How to migrate from JTwitter to Babka
If you’re ready to move from JTwitter (Jewish Twitter) to Mastodon/The Fediverse and aren’t sure where to start, this guide is there to help you make the transition.
What exactly is Mastodon? What’s the Fediverse?
If you’re confused about what exactly these terms mean, you’ve probably gotten an answer like this one:
The Fediverse is a decentralized network of independently-operated servers, and it is often used to host social media platforms. It is notable for its emphasis on privacy, freedom of speech, and user control.
That answer is right, but probably left you with more questions than answers! The Fediverse is an informal term that refers to a collective movement of server operators who have chosen to run software and allowed their users to communicate with each other. On platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, people can only talk with other people on the same platform, but on the Fediverse, people on one server, for example babka.social, a Jewish site, can talk to people on cartoonist.social, a site for cartoonists. We call these servers instances and what’s important to know is that each instance is run indepdently, but they can still talk to each other! So people on the cartoonists site can Like or Reply to a post from babka.social and visa versa.
Each instance will have its own owner, it’s own rules about what it allows on its platform, etc. This is very freeing/democratizing because as a user, you can choose the instance that most aligns with your intrests and values.
Mastodon is the name of the most common software on the Fediverse, sort of like how Microsoft Office is the most popular office suite software. Other programs exist on the Fediverse, and they can all communicate with each other seamlessly. When people talk about “Mastodon” as a network, they usually just mean the Fediverse.
Choosing your instance (Babka Social)
Now that it’s clear there are different instances, why might you want to join Babka Social?
Babka Social is an instance made for Jews and Jewish allies. In addition to normal server rules, we have a set of values that we subscribe to and that drive our mission. We understand the needs of the Jewish online community because we’re Jews ourselves. We understand the experience of hate, harassment, and threats that often come with being visibly Jewish on the Internet, and we work hard to make a positive, welcoming, safe online community for both Jews and Jewish allies. We encourage you to sign up today!
If you don’t want to join Babka Social, there are many instances to choose from. Just head over to JoinMastodon.org and find one that’s right for you!
Finding your old Twitter friends
After you sign up, you might be wondering how to find your old friends from Twitter? Luckily for you many people have already made the switch and your old friends may already be there waiting for you!
There are several tools which can help you find your friends, including Movetodon, Twitodon, or Fedifinder. These tools work by having you log in with your Twitter account and looking for people who have put their new Fediverse address in their Twitter info.
You should do the same thing to help other people find you!
The first thing you should do, once you sign up, is to set up your profile, just like on Twitter. Having a profile lets people learn all about you and why they should follow you!
The second thing you should do is make an #introduction! The way to do that is to make a post with the hashtag #introduction, like this:
Hi everyone! I’m Rachel and this is my #introduction! I’m new to Babka but excited to make new friends. I’m from #NYC and I’m really into #reading, playing the #clarinet, #knitting, and #ExtremeSnowboarding. Looking forward to making new friends on the platform, both #Jewish and non-Jewish!
Making a post like this gives people a chance to learn about you, and using lots of hashtags makes it easier for people to find you in the sea of people!
Find Other People
There are lots of ways to find and connect with new people. When you join the platform, it will suggest accounts to follow, and that’s a great way to get started. You may also find that when you do your introduction, that people will start to follow you- especially if you have an interesting profile.
Babka also has a Directory that you can use to browse accounts on Babka, and also on the Fediverse generally. You can also use the Explore feature to look for popular hashtags, or search for hashtags that resonate with you! Lastly, you can check out the Local Feed to see all the activity happening on Babka and find people you may want to follow this way, by not only seeing the Babka folks, but what and who they Boost (think Retweet) and what kind of posts they interact with!
A Brief Guide to Jewish Hashtags on the Fediverse
You may be joining the Fediverse and be confused by all these unfamiliar hashtags. Babka, and the Fediverse generally, has its own Jewish community and its own hashtag culture. Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular ones!
- #mazeldon - #mazeldon is the hashtag used when talking about “Jewish Mastodon”. It’s sort of the equivilent of #JTwitter
- #jewdiverse - #jewdiverse is the hashtag when talking about both the Jewish Fediverse, but also about the greater goal of visible Jewish diversity, such as Sephardi representation, Queer Jews, Jews of Color, diabled Jews, etc.
- #jews or #jewish - We use #jews or #jewish is used when tagging a Jewish topics! No surprises there!
- #ShabbatShalom - Many Jewish folks on the Fediverse will post a #ShabbatShalom when Shabbat is approaching. It’s a friendly way to say Shabbat Shalom to the world!
- #MedinatAmerica - A hashtag started by JewWhoHasItAll, imagining a satirical world in which Judaism and Jewish culture were the predominant culture in the United States. We use this hashtag when putting the spotlight on Christian normativity and turning it on its head!
When joining the Fediverse, you might feel like you want to have the same following numbers that you did on Twitter. The Fediverse is a smaller network, one that’s focused less on large numbers and more on individual connections. It may take some time to find your footing in this new world, but along the way you may find that the connections you make along the way are deeper and more meaningful than they were on Twitter.
So go slow, start with a good profile, make an introduction post, engage with other people through replies and personal connections. If you do that, you may find a world of connections on Babka and the Fediverse!
Written by Serge
Founder of Babka