Is Your Future Distributed? Welcome to the Fediverse!

Originally published at: Is Your Future Distributed? Welcome to the Fediverse! - TidBITS

A growing set of services let users on independently operated servers interlink with standard, open-source protocols for microblogging, photo sharing, and dozens of other purposes. Could the Fediverse be a solution to the ugliness of commercial service algorithms designed to drive outrage and titillation?


While on the subject of federated social networks, does anyone know of a federated equivalent to Facebook?

Mastodon (and most of the non-federated free-speech social networks) seem to be following the Twitter model - posting short messages to be seen by subscribers. Sort of a wide-area version of iMessage.

But Facebook (at least the Facebook of 10 years ago, when I was using it and when it was still fun) is different. It also allows sharing of long-form content (like blog posts), photo sharing (albums your friends can view), other kinds of shared data (e.g. leaderboards for connected games and (in the old days) the ability to personalize a home page for your friends to see, with more than just a picture and a name.

I’ve been out of the social network loop for a long time, for reasons well beyond the scope of this message, so I don’t know if anybody has created a system with features like the FB of old. If there is such a system, I’d love to know about it.


I’m very interested in responses to your query too. I’ve lived a pretty happy and fulfilled life without paying any attention to Twitter, so Mastadon - while appealing in some ways - doesn’t hold a lot of interest. But I have maintained a Facebook presence, largely to keep track of far-flung acquaintances, and to some degree the activities of musician friends. With virtually nobody maintaining personal email mailing lists anymore, Facebook has become my primary way of finding out about local musical performances and events.

But these days my FB feed seems to be 90% advertising and “selected for you” junk, and I’ve been teetering on the edge of closing that account, were it not for the fact that about once a month I find out about a concert or a talk or some public activity of interest that I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise. I’d love to find a new channel for this information that lets me filter out most of the garbage.

I’ve never used it but I think Facebook is what Friendica is modeled after. Another is diaspora* but l think it is more distinct.

I haven’t seen any platforms following Facebook’s model of two-way Friending, If I accept your Friend request, we both can access whatever each other shares with Friends. Newer platforms are one-way, I Follow you but you may choose to not Follow me. By default, Mastodon accounts have “open” Follows (like Twitter), anyone can immediately Follow you, you get a notification they have done so; if you have a problem with them, at any time you can remove them as a Follower and Block them from seeing what you post. But you can also set your account to require Follow requests, people ask to Follow you and you can accept them or not. Posts can be set to be visible to Followers-only by default or on a post-by-post basis (but like Direct Messages, don’t think of them as truly private, they can also be read by any instance administrator with at least one intended recipient). I assume these Mastodon features are shared by many other systems using ActivityPub.

1 Like

@phfweb @cwilcox

I would suggest Manton added support for Activity.Pub a few months back and has been improving it. What’s great about is that it has support for both short or long posts as well as photos. That’s for the basic $5/month plan. $10/month also adds support for video and creating podcasts. is great in that you have your blog which can be at your domain name or just at your username, mine is Posts can be any length at all. Blog themes are based on Hugo and you can pick from community created themes or create your own. In addition to the standard blog your posts also appear on the timeline for anyone that follows you. So it has a social/timeline aspect for those that want that. And of course, comments are built in. In addition to following accounts in your timeline, there’s also support for following other websites and mastodon accounts on that timeline too, almost like a built in RSS reader.

It works very well from the website or you can use apps that are available for Mac, iOS, and Android.

There’s also a family/team plan if you want to use it for a small group of shared posts.

1 Like

A post was merged into an existing topic: Mastodon: A New Hope for Social Networking

Re: Mastodon
I like the fact that there is a lot of variety in the servers, depending on who is controlling them. Some will be like the wild west but others will be tightly controlled and more friendly. It is early days but I think we will see some good enhancements down the road.

I am not a fan of social media companies that make money by amplifying conflict to get eyeballs for ads.

I want to like and recently signed up for a paid plan to give myself some options to experiment but can’t figure out what it is useful for vs. Mastodon. I’d love thoughts from folks here.

1 Like