Bill Bennett

Bill Bennett

For me Mastodon failed its first big test

As anyone in New Zealand knows, Auckland had a serious rain storm yesterday. Two people died, two are missing, the main roads and many suburbs flooded.

There’s damage everywhere. My house dodged a bullet. Another 10mm in my storm drain and the downstairs would have been innundated.

More rain fell in ten hours than the city normally gets in an entire summer.

It’s the kind of event where, despite everything, Twitter continues to shine.

I found constant updates and weather information there. Lots of first hand reports, photos and video footage. There were questions and answers. Fast-evolving coverage dominated my Twitter feed. It was what the social media site does best.

Mastodon not so much. In fact not much at all on the accounts I follow. That’s not say there was zero coverage, but it was far from comprehensive. At best it was sporadic. None of the important civil agencies or news media organisations have a Mastodon presence.

Otherwise, there was less material because I’ve carefully honed my Twitter feed over the years and use lists extensively to zoom in on different groups of accounts. I’ve done this with Mastodon, but there are far fewer Aucklanders in my feed. And some that I know are on both sites spent the day, like me, mainly on Twitter.

Mastodon may improve. Twitter may worsen. Yet for now, when there’s a local civil emergency Twitter is the more important channel.