What the heck are your contact methods?
Okay, so, this page was created in anticipation that people would look at my contact box thingy and ask themselves, “what the heck is a Mastodon or a Matrix.org? I haven’t heard of that before”. (I’m hoping email and github are regular contact methods that you’re familiar with. If not, Google it, or ask someone who’s been on the internet recently.)
Mastodon is a federated alternative to Twitter. You can find more about it here! It describes itself as “The world’s largest free, open-source, decentralized microblogging network” - essentially, it’s a distributed version of Twitter, with communities split onto various “instances”. Go and read that link; it explains it rather well.
I’ve recently been microblogging quite a lot on the chaos.social instance, at @firstname.lastname@example.org. You can make an account on any Mastodon instance you like - have a look at instances.noct.zone for a curated list of ‘em - and then follow anyone else on any other instance, including me if you’d like. (That’s how the whole Mastodon thing works, if you haven’t read that link I inserted earlier.)
Matrix is a federated chat protocol, similar to WhatsApp, Telegram, IRC, or XMPP. In fact, unless you care about the technical details, you’ll probably refer to it as Riot - the ‘flagship’ implementation of Matrix that pretty much all non-techy people use. It describes itself as “An open network for secure, decentralized communication” - essentially, it’s a distributed version of WhatsApp that aims to promote decentralization and interconnectivity instead of locking everyone down into one network. Anybody can run their own Matrix home server, and thereby communicate with anyone else on any other server - ensuring that chat remains open and controlled by users, instead of locked down into a siloed network like WhatsApp’s. It’s pretty cool technology - go to matrix.org if you’re interested in learning about the nitty-gritty.
I’m reachable at @eta:theta.eu.org on Matrix - you can sign up for an account at riot.im. (Mobile applications are also available.)
From there, you should be able to follow the reasonably-simple guidance in order to start a new direct chat with
@eta:theta.eu.org - if not, this link
might prove more helpful to you.
Why all this nonstandard stuff?
I just think both of these projects are really cool initiatives to rethink how we talk to one another over the internet - moving us away from silos like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. I’m not going to attempt to persuade you that this is something you should care about, though - these services are still pretty obscure! Other, more sane, contact methods are available, like email. (If you know me personally, I’ll also give you my phone number!)