Ars Technica: “As Elon Musk’s Category 5 tweetstorm continues, the once-obscure Mastodon social network has been gaining over 1,000 new refugees per hour, every hour, bringing its user count to about eight million. Joining as a user is pretty easy. More than enough ex-Twitterers are happy finding a Mastodon instance via joinmastodon.org, getting a list of handles for their Twitter friends via Movetodon, and carrying on as before. But what new converts may not realize is that Mastodon is just the most prominent node in a much broader movement to change the nature of the web. With a core goal of decentralization, Mastodon and its kin are “federated,” meaning you are welcome to put up a server as a home base for friends and colleagues (an “instance”), and users on all instances can communicate with users on yours. The most common metaphor is email, where yahoo.com, uchicago.edu, and condenast.com all host a local collection of users, but anybody can send messages to anybody else via standard messaging protocols. With cosmic ambitions, the new federation of freely communicating instances is called “the Fediverse.” I started using Mastodon in mid-2017 when I faintly heard the initial buzz. I found that the people who inhabited a world whose first major selling point was its decentralized network topology were geeky and countercultural. There were no #brands. Servers were (and are) operated by academic institutions, journalists, hobbyists, and activists in the LGBTQ+ community. The organizers of one instance, scholar.social, run an annual seminar series, where I have presented. The decentralization aspect that was such a selling point for me was also a core design goal for Mastodon and the predecessors it built upon, such as GNU Social. In an interview with Time, lead developer Eugen Rochko said that he began development of Mastodon in 2016 because Twitter was becoming too centralized and too important to discourse. “Maybe it should not be in the hands of a single corporation,” he said. His desire to build a new system “was generally related to a feeling of distrust of the top-down control that Twitter exercised.” [Note: connect with beSpacific on Mastodon – updated daily!]
…As with many a web app, Mastodon is a duct taping together of components and standards; hosting or interacting with a Mastodon instance requires some familiarity with all of these. Among them, and the headliner at the heart of The Fediverse, is the ActivityPub standard of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which specifies how actors on the network are defined and interact…”
Sorry, comments are closed for this post.