SNL lampoons Trump begging for Elon Musk's Twitter to reinstate his account
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Now that Elon Musk is in charge of Twitter, people are scrambling for the exits.

Well, they say they are. But the reality of trying to move on from a network that's dominated the discourse for more than a decade is a little more complicated.

There has been a flurry of attention-seeking tweets from high-profile people announcing that they were flouncing off the social network - but most of them are still around.

Finding a viable alternative is one of the main issues - for many, Twitter is the comfortable pair of shoes that you've got used to over time.

One of the main frontrunners to potentially replace Twitter is a network called Mastodon.

It's open-source software that allows people to run independent Mastodon 'nodes' - which are servers - which can have their own codes of conduct and terms of service.

People on different nodes can interact with each other, creating a larger social network.

(We've got a nice explainer on how it all works, here.)

And if it sounds way more complicated and fiddly than Twitter, that's because it is - as some users are finding out.

On Sunday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman announced he was opening an account on Mastodon, writing:

But within hours he'd conceded an early defeat, telling his 4.6 million followers:

Presumably this experience piqued Elon Musk's interest, and he posted a screenshot of Paul Krugman's ill-fated profile page, with a rather NSFW twist on the site's name.

The now-deleted post said: "If you don't like Twitter anymore, there is awesome site called Masterbatedone."

Over at Garbage Day, tech writer Ryan Broderick neatly outlined the issue faced by people who are trying to leave the platform.

"But the issue with Mastodon is that people aren’t on Twitter in 2022 because they like the features. There are plenty of other websites where you can read and write words. People are on Twitter because they don’t want to read and write words with other random strangers. They’re on Twitter because they want access to irl famous or important people in media, politics, or business. That’s why various fandoms are constantly trying to game hashtags. They want their fandom to be seen as more popular than other fandoms as a way to convince culturally-impactful people to create more content for them and about them. This is true for essentially every Twitter user — a K-Popper, a #Resistance Democrat, an anime nazi, a 5am-wake-up hustle bro, and a leftist cartoonist are all trying to get not just any kind of person to notice them, but those who they perceive as being in charge. The metaphor I’ve used a few times in talking with folks about a Mastodon migration is that suggesting Twitter users move to Mastodon is the same as someone saying, “don’t drink at the the country club full wealthy and well-connected famous people, come to my bar, it has the same alcohol.” The alcohol isn’t the point. It’s the people in the bar."

While you figure out whether to stay or go - others offered some helpful advice to Elon: Just stop posting.

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