Moved Off Twitter? Make Your ESP32 Toot

The demo toot screenshot, showing a text-only message sent from the ESP32 using the library.

Since Twitter was officially taken over by Elon Musk a few days ago, there’s been significant staff cuts, a stream of questionable decisions, and uncertainty about the social media platform’s future. So it’s little surprise that a notable number of people, those in the tech and hacker scenes in particular, have decided to move over to (or at least bridge their accounts with) the distributed and open source Mastodon service.

Of course, the hacks would follow closely, and [Toby] shares a simple ESP32-based Mastodon client library for us to start with. Instead of “tweets”, messages on Mastodon instances are called “toots”, in line with the platform’s mammoth-like mascot. The library, called Luyba, is able to send toots and includes a demo firmware. Built using C++ and with support for Platform.IO, it should fit into quite a few projects out there, letting you easily send toots to whichever instance you find your home, as the library-aided demo toot shows.

What could you do with such a library on your MCU? Turns out, quite a few fun things – a home automation interface, a critter trap, an online BBC Basic interpreter, or, given image support, a camera that tweets whatever it’s pointed at. There’s quite a bit of fun hackers can have given a micro-blogging service API access and a bit of code that works with it. That said, for all the good that Twitter brought us over the years, there’s a lot that Mastodon can easily do better, between easily game-able “Trending” sidebar, bias found in auto-cropping algorithms and disarrayed internal security policies.

75 thoughts on “Moved Off Twitter? Make Your ESP32 Toot

      1. When Eugen first released the software, a friend of his semi-jokingly offered to become a lifetime patreon donator if Eugen changed the button from publish to toot, and since neither of them expected it to ever get big, as it was just a toy, they thought hey that’s funny enough to do.
        Eugen has since said he kind of regrets it, but as he notes, ‘tweets’ is just as dumb.

        1. Eh, I don’t think “tweeting” is quite as silly, since it doesn’t refer to any smelly bodily functions or anatomy. “Tooting” at strangers is…. kind of rude, to be quite frank.

          Not that any of it is a huge issue for me, personally.

    1. Free speech by the platform/government laws on Twitter or free speech as in the good will of the sole admin of a specific Mastodon instance? I refuse both, since there is no inherent need for me to talk about “political” nonsense, and i wish it would not infest the hacking hobby.

      1. Twitter’s speech isn’t free like free speech, and it’s looking less and less likely to be free like beer.

        Mastodon is one implementation of a free and open protocol, and it’s easy enough to run your own instance if you disagree with any other admin’s choices. Or run any other software that works with the fediverse if you don’t like Mastodon. It’s free and open in many dimensions simultaneously.

        1. And there we have the problem already. I’ve seen people being banned on some Mastodon instances and not on others or the ones where their account resides. This way the Fediverse is like countries: Open on paper only for travellers, but with a lot of borders and you cannot expect a permanent stay.

          The reason why said person was banned is irrelevant in my example here and not open for speculation. It will happen to people. No matter how liberal they are. Some may not like Furries or other things. There are even fights among themselves. Soatok is familiar to you sir?

          Let’s see if I can post about furry cryptography here. Perfectly legal btw.

          If you have a problem with content on Twitter, take it to the feds.

          1. But as the whole model is anywhere to anywhere in effect it matters not at all if one set of admins ban one type of person, they will just move themselves out of that admins grasp and still able to interact with everyone else no?

            Its going to be messy and chaotic like much of the internet but rather more free than anything else on offer at the moment, as no ban actually cuts you off from spouting whatever unpopular to x thing you said.

          2. @Foldi-One
            Well in the case of Soatok himself “the instance shut down and he lost all his data killing the interest in the service”. Always having to self-host something just to know it is there tomorrow is a burden. Solo admins can be in accidents with no one taking over. Severs go down all the time before you can migrate a profile.

            It is not always necessarily a ban ending the fun, and you still lose everything.

          3. @Hitomi
            So set up on a few instances and cross load everything to them all – then you need ALL of the admins you were relying on to bugger up or decide to dislike you at once, minor inconvenience of having to look for ’em in a subtly different guise, so really should loose nothing.

          4. Being banned on one or a few instance sounds way better than Twitter, where they straight up just nuke your account together with everything you’ve ever sent, all the DMs between you and other people. Good luck “appealing” to get access back – when it comes to Mastodon instances, there’s actually real people you can talk to!

          5. In addition to this, at least one complete Mastodon instance has been banned from participating in the Fediverse. That instance,, forked and modified the Mastodon code and has a link on their license page entitled “short history of CounterSocial and Mastodon” which describes why they did so.


