Scratch Pad: Mastodon, Mitchell, Rain by Marc Weidenbaum

todayNovember 5, 2022 1

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I do this manually each Saturday, usually in the morning over coffee: collating most of the little comments I’ve made on social media during the preceding week. I’ve long thought of social media — Twitter especially, though I’m taking a break, and Facebook to a degree, and increasingly Mastodon — as my public notebook. Or more to the point, my public scratch pad, which seems a degree more rough and unformed than a notebook. I’ve found it personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud in public. Also, I think knowing you’ll revisit what you say pulls in the reins a bit, in a good way, on what you do say.

What appears here isn’t a full accounting. Often there are, for example, conversations online that don’t really make as much sense out of the context of social media itself. Some of my notes pop up sooner in expanded form or otherwise on And sometimes I tweak them a bit, given the additional space. And sometimes I re-order them.

▰ What is that sound? Ah, “rain.” Not just cars’ tires against moist pavement, but actual impact on the building itself. This is unfamiliar here in San Francisco. They’re probably taking kindergartners outside right now to experience it as a teachable moment.

▰ I just gave about $50 to to help support the good it does.

▰ I love Ladies of the Canyon way more than Blue or Court and Spark.

▰ There’s more honking during the rain because everyone forgot how to drive since the last time it rained

▰ Do you listen to MP3s/FLACs/etc. — and if so, do you sync them between laptop/phone/tablet/etc. — and if so, do you recommend a particular approach? I’ve been trying the Match feature from Apple Music, plus apps/services like Doppler, Vox, Plex, and Evermusic, and so far nothing has been particularly enjoyable to use. (I’m very happy if you’re very happy just streaming music. That’s just not what I’m asking about at the moment. Thanks.)

▰ The concept that Mastodon is meaningfully different from Twitter (which it is) is undermined for newcomers by the fact that Mastodon uses the word “toot” for its posts, because that “toot” sounds like a play on “tweet,” which strongly suggests the two are interchangeable.

▰ Just as there’s a meaningful difference between a tweet and a toot, between Twitter and Mastodon, there’s a meaningful difference between paying for a badge and contributing to support a service’s infrastructure. If you’re on lurk, please visit and read up on chipping in. (Likewise if you’re on another instance.)

▰ Morning sounds: the whir and rumble of cars passing faster than the nearby stop sign might suggest is possible, a low level electric hum, the buzz of a plane passing overhead

▰ This week marks the 566th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project, which means we’ll be 100 weeks (or just under two years) from the 666th.

▰ I rent a tiny office not far from home. It’s got just a desk and two monitors. The space is a blank canvas until I plug in my laptop, and then all of a sudden there are three screens, and the place is full of information and light, which in this context are one and the same. I never tire of this transformation.

▰ I’ve been digging Substack for my This Week in Sound email newsletter (having moved over from Tinyletter when I maxed out its ceiling). I’m not so sure about this Substack Chat feature. Managing a community is a skill — along with a time sink — unto itself. I get where they’re going, and I think some of the existing newsletters will do well with Substack Chat, but others will experience some serious internal strife, which I have little interest in having to manage. I spend enough time on (a Discourse — not Discord — instance that I help moderate), and the Disquiet Junto Slack. Who knows, maybe down the road. For now, I’ll let others beta-test our increasingly siloed online futures.


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