A few months ago, I was reading Hacker News and saw a note about the new social media platform Mastodon built on top of GNU Social. Then, through the #Indieweb IRC chat logs, I came across another mention of the platform by Kevin Marks. Shortly thereafter, he appeared on This Week in Google talking about it, an episode which I listened to on December 7. Two days later I finally joined Mastodon to see what was going on, though I’d been on GNU Social sites Quitter.se and Quitter.no much earlier.
An early Mastodon experience
I lurked around on the platform for a bit to check it out and then promptly walked away with the determination that it was “just another silo” and I’d prefer to keep posting on my own site and syndicating out if necessary. It wasn’t until ADN (a Twitter-like social media platform that was previously at app.net) was shutting down on March 15th and people were leaving there to find other communities that I was reminded of Mastodon as I was also looking at platforms like 10 Centuries and pnut.io. Others were obviously doing the same thing and it was then that articles began popping up in the more mainstream tech media. I thought I’d give Mastodon another try and popped into my account to see what had changed, how, and importantly could I build any of the functionality into my own site?
Within a few minutes of rejoining and following a few people in the local stream, I was greeted with this:
My immediate thought, having grown up in the South, was “How welcoming–A pineapple!”
A quick comment later and I realized that it was just coincidence.
A flurry of articles about Mastodon
Fast forward about a week, dozens of Mastodon articles later, and last night I’m reading (courtesy of yet another link posted in the #Indieweb chat–hint: if you want to know where the bleeding edge of the social web is, you should be either lurking or participating there) the article What I wish I knew before joining Mastodon: Where I attempt to explain Mastodon through Harry Potter gifs by Qina Liu, the Digital Engagement Editor at The Buffalo News (on Medium for some odd reason rather than The Buffalo News itself).
The article is well written and is a pretty good tutorial on what Mastodon is, how it works, and how to begin participating. Toward the end it also gets into some of the Mastodon culture. Like a great reporter, Liu obviously spent some time to get to know the natives. She finishes off the story with a short vignette on pineapples which I found eerily familiar. Hey, it’s my friend @acw! As the article wears on, I begin to think, “Oh dear, what have I done?!”
I’m excerpting the tail end of the article for more context about the pineapple meme:
Why am I seeing pineapples all over Mastodon?
Alright, so I’m no P.J. Vogt, Alex Goldman or any of the other awesome producers at the podcast “Reply All,” but I’m going to attempt to “Yes, Yes, No” this for you guys.
🍍🍍🍍 on Mastodon got started by Alex Weiner (@email@example.com), a software developer who uses APL. Since APL sounds like 🍎, he really likes 🍎 and any words including 🍎 like 🎄🍎.
So he started tooting 🍍 to new people as a form of “hello,” “welcome,” “aloha” — and you get the idea.
And he also started boosting toots with 🍍.
So 🍍 became the emoji shorthand for boost.
And 🍍ing also became Internet slang for when your Mastodon follower count surpasses your Twitter follower count.
But pineapple appreciation didn’t end there. Other people started posting 🍍 in their display name.
And even Rochko made a pineapple joke.
So to recap, if you get a 🍍 on Mastodon, it’s…
Plus, pineapples are awesome.
Except if you’re the president of Iceland, who doesn’t like 🍍🍕.
So was that a “Yes, Yes, Yes”?
So apparently my short note about the “meaning” behind the pineapple has helped to turn it into a “thing” on the internet.
For the historians, here’s the thread of the original conversation:
Ultimately, because the pineapple is such a long-standing symbol of welcoming, it has to be a good thing. Right?
So if you were lucky enough to get into Mastodon.social before registration was turned off (maybe they’ll turn it back on one day, or you can get into one of the many other instances), feel free to give me a follow there and enjoy the pineapples.