My Own Little Elephant, self-hosting Mastodon – Follow Along

If you really care about your data, you should host it yourself. Despite all of the talk this week about folks liberating their blogging that used to take place on Twitter, everyone just jumped ship over to more servers owned by other people. It’s something that was a little surprising. You’d think that folks who felt burned when services shut down or changed direction wouldn’t just go off and join another free service. Even some podcasters I followed admitted to having 6 Mastodon accounts and 4-5 of them had already shut down in 4 years since joining. Not a good look.

If I’m going to publish, I want to either publish to a box I own / control or pay someone to act as librarian. For example, Flickr is the place where all of my publicly accessible photos are hosted and that’s going on almost 20 years. I’ve paid them $50 a year to keep those images safe but I have local backups and backups on cloud servers I also pay for. Same for my blog. My Twitter archive is great but it’s the only backup of my tweets when Twitter finally dies. 

Mastodon and the server I had joined originally is instance based. Instances come and go. The one I joined, Yesterweb I was going to send them a tip each month to fund operations but I learned that Mastodon will allow you to export a CSV of your posts but you can’t import those posts anywhere else. You can also move servers but all you’re doing is moving your followers, not your posts. I get why this isn’t possible for both administration (content moderation) and server resources but I also think until that gets fleshed out, I’m not entrusting my posts to someone else. I want them to be on a server I pay for. 

For now, I’m using a 3rd party host and paying $4 a month for them to handle all of the updates for me. I hope Mastodon will eventually let me move posts around. I’d like that.

You can follow me or not but the goal is to use Mastodon like I was using, and WithKnown (self hosted) where I post short updates and photos. It’s not meant to augment this blog but to be something entirely different. If you don’t follow, I’ll be adding a link to my Mastodon page on my website under a Micro-Blog link.

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