currently, Mastodon is the opposite of that ethos, it’s fast-paced, constantly updating and in many ways just like Twitter. Which is fine, I love Mastodon, but the very nature of the service is ruining my one soils away from the noise, and unfortunately, it lacks robust filtering and muting options.

Dall -E: illustration of a stressed person with a mobile phone

This is no slight against the service, there has been absolutely no reason for me to need it until now, I’ve never felt the need to mute or even unfollow anyone before. The only options available for me currently is a timeline with all posts, or one without replies. The saving grace is third-party app Gluon, but this doesn’t carry over into using on the web, which I do the majority of the time. To get the best from the environment I am trying to create, I require some filtering or dare I say it, a sorting algorithm.

I get it, that’s never going to happen. The presumption is that implementing machine learning for sorting your feed and prioritising some posts is always bad. When the truth is that for a truly scalable social platform it should be a priority. It doesn’t have to maximise user engagement or any other trap of the attention economy, it just has to quieten down your feed. It really is a problem of scale. I could quite happily follow hundreds of people on Twitter, but couldn’t even think about that kind of number of any other service.

I am thrilled that so many people have left Twitter behind, but the increased engagement with Mastodon means I need to find a way to escape every now and again. For now, I believe I will have to split these two services apart again to make sure I can hide away from the noise some of the time.

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