I’ve thought about it a bit and the Fediverse has been around for a while now. There are some really cool applications being made to replace the mainstream ones, but they just aren’t taking off.

Why do you guys think that might be? Ease of use? Addiction to the mainstream platforms? Lack of marketing?

@yogthos
265M

I think it depends on the definition of taking off. I see the Fediverse as a huge success with millions of people using it every day. At this point it’s proven itself to be both viable and sustainable. I only see it growing going forward.

The Fediverse hasn’t gone mainstream, but I think that’s a different discussion. Fediverse primarily attracts people who are dissatisfied with the status quo for one reason or another. The existing mainstream platforms obviously work well enough, so there is no reason to expect average users to start migrating from them.

@0x1C3B00DA
45M

IRC is also sustainable and still being hosted today, but I don’t think most people want the fediverse to be just sustainable. They want it to be a fully capable alternative to the big platforms.

The existing mainstream platforms obviously work well enough, so there is no reason to expect average users to start migrating from them.

I half agree and half disagree with that. Obviously, you’re right that they’re good enough that most people won’t migrate away. But I also think most people are dissatisfied with them and want alternatives. It’s just that the fediverse isn’t providing what people want in an alternative. On Facebook/Twitter it’s a combination of family/friends and news sites, but the fediverse is pretty vehemently against news publishers posting here. People want to follow content creators, but the fediverse has chased away multiple large personalities.

@yogthos
165M

I completely agree that it would be good for Fediverse to keep growing. I’m just noting that sustainability is an important milestone.

I do agree that network effects play a role as well. People go where their friends are and where there’s more content. That said, I don’t think the Fediverse lacks content creators, there are plenty of people producing content all the time including some well known personalities.

The reason Fediverse got popular in the first place is because people got sick of commercialization and were looking for alternatives. So I don’t think it makes sense to chase commercial content to attract users because getting away from that was the whole point.

@0x1C3B00DA
35M

So I don’t think it makes sense to chase commercial content to attract users because getting away from that was the whole point.

I don’t want that at all. I just meant that that’s what I think the large majority of people on the centralized services are looking for. But I’ve never seen a PeerTube video that had anything near the production value of some of the basic YouTube channels I watch. I’m thinking about game streamers on Twitch/YouTube or culture critics posting 15-20 min video essays. And if there’s no way for them to make money on PeerTube, then I doubt we ever will see them crossposting or migrating.

Kinetix
95M

Peertube’s really still brand new and hasn’t got much critical mass, but that doesn’t mean people can’t make money on Peertube - the platform paying the creator shouldn’t be all that necessary, as, from my layman’s understanding of things, those ‘content creators’ have a variety of income sources, Youtube income is pretty small for some.

If one of those ‘influencer’-types put a few bucks in to a few Peertube instances and started working on their audience, there could probably be a pretty sizeable chunk of viewing that could start to migrate over. They could continue to put up pointer videos on Youtube, too…

But, is that what we all really want?

Also, I think you’re conflating issues - when you’re saying you don’t want the commercial content, but then complain about the Peertube content being of generally lower production value, where do you think all the snazzy production value comes from?

@0x1C3B00DA
15M

Also, I think you’re conflating issues - when you’re saying you don’t want the commercial content, but then complain about the Peertube content being of generally lower production value, where do you think all the snazzy production value comes from?

I don’t want algorithmic ads rolling in the middle of a person’s sentence, or above every video on index pages like on YouTube. That’s what I mean when I said I don’t want commercial content. There’s a difference in Hollywood production values (or even professional YouTuber production) and what’s on PeerTube. I don’t need huge budget production, I’d just like to see something a little nicer than hobbyists with phone/laptop cameras/mics. Look at the podcasting space. Most of the shows I’ve listened to started by new podcasters at least had decent mics and knew to record in a closet to dampen outside sound.