        2. Sorry, but your verification has been denied. You may appeal this decision in writing, or you could just pay twitployees $15,000 for the stupid checkmark.

          That actually happened repeatedly. Then Elon said $8, and for no reason at all, everyone burst into flames. lmao

      2. I can feel it, too.

        “not infest my hobby”
        I understand the wish, but it seems futile. My other hobby is gardening, and even there the forums and groups are flooded with the same stuff as everywhere else. to the point where I shall not bring my dog, because it could put off a new member of a near eastern religion.

        I react as always: if it becomes too much, I quit (radio and tv, since 19 years), I retreat myself, I become mute/censor myself, because others are only interested in my opinion if it was actually a copy of theirs.

        So after adios makerspace a few years ago, and starting a workshop of my own, it will soon be adios community garden if I find a suitable ground.

    2. In what way is Musk’s Twitter actually promoting free speech? I’m seeing a lot of noise about promoting free speech, alongside a lot of action suppressing it, exposing the noise for the lie it always was.

      1. All corporate social media is a political platform for that corporate agenda, pretending it’s not by hiding behind the users they control. It’s subtractive synthesis of public opinion: the moderation policies are like applying a resonant band-pass filter over the general noise of public discourse to extract the tone you want to play.

        The question is simply, what is the agenda? If it’s simply for more money, then the way to get the maximum number of people to join (and pay) is to incite people to fight each other. That means not censoring unpopular or “incorrect” opinions – but exactly the opposite.

        If it’s for some socially progressive cause based on some philanthropic ideal for humanity, or using the platform to support other political causes, then it’s liable to return to the same suppression of free speech after the honeymoon period is over.

      1. Last I checked my twitter account worked just fine without checkmark (which is what $8 is for). There’s no ban on parody as long as it’s clearly tagged as parody, satire or comedy.

    3. If the free speech includes Nazis and Edgelords-Copying-Nazis-For-The-Lulz that can write whatever they want while the left gets constantly banned for the smallest thing then yes, i move off that platform. When a TERF can write whatever she wants but a trans person reacting and calling her a TERF gets jailed then that right-wing-circlejerk-platform is just bad and should be avoided like the plaque.

      1. I’ve always found it suspect when people so concerned with inclusion make so many terms meant to exclude… TERF and CIS and Boomer and…

        Also suspect that being accepted for differences goes out the door if we’re talking thoughts and ideas.

        The quickness that some people will evoke ‘nazi’ is pretty suspect, as well.

      1. Like everything else involving the very rich and powerful, “free” means their freedom to restrict what we’re allowed to say and do. It very much does not mean our freedom to do anything.
        With that said, it’s really interesting watching Musk try his Innovate And Fail Quickly engineering strategy on a platform where trust in the platform is the platform’s value.
        Mastodon’s okay. I’ve been on it since just after it began. It feels like Twitter felt in the beginning, only a bit more segmented since there are instances that don’t intercommunicate. But more generally, it feels like the internet as a whole in about 2002. Small conversations, small communities, and, yeah, the sort of thing where you could host a more or less usable instance on an ESP32 and still get to reply to Neil Gaiman from your little self-hosted instance.

    4. Only free speech for one person, Musk. Musk is not a genius or your savior. He’s a bloke from a well to do family that got very lucky after being sacked from paypal for being crap at his job.

    1. Twitter has never been anything but a _bad_ reimplementation of IRC.

      Musk has clarified the terminology by referring to himself as head twit.
      So the debate has ended: twits are the stockholders, twats are the users.

  1. Personally I have seen more openness since Musk. The prior overlords we’re censoring and that is wrong. Is your move off Twitter simply because you like censoring? Afraid of openess?

    1. They liked it better when it was openly run by the state department and FBI and homeland security. Musk ain’t no messiah, but the fact that they didn’t see that it was a huge joke before is ridiculous. Really slow.

      1. As I get older, I realize more and more places where Gresham’s Law applies, and this is definitely one: bad speech drives out good.
        If you don’t stop the bullying pretty soon all you have is the bullies. It’ll be interesting to see how long that takes on twitter. Mastodon has its own issues, but moderation is crowdsourced, which is not infallible and doesn’t scale well, but it does mean that individuals who piss enough people off end up vanishing, and whole groups of individuals that get together to make their own abusive bully instance (kiwifarms) also end up getting cut off.

    2. Twitter exists over 14 years, Musk owns it for over two weeks – he simply didn’t have time to face real issues with “free speech” in tweets not to mention consequences of such. Give him at least a year before you call it “Elon Era” and 4 years before you start to compare his Twitter with “pre Elon Twitter”.

