What is the Fediverse?

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The Fediverse is a giant Network of social media services.
There are platforms for microblogging, blogging, photoblogging, videohosting and much more and they are all interconnected or federated.
So you only need one account to follow users on any of the platforms.

Imagine

Imagine Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & Co were all part of one giant network. That's basically what the Fediverse is, except the parts are less well known, free software & federated replacements to those.

In the Fediverse you can use your "Twitter" account to interact with "Facebook" users, share "Instagram" posts, comment under "Youtube" videos, listen to "Bandcamp" music, follow "Blogger" blogs, take part in "Reddit" discussions and more.

How does it compare to traditional social media?

Features

The Fediverse and its projects let you make your own social media part of a bigger network.

It has many advantages over traditional social media like Twitter and Instagram. Due to its decentralized nature it's possible to create circles of more tiny social media with users to hang out with. Hosting your own instance lets you make your own rules. Most instance owners maintain an instance with their own money for the sake of having their own platform and not for making money from you by serving ads as an example.

The Fediverse innovates on what has worked before and adds many new features. A commonly supported feature is custom emojis. Similarly to Discord, it lets administrators add their own (even animated) emoji. The Fediverse also lets you decide who gets to see your posts: with so called scopes, you can decide whether only the users you mention, your followers or the public gets to see them.

Morals

Traditional social media is neither social nor media. It is not made for you, it is made to exploit you and it is full of misleading ads and fake news.
This is because the aim of traditional social media is to make a whole lot of money.
The aim of the Fediverse is to benefit the people.
The aim of traditional social media is to control and steer the users.
The aim of the Fediverse is to empower the users to control the Fediverse.

Downsides

Compared to traditional social media there are also some downsides:

  • The Fediverse has a much smaller user base than other platforms, so if you're primarily looking for a wide audience then it might not be for you.
  • Not all Fediverse projects are at the same stage of development and some important functions one projects has, the other might still be missing.
  • Fediverse projects and instances are run by volunteers with not a lot of money behind them. Worst case: A project might no longer be maintained or an instance might close.
  • There are some instances that allow hate-speech, fake news or worse. Make sure you don't end up on one of them.

Terminology

  • Your account or identity has a unique address called a handle and is hosted on one of the many servers, also called instances.
  • An instance is basically a small social network hosted on one server. Each instance can have its own set of rules as for what content is allowed. You can also host your own instance. Each instance runs one software.
  • The software used on an instance is essential for the user experience and possibilities.
  • Many software projects use the same protocol which enables instances to communicate with each other. Most software projects use Activity Pub. Some projects might not have full federation with other projects yet.
  • The Fediverse (federated universe) is the sum of all accounts, on all instances using any software, communicating with any protocol.
    The Fediverse includes more than just social media projects. Any software that federates using one of the protocols is part of the Fediverse.
  • @PaulaToThePeople@ClimateJustice.social is an example for a handle. ClimateJustice.social is the instance the account is on. The software it uses is Mastodon. Thanks to the ActivityPub protocol it can follow accounts on other instances that use e.g. Mastodon, GNU Social or Pixelfed software.

How do I get an account?

Main article: How do I get an account?

If you just want to get to know the Fediverse experience you can start by creating a profile on mastodon.social or mastodon.online.
You can later move instances or create accounts on different instances and projects.
For more info on finding the right instance and creating an account click the link above.

Further Reading

What are Fediverse projects?
What people usually tell you about the Fediverse
Getting started with your Fediverse account
Mobile apps
Best practices
Fediverse - the advanced page on the Fediverse
Pervasive Labor Union - Fed Up! - A bit on the politics, problems, and promise of the Fediverse


External Links

Main article: Fediverse weblinks

Fediverse Town The forum for questions about the Fediverse

Fediverse Guides

The Fediverse: the distributed social network
Guide to the Fediverse
DE: Fediverse – So geht gutes Social Media
DE: Das Fediverse
DE: Das Fediverse – die bessere Social-Media-Welt?