Open Thinkering


The Fediverse is made up of cities, towns, and villages

Fediverse symbol with emojis representing cities, towns, and villages

It’s been great to see so many people flood into the Fediverse over the last week or so. It’s mainly been people fleeing Twitter and signing up for Mastodon accounts at or, which are both instances run by Eugen Rochko, the founder, CEO and lead developer of Mastodon. He said earlier today that, since October 27th, there have been almost 200,000 new sign-ups, which is huge.

While it’s fantastic news that people are experimenting with Mastodon as an alternative to Twitter, there’s two concerns here:

  1. Newcomers default to the two ‘official’ instances — this leads to increased pressure on the server, which is run by volunteers and donations rather than Big Tech. Also, the experience in terms of the local timeline is vastly different on a server with tens or hundreds of thousands of users, compared to tens or hundreds of people.
  2. Mastodon is not the Fediverse — the thing that makes the Fediverse is the underlying standard on which is it is based. Mastodon implements this standard, ActivityPub, in its own particular way, and with additional technologies and approaches. The problem with one platform becoming much larger than others is that it gets to dictate the way that standards are implemented.

I had already set up a Pixelfed instance to run for people interested in sharing and discussing exercise and fitness-related activities. Yesterday, I set up a Misskey instance at for testing purposes. I’m paying for it myself and haven’t actually got the go-ahead from other WAO members to be running it, to be perfectly honest. It may stay up for days, weeks, months, or years. But if you’d like an account, let me know.

What makes the Fediverse unique, different, and resilient is lots of instances of different sizes (cities/towns/villages) running different software. Why not have a look to see if you can perhaps set up your own instance — it’s easy with managed hosting!

3 thoughts on “The Fediverse is made up of cities, towns, and villages

  1. “Newcomers default to the two ‘official’ instances”

    Do they, though? It’s 30k new users in the past month, less than and combined. Still too much, but could be worse.

    I suspect that, in the app, is the only instance with open registration available in many languages. We need brave admins willing to run an instance, keep it open for registrations and have it linked from the main website/registration funnel!

  2. Having explored Mastodon back in 2017, and used it for a while, but being underwhelmed, I tried to re-engage as Musk moved on Twitter. One instance I had chosen then is now a porn site, the other has closed. All my posts and contacts have disappeared into the ether.
    I understand and like the principle of the fediverse, but it’s hard to move to another instance if yours just disappears! I can understand why people would be attracted to the large, ‘official’ instances, as they are far likely to experience what I experienced in the future!

    1. Hey Tony, good to hear from you. The Fediverse is in the web, so like any website has to be looked after and tended to. I could show you a whole host of formerly legit (non-Fediverse) sites that are now spam/gambling/porn.

      You make a good point about the longevity of instances, though. FYI those listed on have signed up to the Mastodon Server Covenant

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