Mastodon is a microblogging platform, often compared to Twitter. If you’re not familiar with Mastodon, you can probably skip this interview. You’ll find a good explainer here. Ash Furrow is the administrator of one “instance” of Mastodon. In this 25 minute interview he answers the questions below.
Would you mind telling us a little about yourself? What do you do when you’re not feeding and caring for Mastodon.Technical?
How did you get involved with the Mastodon movement?
When did Mastodon.Technical go live? Do you recall who was Tooter #1?
Are you (now or previously) active on other social media platforms?
While a lot of people are apparently happy with Facebook and Twitter, many others are fleeing and looking for something else. What’s happening?
What are the important differences between Mastodon and the more established social platforms?
There have been no shortage of Twitter “replacements” but few have gotten traction. Is Mastodon different? Why?
The “federation” concept seems pretty simple to me but I keep reading about users who find it confusing. Is this a problem?
Are there instances operated by hate groups? Have you had to ban users from your instance?
What is the biggest misconception about Mastodon?
How much time do you invest each week working on your Mastodon instance?
As it grows, do you feel trapped in any sense?
As the admin for your instance, you are — I assume — all powerful. You’ve published user guidelines, have you had to exercise that power?
What would you like the Mastodon Federation to look like a year from now?
Tom Boman is Vice President of Broadcast Operations for Learfield Sports. He and the people that work with him are responsible for all of the game broadcasts and coaches shows for many of the top colleges and universities in country. He’ll be overseeing broadcasts for 130 schools this fall.
Based on my 40 years in and around radio, I’d say sports play-by-play announcer might be the most coveted — and hard to get — job in broadcasting. And Tom knows as much about what it takes to land one of those jobs as anybody. If you’ve ever wanted to be a “sportscaster” or know someone who does or if you just like listening to sports on the radio, you might enjoy this interview. It runs 20 minutes.
In 1995 CompuServe, America Online and Prodigy started providing dial-up Internet access and people started getting online. In April some tech folks from the University of Missouri came to our offices in Jefferson City and gave us a demo of the “World Wide Web” and our first look at Netscape Navigator. I can’t speak for the others in the meeting but I was mightily impressed.
I knew a bit about the Internet but nothing about how to create a website or register a domain, so I contacted Mike McKean, a professor at the J-School at the University of Missouri, and asked if he could put me in touch with a student who knew how to do this stuff. He introduced me to Dan Arnall, a senior journalism major. Dan was technically adept but he brought along Allen Hammock who was majoring in computer science. Dan and Allen were high school classmates in Springfield, Missouri, and were in members of a student leadership organization at Mizzou.
In September of 1990, while attending the NAB conference in Boston, I met a recent college graduate named David Gerstmann who had developed software to capture and manage wire service data on a personal computer. He called it WireReady. On a recent visit I asked David to talk about the early days of his company. (10 min)
During the early days of what we then called the “World Wide Web,” there was a mood of “digital entrepreneurism.” Anybody with a minimum of technical skills could create a website. Later, when blogs became a thing, it got even easier. You could start your own newspaper or magazine or — when the bandwidth got better and the tools easier — audio and video. Anyone could create their own “content” and do so for fun or profit. That was the dream and a few made it a reality.
One of those was my friend David Brazeal. David grew up in Republic, Missouri, a small town just outside of Springfield in the southwest corner of the state. He earned a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and then reported news at a radio station in Jefferson City, MO.
That’s where I met him and then worked with him at Learfield Communications. David started in the newsroom but migrated to some of Learfield’s early, digital businesses. He was very good at what he did but eventually grew restless and longed to strike out on his own. His idea was to create a website that covered high school sports in his hometown.
With his wife’s blessing, he quit his very good job at a very good company and started RepublicTigerSports.com in 2009. David has defied the odds and made his “micro-site” a critical and financial success. I think it’s safe to say he covers high schools sports in Republic better than any traditional media outlook could or would. The town does not have a radio or TV station but does have a weekly newspaper.
I don’t think I could begin to describe the breadth and depth of the content on his site. If you are even remotely interested in what he’s doing, spend 10 or 15 minutes on the website. If you’re still interested, you might enjoy listening to the interview below. Runs about 35 minutes.
Warren (“Krech in the Morning”) Krech is retiring from radio at the end of the month, wrapping up a career that started in 1972. He’s been on the air in Jefferson City, Missouri, since 1984. Almost half a century of getting up every morning at 3 a.m. Be hard to find someone more involved in his community than Warren and it’s hard not think in terms of “end of an era.” He has seen and been part of a lot of changes in radio and talked about them in this 16 minute chat/shoptalk.
In December (2014) Bob Priddy will retire from his job as news director of The Missourinet. The network’s first and only news director. In this interview Bob talks about how the network began; interesting people and big stories; politics and history. I was privileged to work with Bob for almost 30 years and he’s one of the most talented and interesting people I’ve met. The interview runs just under half an hour. Hardly enough time to reflect on his amazing career.
Yesterday I drove to the little town of Piedmont, in southeast Missouri, to meet Gaylon Watson. Gaylon worked at KBOA back in the fifties and I have long wanted to meet him and capture some oral history from those early days of the station where my father and I once worked. Gaylon’s eighty now but healthy and sharp as a tack. His 28 years in broadcasting covered a lot of ground and we only captured some of it in this recording.
Gaylon’s eighty now but healthy and sharp as a tack. His 28 years in broadcasting covered a lot of ground and we only captured some of it in this recording. We had to leave some on the editing room floor because of the noisy restaurant. After lunch Gaylon gave me the “Chamber of Commerce” tour of Piedmont (where he was mayor for 16 years) and then took me to meet his three dogs who live in splendor on 20 beautiful acres in the Missouri Ozarks.
This is the first in what I hope will be a series of posts featuring brief interviews with some of the friends I have made online.
Keith Povall and I have never met but I know more about him (and he about me) than most of the people that live on our street. It’s a rare day that we do not exchange a few words.
Keith is a curry chef; raises carnivorous plants and, of course, a blogger. He is also the curator of a cringe-inducing (for me) archive of photos of people wearing sandals and sox. Yes, he was a dry, biting sense of humor.
You also need to know that I am a shameless anglophile. I love all things British. The way they talk, their food, and their weather. So, my plan to to touch base with Keith every week or so and get his take on things happening in the world.
And when we run out of things to talk about, I’ll introduce you to some other lovely people.