Wow, what a year!
I’ll save you the boring details…well, most of them – I have something in particular I’d like to discuss today: joining The Federation.
No, not that Federation! Seriously! That Federation doesn’t even exist (yet).
I’m talking about the “federated universe”, or “Fediverse”, which has been in the news a bit recently with the shenanigans going on at Twitter (has it really only been 6 weeks since the takeover?!).
I’ve now abandoned Twitter and have hung out my shingle on Mastodon.
Note: don’t worry, I won’t provide a manifesto on why I’ve abandoned Twitter. Suffice it to say, I won’t be going back, and I’m very happy on Mastodon at this time.
For those new to the concept, the Fediverse is not a “Twitter replacement”, it’s really just all the servers online running an open protocol call “ActivityPub”, which is published/supported by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Similarly, Mastodon, while a microblogging platform like Twitter, is not a “drop in replacement” for Twitter. It has some very basic differences “baked in” at the design level which are beyond the scope of this post. Mastodon is also not the Fediverse – it is just a part of it.
The CliffsNotes version is that ActivityPub allows servers to talk to each other and clients to present a data model that allows sharing data across different server types.
Imagine if you could directly subscribe to/follow an Instagram account from Twitter, then like, repost, and respond to Instagram content from within your Twitter client.
For the various social networks which support ActivityPub, that sort of cross-network interaction is supported and designed into the protocol. Additionally, no single person or company (or group of people or companies) owns the Fediverse.
Me being me, I have created my own vanity Mastodon instance (server) which is the home for myself, WOzFest, and my Applesauce Fluxes image bot. I’ve actually consolidated that Mastodon server with my WordPress blog and image-posting bot code on the OCI instance I’ve discussed previously, in an attempt to simplify my life – of course, instead, it has introduced some complexities while I got things sorted, but it does make sense moving forward.
I honestly do feel better not being on Twitter and being on an open standard, non-algorithmic social network. Only about ⅓ of the accounts I followed on Twitter have migrated to Mastodon (or at least advertised the fact they’ve migrated), but I certainly feel it’s fulfilling my retro community social networking urges already.
I’m also considering the following ActivityPub servers (self-hosted or externally hosted) for my various needs:
- OwnCast (streaming, to replace Twitch [WOzFest livestreams])
- Write Freely (blogging, to replace WordPress [this blog])
- Mobilizon (events, to replace Facebook Events [for WOzFest])
For now, I’ll settle into Mastodon and possibly roll out the above useful (to me) instances/accounts, and hope to see many more do so as well across my many interests.
I’d love to hear about others’ experience with the Fediverse – feel free to comment here or reach out to me on the Fediverse: @email@example.com.
Note: this blog is also available as a Fediverse account to follow: @firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 8 December: manually reviewed my list of Twitter follows and I’ve found some more on Mastodon, so it’s not ¼, but ⅓ that have accounts there (out of a total of about 200).