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 mastodon.social or mastodon.online, 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:
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.
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 exercise.cafe for people interested in sharing and discussing exercise and fitness-related activities. Yesterday, I set up a Misskey instance at wao.wtf 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!
After spending a long time researching various options for MoodleNet last year, I recently revisited the Fediverse with fresh eyes. I enjoy using Mastodon regularly, and have written about it here before, so didn’t include it in this roundup.
Here’s some of the social networks I played around with recently, in no particular order. It’s not meant to be a comprehensive overview, just what grabbed my attention given the context in which I’m currently working. That’s why I’ve called it a ‘field trip’ 😉
Weird name but pretty awesome social network that’s very popular in Japan. Like MoodleNet and Mastodon, it’s based on the ActivityPub protocol. In fact, if you’re a Mastodon user, it will feel somewhat familiar.
Things I like:
Drive (2TB storage!)
Lots of options for customisation, including ‘dark mode’