I was away during the weekend when the news that Elon finally bought Twitter. Since then, there has been a steady flow of people finally checking out Mastodon.
This is good news but its interesting how people are talking about it, literally a replacement for twitter. This is a mistake and will burn people.
Mastodon is part of the Fediverse, the fediverse is a number of different interlinking services using the W3C’s ActivityPub as the interlinking protocol. There has been a bunch of news stories which have highlighted this which is good, but too few are and think of Mastodon as a straight replacement without all the things which make it different.
I have seen a bunch of complaints including too much choice in which instance to join. There is a bunch of reasons why this makes sense including more robustness to take over, but I’m more interested in the fact there is friction.
Friction to encourage people to slow down, think and act with some agency. Yes its painful when you are use to frictionless centralised services which happily lead you down a path which suits their business model. Having to actually read the rules of the instances/servers, what’s not/allowed, whats the manners, etc. Is important and makes for a better solution than everyone must abide by one rules. We already know scale is the enemy of humanity (well thats my thoughts) and the fediverse allows for things I personally find vaguer and distasteful if you look for it. But also delightful things which can be joyful if you look for it.
Some advice for those new to the fediverse. Plus my own quick thoughts from things I have tooted over the last week.
- Don’t be a dick (this a rule for life to be fair)
- Read the instance rules
- If you don’t agree with the instance rules, move to another one. Its made easy for you.
- Consider the other fediverse services. For example you can follow someone on Pixelfed with a mastodon client.
- Support the development of the lesser known fediverse services like Pixelfed, funkwhale, Bookwrym, etc.
- Verification is free but you need to do some work, each instance and service will have different ways to support this. For example some of the scholar ones require you to link to different papers you have written. Others might need much more. Generally its done via the Microformats & W3C’s rel=”me”.
- Get use to the email like username, its super clear who you mean. Get out of the twitter mindset.
- Talk, link and expose others to the fediverse.
- Setup 2fa right from the start, what you waiting for?
- Don’t just look for Mastodon and install the first Mastodon app, there is a rich ecosystem of desktop and mobile apps. Its what makes the fediverse so powerful.
- Finally! – I recommend you should follow my toots using @email@example.com, @firstname.lastname@example.org, @email@example.com (of course this is just a suggestion)