an oasis on the internet

In the fall of 2022, I started using Twitter more. I don’t know why; probably a curious desire to see how bad Elon Musk would screw it up. To make it bearable from a user interface perspective I alternated between the Twitterrific[1] and Tweetbot macOS apps. It was fun at first—getting back into Twitter and using a chronological timeline rather than an algorithmically generated one.

But the fun died when both apps suddenly lost access to Twitter on January 12, 2023. At first we third-party app fans hoped for an announcement of a temporary glitch along with reinstated access. But it turned out to be what, deep down, we knew it was all along—Elon Musk shut down third-party API access with no warning. It was a sad day, and it’s the day that, for me, Twitter died.

Over the course of 2023, Twitter fractured, with many people leaving to join Threads, Bluesky, or Mastodon/fediverse. I ultimately made the jump to Mastodon—but it was an accident.

How I accidentally joined Mastodon

About a week before Elon killed third-party Twitter clients, I had signed up for this quirky link-in-bio-plus-more service called (this is a referral link, if you sign up I get 3 months of free time). I discovered it during what I later found out was a big wave of new users coming from Hacker News.

I joined because of the quirky, fun vibes. I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that there was an optional Mastodon instance. Mastodon, the concept, interested me but like many others I had no idea how to sign up, what instance I should pick, etc.

But all of the sudden the decision was made for me—I had easy access to a smallish Mastodon instance with a lot of interesting people who, like me, had a fondness for the weird, fun internet of yore. And since it’s a paid service, I could feel like I wasn’t freeloading on some poor admin. And a paywall offers a little bit of spam protection (I’m assuming $20/yr is enough to prevent some spammy accounts from signing up).

I ended up trying it out and then just a week later, Elon broke Twitter. At that point I went all-in on Mastodon and haven’t looked back. I have a third as many followers as I did on Twitter but five times the engagement on my posts.[2] I have the choice of dozens of native and web clients. It’s awesome. I settled on Ivory for macOS and it’s been pretty great.

The instance over at is full of interesting, friendly, folks. More on that in a bit.

Cool stuff you get with

Screenshot of my dashboard for the bw address. It's colorful and friendly and has links to all of the services I’m about to describe.
The dashboard for my bw address

The main thing you are getting with is one or more subdomains, which are referred to as addresses. For example, my primary one is Each one of your addresses comes with a slew of stuff:

Phew, we made it! Thing is, is constantly expanding and improving its offerings—this list will probably be outdated weeks or months after I publish it.

A cool community

I can’t explain it but when you join you join a community of the nicest, most interesting people. This service just seems to bring the old-internet lovers together and, I don’t know, it’s just fun and pleasant.

If Mastodon is not your thing, that’s cool! There’s also an IRC with a bridge to Discord so you can chat with other members. I’m a lurker most of the time, but I will say that when I do participate in chat I feel immediately welcomed.

Harnessing the power of the Adam

The mastermind and architect behind is Adam Newbold. I can’t say enough nice things about him. Adam is extremely active in this community. I’ve seen him build entire features in an afternoon just because someone in chat said “it would be cool if…” Heck, I was that person in at least one instance.

Adam is just so good at listening to feedback and is always gracious about it, even if the answer is no or even if the person asking is being a little belligerent (not that this happens often). Adam’s positive energy is contagious. I think it spreads into the community and is a big reason that everyone seems so cool here.

Also can we talk about what a prolific creator he is? He’s always got tons of neat (-nik 😄) stuff in the oven—a multiplayer RPG in the shell, a service dedicated to web 1, and a friendly DNS service, just to name a few.

Okay, okay. Nerd crush over.

The small web

I’ve been enjoying a different kind of internet lately—the kind filled with personal websites, blogs that aren’t cookie-cutter marketing machines, and hypertext oddities you can only find by clicking around. And so many personal projects.

This internet is a breath of fresh air if you’ve only been visiting what Google gives you on its first few pages of results ads. I, of course, think everyone should have a personal site. And if you’re worried no one will want read your stuff, just remember that Andy will.

Making your own website is rewarding in a way that a corporate social media profile never will be.

Need help getting started? These services, tools, and tutorials can help:

  1. Twitterrific has especially historic relevance to Twitter as it is responsible for associating a bird as a mascot. Previously, Twitter sported an uninspired Web 2.0 text logo. Twitterrific introduced us to Ollie, the cute little blue bird that many people probably think Twitter itself created. Twitter would go on to incorporate a little blue bird as its logo mark. ↩︎

  2. 87.5% of statistics are made up on the spot. ↩︎