The crucial mistake of social media was trying to force people with wildly incompatible views to co-exist in the same space. In real-life, I can choose who I associate with. Now, I’m most certainly not looking for an echo chamber. I need my views to be questioned and debated, but it must be by people capable of civil discourse. We should discuss, we should reassess, we should admit when we’re wrong. That is not the status quo online.
Traditional social media does not promote diversity of thought, it is for all intents and purposes an echo chamber, albeit, one that encourages piling on passers-by who possess different opinions. Mastodon feels much closer to hanging out with reasonable friends and acquaintances, whereas Twitter is equivalent to having 15 racists drunk uncles assigned to follow you wherever you go.
Hutchins’ piece describes my own experience with Mastodon. Do take the time to read the whole article linked above. It will help you understand why the new emerging model for social media is so fundamentally different (and in my mind better) than what has gone before in the ad-supported versions.