Why the Fediverse Is Better

October 28, 2022

Hey Internet.

With the recent change in ownership over at Twitter, the Fediverse is once again experiencing a surge of new users. Who will stay and who's just checking it out is anyone's guess, but I wanted to take a moment to explain to you why I think that the Fediverse is better than traditional social media.

This is hardly the first time I've spoken (or written) about the Fediverse. In fact, I made a video about it about a year ago, but I've gained more experience since then, and hope that perhaps I might be able to help some newcomers by sharing it.

Unlike traditional social media, the Fediverse is not a monolithic entity that is controlled by a single company. It's a network of services that are owned and operated largely by a community of volunteers. The Fediverse is a very rich tapestry, but it can be kind of overwhelming at first. If you're jumping ship from (or just familiar with) Twitter, I suggest looking into Mastodon, as it's the most Twitter-like service. If you want a more complete picture of what the Fediverse has to offer, fediverse.party is a pretty decent starting point. I personally prefer Friendica over Mastodon, but that's just personal preference.

I want you to take a minute to think about something. Imagine if Twitter users could seamlessly communicate with YouTube users or Facebook users without having to sign up for accounts on each of those services. "Madness" you say? Well, yes and no. These services will likely never be able to do this, but the Fediverse has equivalents to all of these things. As mentioned before, Mastodon is much like Twitter. PeerTube is a federated video hosting service that is much like YouTube, and I find that Friendica is somewhat similar to early versions of Facebook. Because of the magic of federation, they're all interconnected. A Mastodon or Friendica user for instance, can subscribe to, view and comment on a PeerTube channel without ever leaving their own service.

Because there's no central server, you'll need to pick one (sometimes called an instance or node) to register with. This can be something of a daunting task, but fear not: if you find you don't like your server's admin team and/or policies, you can always just move to another one. You're not locked in. They're all interconnected (for the most part) so you aren't restricted to just communicating with people on the server you register with. If you're nerdy (like me) you can try running your own server, and even make it available to family and friends.

The links I've provided above should help you in finding a server, but if you find you need additional help, feel free to reach out to me by plain old-fashioned e-mail and I can try to give you a hand if you need.

"Once I've picked an registered with a server, that's it, right?"

Well, no. Traditional social media is run by an algorithmâ„¢ that essentially spies on everything you do. It does this so that it can put things in your feed to try to keep you engaged. This is how they make their money: by keeping you on the service so that they can keep feeding you ads. The Fediverse is different. It doesn't do anything to deliberately keep you hooked. You have to find people and hashtags to follow, otherwise your feed's going to be pretty barren. You'll get out of it what you put in. That being said, here are a few accounts that might help you to get started:

Hopefully, this will give you a more solid foundation to start your exploration of the Fediverse. It can be a bit overwhelming, but I promise it can be a pretty great community when you get the hang of it.

Have a good one.

Edit - November 1, 2022

Two things I forgot to mention:

  1. It's also a good idea when you sign up to make a post with the #introduction hashtag introducing yourself. Here's what mine looks like.
  2. Fedi.Tips has a website with a lot of useful tips for new and experienced users alike. I hightly recommend giving it a look.