Exploring the Fediverse

I posted a bit ago about my decision to begin backing away from social media, or at least to try and stop relying on it so much from a blog/author standpoint. Since then, I came across an explanation of what’s behind some of the efforts to replace The-Social-Media-Platform-Formerly-Known-As-Twitter.

The Fediverse.

I hadn’t really understood the mechanics behind it, and I still don’t, but I have enough of a handle on it now to at least be interested. The best way I’ve heard it described is as follows: If I’ve got a gmail account, and you’ve got a hotmail account (seriously?), we can still email each other. There’s no limitation on me only being able to get emails from people with gmail accounts. Likewise, in the Fediverse, social media platforms share with each other. Imagine if my post on Facebook showed up in your Twitter feed, and you could comment on it with your Twitter handle.

It’s still early days yet, but this is the first new innovation in social media that actually gives me hope for its future, and my future use of it. Enough so that I’ve gone and made an account on Mastodon (one of the largest Fediverse platforms out there at the moment, as I understand. As I’ve tried to use the service, I’ve noticed a number of issues that will need to be overcome to have it get wider use, I believe. First, it’s got a clunky onboarding process. You sign up, and then you have to select a “server,” and that’s confusing enough that I think a bunch of people will give up right there. But even if they don’t, once you’re on, actually finding other people to follow is difficult. There’s no way to scan and see if any of your friends are already on there. From what I gather, you just sort of have to find out if someone’s there on your own, and then add them.

And will this really do away with the issues I’ve got with social media? Well, to answer that, I’d need to specify what my issues are. First, I don’t like all that information being concentrated in one or two companies. Facebook has far too much knowledge of who I am and what I think, and they can sell that knowledge to profit from it. Me no likely. Breaking up social media across a number of different platforms might help solve some of this.

Second, I don’t like the nastiness social media seems to engender. For a long time, I believed the “real life names” on Facebook would stop people from being as big of jerks as they are when they can be anonymous. It turns out that it does stop it, but only to a point. The fact seems to be it’s easier to be mean and say mean things when you don’t have to see the person you’re saying the mean things to. I’m not sure this is a pitfall social media can get around.

But hey, I realize there are often things that happen that don’t go at all the way I think they’ll go. So for now, you can find me at https://mastodon.social/@bmoorebooks

Wanna be Fediverse Friends?

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