Candid Contribs talks Mastodon: Some corrections and notes

The Candid Contributions Podcast episode "Toots, Tweets and Time Management" mentioned the Umbraco Community Mastodon but made some comments I think may have been misleading, so I thought I'd clarify.

, by Joe Glombek

No disrespect to the Candid Contribs team - these are common misconceptions and you tackled some of these misconceptions in the podcast too. But I felt it's important to get this out there.

Twitter's userbase disbanding has been detrimental to many online communities. The Umbraco Community has largely moved to LinkedIn, Discord and Mastodon. This means that it is fragmented, and it's highly likely that none will ever replace the critical mass Twitter had.


Let's not forget that Twitter never had the whole community. People who miss the 'whole community' being together, just happened to be at the centre of the Twitter community. I never used Twitter prior to getting involved with Umbraco and never managed to fit it into my routine - or truly feel a part of the Umbraco Community on Twitter.

A few of the Candid Contributions team feel the same way about Mastodon - and that's expected. You spent years working on your Twitter presence and curating your Twitter timeline by finding interesting people and speaking about interesting things (only for the that timeline to be polluted in the latter years, leading to the disenchantment of many). Mastodon could replace that platform. But it takes time to build a following and curate that feed. (One of the benefits of Mastodon and potentially the Fediverse is that you might not have to do this going forwards - you can take your following and followers with you!)

As for the Umbraco Community Mastodon - it's not an "enclosed space" as suggested in the podcast. The Fediverse is designed to be exactly the opposite of that. There are features such as the local feed that only show content from the server you're currently on - but this is just one view! Think of the discoverability provided by being on the same server as the "suggested follows" feature Twitter had when you created your account. Think of it as a starting place and then find people you're interested in, follow hashtags, and begin curating your experience. The most reliable way to find Umbraco content on Mastodon is to follow the #Umbraco hashtag, rather than watching a local feed.

Think of Mastodon like email or podcasting. Just because Candid Contribs uses Spreaker to distribute the podcast, it doesn't stop me listening with Pocket Casts (or Apple Podcasts or Spotify etc.). Just because I use Gmail, doesn't stop me email people on Outlook or Yahoo. Sure, Gmail has some nice features when emailing other Gmail users - like automatic profile picture population - but it's not essential to the experience. Email, podcasting and RSS are all part of the open web, just like the Fediverse and Mastodon.

Like Lotte, I was never a heavy Twitter user, using it primarily for Umbraco content. Which admittedly makes the Umbraco Community Mastodon a very easy drop-in replacement. But now, I've found myself using Mastodon outside of work - for entertainment and education. I've even replaced my use of Instragram with a fediverse alternative - Pixelfed.


Mastodon is techy and confusing - but no more so than Twitter was when we all started there! Twitter had only just reached the mainstream as it began its fall back into obscurity - only with the far right being it's new niche rather than technologists. Huge swathes of people still "never really got Twitter" and that's fine - nobody needs microblogging!


Emma mentioned how she misses "stumbling" across things. Stumble-upon-ability is something that I'd suggest Twitter never did that well - it was a follower-lead platform. The "for you" algorithms of other platforms are actually far better at allowing you to stumble upon other people. Just like the early days of Twitter, hashtags and boosts are the best ways of spreading content to new eyes. I "stumble upon" organic content on Mastodon more than I would a corporate-backed social media platform lead more by ads - I now have a great set of people I follow, who boost me interesting content every day on a breadth of topics, from the wider .NET community to general web and tech to the environment and international politics.

In the open

Mastodon is not as closed as Twitter is and is certainly more open and discoverable than Discord. Everything is public facing and is discoverable on Google and by other Mastodon and Fediverse instances. LinkedIn is another closed community, requiring a login to see content.

If you want to join a wider community, try DotNet.Social, FOSStodon or a generic Mastodon server. You can always come to the Umbraco Community Mastodon profile listing if you need inspiration for who to follow. The call-to-action for getting new people on the Fediverse should be just that: join the Fediverse, not "join the Umbraco Community Mastodon".

In conclusion

If you don’t want to dedicate your time to Mastodon - don’t! If you’re missing microblogging in your life - and the ability to “just put a thought out into the world” - give it a go!

I previously blogged about Umbraco in the Fediverse and Gaining insights into fediverse accounts which may also be of interest.

Suggested follows

If you do feel a bit enclosed in the Umbraco-spere on Mastodon, try following some of these accounts to broaden your fedi-horizons.

Politics and news

  • Washington Post Opinions
  • Joe Biden
  • Barack Obama
  • BBC Radio 4
  • BBC Radio 5 Live

Nature, science and climate

  • RSPB
  • Scientist Rebellion
  • Greenpeace
  • Vagina Museum
  • Prof. Alice Roberts
  • Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf
  • Extinction Rebellion
  • Greta Thunberg

Comedy & authors

  • John Green
  • James Veitch
  • NewsThump (news satire)
  • J. L. Westover (web comics)
  • The Oatmeal (web comics)

Non-Umbraco tech

  • The Verge
  • Technology Connections
  • .NET Bot (boosts posts tagged #DotNet)
  • ORG (campaigning for UK digital rights)
  • Internet Archive
  • DEV (shares articles from
  • Mekka Okereke
  • Jon Skeet
  • Dylan Beattie
  • Mozilla
  • Scott Hanselman
  • Layla Porter (LaylaCodesIt)
  • Chris Coyier