But there’s no reason for people to put in that level of effort if they’re just doing it for fun. And nobody is going to spend time/money to add even that tiny bit of production if they’re not going to see any kind of return on it. I don’t want to see YouTube recreated; I don’t want to see PeerTube millionaires, but people should be able to make a decent earning.

the platform paying the creator shouldn’t be all that necessary, as, from my layman’s understanding of things, those ‘content creators’ have a variety of income sources, Youtube income is pretty small for some.

Right. They get most of their money from sponsorships, but you can’t get sponsorships on a platform with no viewership.

Kinetix
35M

I don’t want algorithmic ads rolling in the middle of a person’s sentence, or above every video on index pages like on YouTube. That’s what I mean when I said I don’t want commercial content.

I would then ask to please say what you mean: ‘ads’ or ‘intrusive ads’ or whatever it is you actually mean - the content is the thing you’re watching, not necessarily the intrusive ads, and on Youtube I’d argue most of what you’ll find and/or see promoted these days is commercial (for profit). It’s mostly commercial content.

Right. They get most of their money from sponsorships, but you can’t get sponsorships on a platform with no viewership.

I’d argue that’s not the platform’s fault. Viewers can and will follow people and can and will discover things on a variety of platforms. YouTube is a behemoth now, but one doesn’t have to be too old to remember that it didn’t exist not too long ago.

TikTok wasn’t much of a thing mere months ago. Zoom was in very few people’s lingo for several years until the media had a pandemigasm all over it.

How much advertising budget has the fediverse got? 0? So, could take time for it to explode in to the hearts and minds of people like commercial platforms do. Yes, there’s plenty of refinements that could be had and done for user experience, but I don’t think, aside from app knowledge/availability, these are preventing people from ‘migrating’.

Travis Skaalgard
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This is pretty off-topic but I don’t know why everyone thinks Zoom invented group video calls in 2020 suddenly. My work uses Zoom now even though everyone was doing fine with group calls in Skype for Business and/or Teams.

Kinetix
35M

Sounds like strong IT management to me. :face with rolling eyes: Heh!

Happy New Year!

@developred
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@yogthos
65M

I imagine it’s due to the fact that the main reasons to switch are ideological. Corporate social media has a much bigger user base having been around much longer, and that means people there are a part of an existing social network.

Moving to Fediverse means abandoning your existing network and building a new one or trying to convince your friends to move with you. This takes dedication and effort so people need a strong motivation to give them a push. People who care about privacy, dislike ads, don’t like their content curated by algorithms, and so on are the ones taking the plunge. This turns out to be a fairly small percentage of the overall population.

On the flip side, Fediverse is predominantly populated by people who care about these things, and hopefully this culture stays strong as it grows.

Lots of interesting points have been brought up here but a large amount of it can be chalked up to the fact that if your friends aren’t on a platform already, most people can’t be arsed to switch. Also, 90% of the fediverse are either programmers or people like me who are quite deep into the FOSS rabbit hole, so they can’t get their main content there.

art
105M

I think it has taken off. I know more real life peoples on mastodon that I did a year ago. It’s like a nice little opt-out of surveillance capitalism.

And it feels more like the close-knit internet days of yore.

@BforBrian
creator
banned
25M

Unfortunately I don’t know a single person that uses Mastodon. I envy you.

So my personal impressions is that mainstream services are garbage, but that mirrors the mainstream culture that consumes them. If most people want to stay on Instagram or Facebook, I would prefer they do, because as we saw when they did the Instagram Boycott on the 20th, we got a lot of new users, but it brought a lot of toxicity over from Instagram and once again somebody who really wasn’t a bad person at all got bullied off the platform by a small, but loud group of people. I came over here to escape the toxicity of the big social media platforms and found something resembling leftist solidarity. I appreciate that most of these services don’t tolerate bigotry to nearly the same extent as the mainstream services, that I would say often amplify hateful things because controversial content gets prioritized by the algorithms. The reason I like the fediverse is quality, not quantity. Mainstreaming these services would require either conforming to the norms of the mainstream internet culture, or somehow getting the mainstream internet culture to conform to our norms here. Both of these tasks seem pointless. Maybe the goal shouldn’t be total market saturation, but sustainability of the communities we have come to love. I think we get a lot of user share, but more than that we get a lot of really great, friendly and welcoming people for the most part. I think the toxic voices tend to get drowned out over time, because we have tools to filter that out and while we may have shitty things that happen from time to time as will any community, a lot of our instances function as a community and really do feel like a home on the internet.