      1. I can’t quite tell if dnvr’s comment is sarcasm or not…

        Either way, that YouTube thumb is ridiculous and looks like the “All millionaires know this one simple trick” clickbait that continues to be a burden on the information ecosystem. I guess the fact they they still exist means the business model nets a positive cash flow.

  2. Good idea: Move to Mastodon, and use ESP32 for toots

    Bad idea: Use ESP32 and DDOS Twitter servers, so that people have no other choice but to move to Mastodon

    Evil idea: Place those ESP32 on every starbucks, college campus, airport, and any other free internet places, so that Twitter has no choice but to ban those IP ranges globally

    There are a bunch of ex Twitter Engineers, willing to help with the improvement of such ideas. We can make it clear that we dont like the new “Administration”.

    We could use this oportunity to teach someone a lesson.

    1. Moron.

      The only reason twitter is anything is because that’s were morons go to get their attention fix. With 1000 replacements being started none will get critical mass.
      Even the fired censors will be back on twitter next week, bitching and moaning, but there. What are they going to do, agree with each other on Fark 24/7?

      DDOS isn’t new or useful. Also how many Engineers were fired? Mostly management and censors so far. They’ll do well trying to DDOS.

      Smart people never posted on twitter. What’s to gain by posting your thoughts to be mined for future thought crime?
      In 20 years that furry joke could get you fired. Frankenfurter is ‘stunning and brave’ now, better not have made fun and work for someone with a stick in an uncomfortable place.

  3. Frankly twitter was spiraling down and was already past the ‘ground floor’ of mainstream corporate BS.
    And Musk clearly has no clue what to do and twitter is basically soon to be dead.
    I mean he has to recoup all those billions, but the only way to do it seems to make the place truly undesirable, and without people.. what then? He will be condemned to sell Tesla shares until that is dead too, or to declare bankruptcy of Twitter.
    So my advise to Musk is to make that thing implode ASAP. And now I’m left wondering if that is what he has already started doing. If he is it seem to me the wise and only decision.

    44 billion for a thing worth maybe 300 million max.. sigh.

  4. My dictionary tell me toot is slang for cocaine and for snorting cocaine.

    “informal a snort of a drug, especially cocaine. ”

    note: I’m just the messenger, I did not make this up

  5. Total number of active twitter users since the Musk take over has risen and growth is fastest amongst US based individuals. Even before the take over the number of verified accounts was about 1/1000th of the total active monthly user base. It is that large base, potential audience, that attracts revenue over the long term and will continue to do so. Musk knows exactly what he is doing, not that I can be bothered using my twitter account or any other similar service anymore. The novelty of compressing useful knowledge into a very limited space faded away long ago. These days it is so easy and affordable to host your own website then push new content across to to ensure it is retained for as long as possible. I also recommend that people donate to that organisation, they provide a valuable public service.

  6. Anyone upset about one rich white guy giving a stupid amount of his OWN money to a bunch of other rich people in exchange for ownership of an organization thinks far too highly of themselves. Twitter was never yours to decide what to do with. It has never been the city square of rights and opinions and public discourse. It just can’t fit that description.

  7. This is all idiotic. All he is trying to do is enable the ability for us to talk through our discourse, and not be so divided. We are now a society of lemming who are not even able to risk to be slightly discomforted to work through our discourse.

  8. I heard there is another new SM (Social Media, not Sado…) platform called Frytter (I guess because that is what you’re doing with your time when you use it). Posts are called “fahts,” because, like the hero of Shawshank Redemption, they disappear “like a xxxx in the wind” after you post them…unless they are particularly…you know…smelly!

  9. People aren’t seeking enlightenment. They’re seeking government-compelled association (or dissociation). And they’re seeking government taking(against whatever platform is involved) to make it happen. Trouble is, they’re insisting that the government compulsion match their own personal agenda, when they aren’t the only voters with an agenda.

    The right to free speech means I get to talk.
    The right to free association means you can’t be compelled to listen.
    The right to free association *also* means that a platform owner can’t be compelled to publish my speech.

    Fortunately, it also means that I am not required to only use one platform. I can use, find, or make other platforms.

  10. The speech is free, and nobody can stop you.

    However, convincing the owner of some platform to exercise his right to associate with you by publishing your speech costs whatever the owner believes it’s worth. If you and the owner can agree, the owner then uses his resources to fulfill the agreement. If not, you merely find a different megaphone, or build your own, or do without.

    Everybody has the right to free speech and free association. But, in the US, there’s no duty to bear the burden of propagating another’s speech…

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