Ok then, now we're on to the serious stuff. I have managed to sucessfully get rid of the easier stuff, like Google Search & Chrome and Google Analytics, but now I'm starting to look at the Google services that have a larger impact on my daily workflow.
Google+, if you don't know it, is Google's answer to Facebook and Twitter all rolled in to one. I've never been able to get along with Twitter as I find the character limit to be just plain ridiculous, and I use Facebook now and again to keep in touch with my personal friends and family.
Then there's Google+, which I have used since it was released back in 2011. The great thing about Google+ is that it's a lot smaller than Facebook and Twitter, so your feed doesn't get crushed with pictures of people's dinner, or their cat. I personally use Google+ as a way of keeping on top of tech news etc. I don't post there very often any more, but I check in on it every single day for my nerdy fix.
So I had to start looking for an alternative that isn't full of trolls (hello Twitter), is simple to use and allows me to easily find and engage with other like-minded people. Well, I found somewhere, and boy is it good...
You see that screenshot of my Google+ feed above? Well, the guy shown in that image, Mike Stone, is the person who recommended Mastodon to me in the first place. Thank you, Mike!
Mastodon is a fantastic, open-source, federated network that is chock-full of interesting people. I'm not going to go in to detail about how it all works, if you want to learn about that, I suggest you go look at my guest post about Mastodon over on It's Foss.
Being open source, Mastodon allows you to run your own instance of the social network, which will then speak to other instances from all over the world. This means no single person/company controlls the Mastodon network. I started my own instance of Mastodon, called Fosstodon. If you're interested in Linux/FOSS, feel free to come along and sign up.
I've been using Mastodon for a couple months now, and so far it has been nothing but a pleasure to use. I have been able to connect with other Linux/FOSS lovers, just like I can in Google+, but Mastodon has the added bonus of being open source. There also isn't a single piece of functionality that I have found to be missing in Mastodon.
I suppose the proof is in the pudding - I haven't logged in to Google+ once since starting Fosstodon. That speaks volumes to me as to how good Mastodon is as a social network.
Diaspora - the other alternative
I was also recommend Diaspora by quite a few people, which works in a very similar way to Mastodon. However, after signiing up for an account, and following a few hashtags, I found the site to be full (and I mean FULL) of pasted links to blog posts with no real context to them.
This really put me off Diaspora, so I didn't bother to explore it much further than that. I can go to Facebook if I want adverts. :-)
Overall, the going is really good so far. There are only a few more posts left to come in this series, but the best is yet to come - Google Drive and Gmail. Look out for those posts soon!
By the way, if you're on Mastodon, feel free to give me a follow.
You can find links to all articles in this series right here.