@marmulak
105M

As far as I’m concerned it has taken off. I come on sites like this and there are all these active users, so people are definitely using them. The reason why other platforms are still more popular is just the network effect. People want to be on platforms where “everyone” is, and sometimes they don’t even want to be on them but have to be. Just imagine what percentage of Facebook’s user base were compelled to use it while otherwise having not interest in such things?

It’s the same story with the Internet and e-mail. Most people avoided them to years until they couldn’t avoid them anymore. Lemmy et al. are nice because the people who are here actually want to be.

Dessalines
admin
105M

Besides the first mover advantage, I’d say the biggest thing is lack of good mobile apps. Most people do social media on their phones nowadays, whereas the biggest sites got popular in a time before that was needed.

I’m not a huge fan of the twitter style of social media, but I might use mastodon or pleroma more if the apps were a bit better. Lemmy also has this problem cause we have no apps released yet, although a few like lemmur are in the works.

@nutomic
admin
55M

Which apps did you try for Mastodon? Tusky is almost perfect in my opinion (though I never tried twitter so I couldnt compare it).

@yogthos
75M

Yeah, I use Tusky as well and quite happy with it. I wonder if it might be worth looking at forking Slide Reddit app and adapting it for Lemmy. Presumably, bulk of the changes would just be around the API calls since Lemmy and Reddit both have very similar UX. Might be less work to take adapt an existing mature app than starting from scratch.

Dreeg Ocedam
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It could even be done by adding lemmy support to slide, similarly to how NewPipe supports peertube alongside Youtube.

Though by doing that we may lose lemmy having its own distinctive style.

@yogthos
45M

If Slide devs are open to it, then it’s probably a good option. It would still be possible to make other apps in the future, and Slide already has its own style that’s not Reddit branded which is a plus.

Twidere is really good for both Twitter and Mastodon, and Fedilab is really good for Mastodon too (but it SUCKS for PeerTube and Pixelfed)

Yeah I love fedilab, even if pixelfed and peertube aren’t great I think its really cool that they are all integrated in to one experience instead of switching a bunch of apps all the time

I’d honestly rather have seperate apps that work flawlessly with the site than one app that works well with Mastodon but doesn’t work well with everything else.

I used fedilab before and started using tusky, both are very great, but for some reason Tusky feels might lighter.

Dessalines
admin
35M

Fedilab, which is really clunky and confusing to me, haven’t tried tusky yet. As @tskaalgard@lemmy.ml twidere is a really great twitter app.

@Txopi
75M

I think that the fediverse has already taken off. It’s not mainstream -perhaps never will be-, but it reached a critical mass and that’s crucial. The content network effect of the commercial social networks is very strong, but don’t forget it also carries drawbacks. Something similar happens with cities: many people want to life there (services, jobs, cultural offer…) but doing so also leads to problems (road traffic congestion, air quality and many more!).

Fediverse has proven it’s viable, is getting more mature and it’s gaining impulse on many different niches. I think these are all good signs. ‘Cities’ are going to exist for a long time (the capital’s machine is very strong), ‘towns’ need to keep working and fitting the needs of the burned migrants (respecting privacy, respecting languages, avoiding harassment…) without repeating the ‘cities’ errors: monetization of free giant services --> tons of adds, massive profilation, lack of privacy, development of addiction thought algorithms…

Let’s see how much the fediverse can grow (technological sovereignty of grass roots, governments…) and where is the equilibrium with the big commercial social networks. I’m sure we are in the beginning of a long and interesting transformation :-)

Metawish
65M

In terms of social media, it comes down to content. I know every time I’ve joined something was because there was enough content that I wanted to look at for me to do daily. Right now, lots of fediverse stuff is about FOSS and tech, which a vast majority of people don’t care too much about. But it is slowly starting to spread, nd facilitating those groups by contributing and allowing to grow will do wonders.

