Mastodon is a great platform for polls

I asked people to mark one or more additional networks they use besides Mastodon and to my great suprise, LinkedIn came out on top.

I also asked on LinkedIn, but I will let this poll run for a week, since LinkedIn is slow to show posts through their algorithm. Also, engagement in polls is usually low, since voting is not anonymous. I can see who voted for what.

As always, people complain when their personal choice is not among the four options I chose. Also, Bluesky does not have polls yet, Threads does, but I am not touch anything Meta with a 10 ft pole. And Twitter? Yeah, right.

You don’t own your data on Mastodon

As I have learned last week, you don’t really own your data on Mastodon. It can just disappear overnight. And even if you made a daily backup, that would be incomplete, and you cannot import all of it.

The main reason for this deficiency is identity. My identity changed a couple of times from to to to Many people will never change their identity, but when they do they leave something behind.

Everything you post, contains the name of your server (in Fediverse parlance: instance). Example: If that server goes out of business, all links to this post will 404. You can backup the post, but you don’t own the URL. Should the server just disappear or ban you, it’s gone.

Some of your data is portable when you move to a different server. You can see those CSV files: Follows, Lists, Blocks, Mutes, Domain Blocks and Bookmarks. If you back them up in time, you will be able to upload them to a new home.

Since identity is tied to a server, it needs to be updated when you move from one server to another. Mastodon does that for you. You can tell the two servers to move your followers. This looks like magic. Your old accounts get marked as moved and then your followers will change their follow list, completely automatic.

This magic is also dangerous, because it alters data en masse, data that you do not own. Example: I blocked one instance, as per my export. When you do this, your server tells the other server to remove you from the follow list of all people on the other server. There is no undo.

As I have shown you last week, it is quite easy to strike an instance because you select this nuclear option on an innocent looking menu on a single person entry. Once you do this, you will lose a part of your data with no backup.

You learn from your mistakes. I have learned my data is not safe in Mastodon. Last week I lost around 900 followers on which is the largest instance on Mastodon. I have exactly one blocked person on this server:

I cannot really remember why I blocked this account, but the handle suggests it was one of the spammers that have plagued this server. I don’t really understand why I have been removed from all my followers on, but a few of them have found I was missing and re-followed me although I am currently taking a break from Mastodon.

You can architect identity in a different way. did:plc:k5ybhnnyl4zwq7ey3q3fogzt is my identity in atproto, the protocol that drives Bluesky and soon many other services. I use my domain to resolve to this identity. That is my name within Bluesky. I can change my name but it will still resolve to this identity.

UX disaster in Mastodon: an innocent weapon of mass destruction

Only one of these is irreversible.

No, I did not block my friend Andreas. I (presumably) did something much worse.

During the night from May 23rd to 24th, around 900 followers disappeared from my Mastodon profile. Did I say something that upset 900 people in one night? Unlikely. My assumption was that I was blocked by an instance or that we had been de-federated. The second option was unlikely since the follower count on had not dropped. It was only me.

I turned to an analysis tool at and quickly found out my connection to was severed. The 900 followers from the largest Mastodon instance were missing. Every single connection was missing.

It took me a while to notice that there were no posts from coming in. My assumption was that I had been banned from this instance and that was surely going to be an honest mistake.

A message from Eugen Rochko, developer of Mastodon and admin of the largest Mastodon instance explained that this did not happen on his server but originated from The only logical conclusion was that I had blocked the domain.

And this led me to the discovery of the Mastodon weapon of mass destruction. If you go to any profile on a remote server, open the context menu, every single option in that menu is reversible. You can mute and unmute, block and unblock the user, you can report him to his instance admin. And then, if you scroll one more entry down to block domain, you drop the bomb. Two things happen:

  • You drop every single person from that instance from your followers, with no way to recover.
  • Your instance sends a remove request to the other server. That server goes through its database and drops you from the follow list of all your followers on that instance. No recovery option.

Boom. All gone. No more social connections. Irreversibly gone forever.

Works as designed. And the design is broken. I have never seen anything like this before. Not in 40 years of working in IT. It is a f’up on the level of putting “securely wipe this disk” next to “put this file into trash”.

PS: In deutscher Sprache ist die Bombe noch besser versteckt. Verstecken?

I am not missing Twitter (or Facebook)

The blue checkmark will eventually go away. I did not pay for it, and never will.

I often make decisions based on principle. Years ago, I stopped posting on Facebook and last year I stopped posting on Twitter after Elon Musk bought the platform.

Both decisions may have limited my “clout”, but they have improved my life. When I have something to say, I do it here. Sometimes I post on Mastodon, but these posting are ephemeral.

Engagement on LinkedIn and Mastodon

I like to compare engagement on LinkedIn and Mastodon because people are looking at alternatives to using Twitter. LinkedIn started as a career network, but users also start posting updates about their successful endeavors. Everything is always going great. 🤣

LinkedIn coaches also tell users to start WhatsApp groups to like each other’s posts to simulate strong engagement. This has prompted me repeatedly to look for real engagement. An effective way to do this is through polls that can easily be answered with a single click.

LinkedIn: 1 reaction, 2 comments, 64 votes
Mastodon: 51 favorites, 156 reposts, 13 comments, 1515 votes

The results are pretty clear: engagement on Mastodon is way higher than on LinkedIn. Only 1 in 14 people who saw the poll on LinkedIn would even invest a single click whereas on Mastodon about 1 in 10 people would not only vote but also share the poll.

Heute handeln: Mastodon einrichten

Wer von einem sozialen Netzwerk zu einem anderen umzieht, landet zunächst in der Wüste. Er muss erst einmal seine Quellen finden.

Für den Umzug von Twitter zu Mastodon hat man eine Methode gefunden, auch im neuen Netzwerk auffindbar zu sein. Man fügt seinem eigenen Twitter-Profil einfach die neue Adresse hinzu. Bei mir ist das respektive Dann können andere einen Service nutzen, der die eigene Follower-Liste per Twitter API abgrast und die neuen Adressen sammelt, um sie dann in Mastodon zu importieren.

Twitter hat sich auf Geheiß von Musk dagegen gewehrt, in dem sie Links auf Mastodon als kriminell brandmarkte. Wie so viele Musk-Aktionen wurde das mittlerweile zurückgenommen.

Ab Mittwoch, dem 9. Februar 2023 aber soll das Twitter API kostenpflichtig werden und damit sind die Umzugsdienste wie Fedifinder vom Aussterben bedroht. Darum sollte man heute noch ein Mastodon-Konto anlegen und die Follower-Liste importieren. Beides ist super einfach.

Morgen könnte es zu spät sein.

Interaction on Mastodon is just insane

Yesterday, I posted a poll on Mastodon which received 23,252 replies. That is not a typo – see the screenshot above. 2666 people have boosted the poll, 661 have favorited it. And that is still counting, although the poll has closed.

If I post the same question on Twitter, just replacing the word Mastodon with Twitter, it gets almost nothing. I may have more followers there, but those will never even see the poll, let alone answer with one click.

Heise Online sees the same effect. There are just a lot more click-throughs when they post a new article on Mastodon. Meanwhile Heise Online has launched their own Mastodon Instance and I moved there. Find me at