The Fediverse is a web of federated social networks. Powered by the ActivityPub protocol, they allow for interoperability between them. Here is a fantastic demo of it in action today
Currently there are many federated equivalents to popular sites people use:
- For YouTube there is PeerTube
- For Instagram there is Pixelfed
- For Twitter there is Mastodon, Pleroma and Misskey
- For Facebook there is Frendica
- For Podcasts & Music there is Funkwhale
- For Reddit there is Lemmy
Continuing to use mainstream social networks is becoming more and more untenable each day. None of them operate for the good of their users. This has already created a dire crisis for free speech online. This doesn’t mean we should all run and hide. It is vital that we overcome chilling effects to ensure that voices can be heard. As Peterson explains below, it is better to pay the price for speaking than not speaking.
Things can be better this time
Federated social networks have a significant set of advantages. Simply being aware that they exist gives you power. You are not required to have an account or maintain a presence to access information on these sites. For example, you can browse the #Censorship hashtag for any instance you choose. This works with any tag. Don’t want to browse? You can change that same link to an RSS feed by adding ‘.rss’ to the end.
This is an immense improvement from current social media sites; anyone with an RSS reader can access all the same information as anyone in the network without having to give up privacy.
How do I start?
For most instances it’s as easy as creating an account on any other website. An instance is like a home. There are features to migrate accounts if you like as well. Your presence doesn’t need to be permanent and I would encourage you to have multiple identities.
Check out the fediverse.party portal to pick an instance: https://fediverse.party/en/portal/servers/
These are instances listed by interest or focus. Be aware that each instance has it’s own rules and culture. People are generally friendly, but like anywhere else, try to be kind in turn.
You can make a post with #introduction to introduce yourself to the network, this is a handy way to get followers and meet like-minded people. #askfediverse is a very useful hashtag to get answers to questions that people might know. Each instance has a public directory that users may choose to be listed in. For Mastodon it will be the instance site + /explore. So for mastodon.social it’s https://mastodon.social/explore
Getting the most out of it
By getting your information from the fediverse, you can avoid having to share twitter/facebook links if the same information is available there. This helps promote a more resilient online information ecosystem. The software running these instances is open source and can be run yourself. This can be a challenging task but is very useful for people who want to have complete control by having an instance for just themselves.
Follow the Libre Solutions Network on the Fediverse.
A note on privacy
The Fediverse is an open network, it’s important to keep in mind this is for broadcasting public information. By leaving big tech platforms behind it is essential to redefine what we believe should and shouldn’t be shared publicly.
If you’re looking for a secure platform to communicate sensitive information I would recommend checking out XMPP & Matrix.
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