Something I’ve been interested in for quite a while now is the various forms of distributed social media that have been cropping up. A number of years ago I looked at one called Diaspora, and whilst the principle was great the implementation at the time was a bit flaky. Not only that, there needs to be a critical mass of users to make it worth while and it was still all a bit technical for the average person.
Various other systems came along, and more importantly new protocols were developed for sharing the information. But still, trying to get people to use it was always the issue. With open source projects you bring in the tech savvy people who like their new toys, and with distributed networks like this you also get the interest of those who value privacy. But most just want to socialise and don’t particularly care about privacy concerns.
Then Elon Musk bought Twitter.
Ironically, this seems to have brought the whole distributed social networking into the lime light. Over the last couple of years a protocol called ActivityPub seems to have become more standard than others, and many of the various platforms have started to use it. This has unified what is commonly known as the Fediverse (Federated Universe). If you want to use Diaspora, or have been on that platform since the start, you can follow someone on Mastodon which is more Twitter like, or Friendica which has more of a Facebook feel to it.
With Elon buying Twitter, a lot of people have jumped (around a million at last count, tho out of 200+ million active users it isn’t really a large amount) and he is making a real pigs ear of things at the moment. But it has meant an influx of people joining services in the Fediverse, which could see it reach a critical mass.
So why am I writing about this on my droid blog? Well, the beauty of all this is that it is open source and you can run your own instance of one of the many pieces of software that can join in the Fediverse. I decided to run my own initially, but then I had the thought that I could give a platform for all the droidbuilders to take part in. After messing with Hubzilla for a bit, I wasn’t overly keen on it (tho may come back to look at it again later) and gave Friendica a try. The user experience was a lot simpler than others I’d tried and it was a very easy install. I did have to make it harder by implementing SAML on the Droidbuilders UK Portal so that people who already had an account on the portal didn’t have to create yet another username/password.
Which means now, if you’re on any Fediverse platform, be it a Friendica server, a Mastodon server, or any one of dozens of other options, you can follow me at:
I’m going to be keeping an eye on things in the fediverse. Its a bit wild west, but also small town at the moment, but I’ve got high hopes.