I’d also say if you have friends somewhere, you follow them there. I know that was me for all my mainstream social media joining (other than tumblr, that I got my friends to join and I joined because of the content I found).

But seriously, like the others have said, it’s really taking off and you know its true by how many alternatives there are! Almost every mainstream social network has a fedialt, which, if it wasn’t as popular, wouldn’t exist yet!

@federico3
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  • There are no platforms/client/protocols for meaningful discussions, like NNTP/usenet was, only twitter/reddit/instagram clones. The fediverse often tries to compete with FAANGs on their own turf instead of choosing new paradigms.
  • Interesting content is key. Most platforms don’t have any effective and user-centered search/filter algorithm.
  • Architecture issues: users have to trust random strangers to run a server reliably and securely (or fall for yet another blockchain)

Architecture issues: users have to trust random strangers to run a server reliably and securely (or fall for some blockchain-based scam)

Even though it’s a bit more scary, its actually likely to be more secure. If there are many smaller instance, unless there is a fatal security flaw with the software itself, it is unlikely that more than one instance at a time gets compromised, which leads to much less total damage done than if a GAFAM is hacked (and that happens, recently twitter was hacked , which lead to a bunch of CEO’s account being hacked and being used for a scam).

@federico3
15M

This does not solve the problem of reliability. Also, better solutions are possible: Briar, for example, does not require a server to store and forward (cleartext) messages.

@developred
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@0x1C3B00DA
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I think one of the issues is the tech angle. Everybody uses the federation aspect as a selling point, but:

  • most people don’t care about that
  • it doesn’t work seamlessly in practice

If it worked seamlessly, I think the benefits would be obvious, even to those people who don’t care. But you still need a separate account on every one of these platforms to interact fully.

Some of the things that don’t work seamlessly:

  • The microblogs (pleroma, mastodon, etc) don’t show lemmy posts and can’t comment on them (I know this is possible and on the roadmap, but it doesn’t work now so new users don’t care); see how the blog platforms (write.as, plume) allow following and commenting from a microblog account
  • A microblog acct can follow a pixelfed acct, but as far as I can tell, there’s no way to discover those accts. Pixelfed doesn’t allow viewing posts from its web interface without signing in. (I’m also not sure of the point of Pixelfed, since it’s just a microblog can only post photos. It seems like it was made to just be an Instagram clone. In my mind, it could have just been a client for the existing microblogging servers)
  • When a new project is started, they try to federate with mastodon first. So everything is oriented around mastodon and its quirks. (WebFinger is required, their signatures are apparently out of date, etc). Some projects just don’t work with pleroma and others.

To sum up, every fediverse project is basically a clone of an existing big name company, but doesn’t do anything better. And since they’re all small, open source projects, they have less resources and develop features slower. There’s also the culture/personality issue, but that’s also a huge topic and this post is long enough

@Soaku
65M

Can’t exactly agree with the seamlessness because federation as is is still more seamless than centralized services. I can’t post on Twitter and Instagram when I only have a Reddit account, it doesn’t seem like an option at all. Federation? Anything is possible.

@0x1C3B00DA
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I agree, anything is possible, but the fediverse has never actually lived up to that. The only good example is posts showing up in microblog timelines and commenting on them, but that’s limited to blogs, videos, and Pixelfed. And on Pleroma, I still don’t see videos showing up in my feed, despite following peertube accts. Federation has a lot of potential, but it’s never been fully expressed, and isn’t enough to overcome the missing features that each platform has.

EDIT: Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. All of these services “federate”, but it’s hard to understand how they all interoperate. Everybody is looking at them as individual platforms, but to me, the grand idea is that the fediverse could be a single platform and each of these services is just a set of additional features I can use.

What feature could lemmy get that would draw people away from reddit?

