Twitter is Flat - 2022-12-11
Twitter has not crashed and burned yet, but it has changed since the Elon acquisition. "Infosec twitter" has migrated to several mastodon instances among the "fediverse." Today, it is harder to find engaging novel content from technical sources. For that reason I am not looking at Twitter as much and in a way I am a little happier overall. Weird, right?
Twitter had some great experiences for me. In particular, Twitter was incredibly flat. Pre-existing social relationships were not, for many, a gatekeeper to interacting with someone, or to be interacted with.
On Twitter, I could reach out to specific people on something revelant to them and people could reach out to me when I mention something relevant to them.
At the time, I was researching key derivation functions, specifically ones I might be able to implement as a learning experience. I found Baloon Hash while reading NIST 800-63-3 section 184.108.40.206 "Memorized Secret Verifiers." But, when I reviewed the code on github, there was visible intended endianness and the readme basically said the reference implementation was not for production use.
git blame, I found the author and asked directly.
I didn't expect to get a response, but I did!
More recently, I attended a webinar intended for managers and the like. Of course, like any infomercial, it was just a disguised sales call and I got a follow up from one of their sales teams.
Mid presentation, I yelled out into the void (Twitter). Turns out someone was listening, probably to the keyword "Yubico."
This is distinctly different from Amazon (or any other big brand name) from scraping twitter for commercial support or upsell opportunities. I felt this was a more human to human interaction, it just so happened to be facilitated by a technological giant.
The future on the Fediverse
It may still be possible to directly reach out to some. But the mentioning story is quite different.
On mastodon at least, the only means to search is with hashtags. But, hashtags are not necessarily propigated between every server. Servers have to federate, and even then they are not obligated to notify each other of every post that occurs within their gates.
But this issue may be mitigated next year. As you can see on the thread linked under Filippo's post above, several are working to improve this problem. I suspect that we will see more contributions to fediverse tech, be it mastodon or other implementations, now that developers and technologists are using something they can tinker with.
Twitter created a flat social network that anyone could use to reach each other, either by direct mentions or by searches. The fediverse requires participants to opt-in for searchable content by using hashtags. However, federated searching is a weakpoint which makes the latter difficult to accomplish. The fediverse is receiving a new wave of attention, so we should see these rough edges being improved soon.