Regarding social media, web presence, and dumpster fires

November 23, 2022

So, some rich sociopath bought Twitter and seems hell-bent on destroying it.

I haven't used Twitter in years, except to occasionally check the status of a misbehaving SaaS. So, Twitter's implosion doesn't really bother me. It did prompt me to log back into my Mastodon account and start using it actively. So in that sense, Twitter's implosion has affected me.

Tons of other people have migrated to the Fediverse as a direct result of the Twitter dumpster fire. And by tons, I mean hundreds of thousands. I've never seen Mastodon so active. It's causing no end of strain and hardship for Mastodon server administrators. However, it also is having an effect that I've wanted for years - decentralization of social networks is expanding into the mainstream.

The last time I saw anything like this was when Google decided to murder Google+. G+ had been host to a huge and active tabletop role-playing game community, and when the service died, that community scrambled to find a replacement. Back then, the community seemed to divide between just blogging, using Facebook, and using MeWe. The latter two are centralized services, but the first was decentralized, and I was happy to see more people blogging.

Now, with the mass adoption of Mastodon, it seems the needle is moving even futher into decentralization. At least, this is true for the TTRPG community. I love this. I've been blogging since the early 2000s... maybe since the late 90s, if you count sporadic updates to a static home page.

Hopefully this is a trend and not just a one-off event.

Something that still needs to be addressed, though, is the discovery side of things. Modern search engines like Google and Bing are getting worse and worse at actually finding small websites that don't care about SEO. Why should personal websites care about SEO, anyway? Their focus should be on their own identity. Discovery should be a community problem, rather than an individual's. My own contribution to this is a web directory called RPGGen. Given how enormous the tabletop role-playing game web community has gotten, maybe we need a dedicated search engine that only crawls role-playing game sites. That would be an interesting project.