@0x1C3B00DA
45M

I think real, full federation is the only thing that would actually make the fediverse competitive with the centralized platforms, but most fediverse projects aren’t big enough to support that or just don’t have any interest in it.

Other than that, I think only exclusive communities will work, like it did with Mastodon.

I was thinking that. Like if all the reddit clones just became lemmy instances. Some will choose not to federate, but the ones that do will help each other gain critical mass. Then people can escape their filter bubbles onto different instances/cultures.

The other one is proper native support for languages like wikipedia has. So speakers of language X never have to interact with English language content if they don’t want to. There is a huge body of users who IMO would flock to a reddit-like site that has that.

@leanleft
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for lemmy: a large diverse community of active commenters.
both mastodon and lemmy are often seen as yet another sprawling commercial platform by ordinary people.
simple signup helps to make it easy for people to join. keeping people interested might need to highlight some impressive quick benefits to be seen instantly.
maybe if you could backup your multireddits to lemmy alternatives. or analyze your comments to suggest similar conversations where the user can contribute.
the speed/responsiveness/weight of both sites are faster than their competitors.
people who are internet people (opposed to normies) will generally join these sites. it just takes time. growth happens linearly not exponentially. but more people will form a bigger base for more potential invites.
i always tell people that if they don’t want to try a site then they can tell a friend who might like to try it.
i didn’t find mastodon signup process very easy at all. lemmy and diaspora were much easier i think.
i would love to see an android app for lemmy if it doesn’t already exist somewhere. lemmy doesn’t render well on my mobile device last time i checked.

Matt
75M

The inertia of using the ‘mainstream’ platforms will be one of the hardest things to overcome… If all your friends and family are on platform X, and they’re not coming to platform Y with you… well, it could be a rather boring experience… at least at first…

Dessalines
admin
75M

Its been difficult to try to get my friends and fam to move to matrix for chat… and that one even has solid apps. First mover advantage, especially if people see something as “good enough” , is really hard to overcome.

Matt
55M

It’s one of the only reasons I keep an account on things like Twitter - basically to advocate for the fediverse, and apps like Lemmy, Peertube, Pleroma etc…

@sia
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Dessalines
admin
55M

On desktop I’ve been using nheko for a while now, its been pretty solid, has e2ee, reactions, etc. On mobile, element is wonderful, its a native app, not react-native or anything like that.

yeah the element app is just as good if not better than hangouts (which is what we used before)

@sia
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Maya
admin
75M

you’re seeing it in the niche communities that you’d expect to be on the cutting edge: tech workers, sex workers, furries… I think in the small intentional ecofocused communities you see a lot of the core constructive energy that you could possibly hope for. To bring down the bigger silos, a more parasitic approach is going to be called for; I am very curious to see how that will develop.

@nxlemmy
65M

Lack of apps and lack of need for most people. I think instances that fill a niche and provide a service that is better than the non federated service will help.

@adhoc
65M

Big is not always good ;)

@0x1C3B00DA
55M

Agreed, but the fediverse has to be big enough to sustain communities/conversations. If users constantly sign up, makes posts, and get no or little response, they’re not going to stick around and the fediverse will die off.

Additionally, one implied goal of the fediverse is to be an alternative to the big, siloed platforms, but it can’t really be an alternative if there’s nobody here.

This here is exactly what I am thinking. Sure, we do have people. And some might not want it to be loaded with people. But if there is no audience for content, it’s not likely that people will stick around for a very long period of time.

To top if off, I think Fediverse related sites are too happy with the technical aspect for most regular social media users. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. Just puts off people who would already might think getting onto regular social media is too much work.

When I first looked at Mastodon I noped out because they had a bunch of things to choose from and made it seem hard to use with the email style links at the end.

That could be ready to fix. Signing up could be changed to take <10 seconds, and not so many choices.

Could you explain a little more on that? Do you mean all of the main instances of each platform could just say that they are the main platform and later educate people on the whole pods/instances thing?

On signing up, I remember going through several pages, choosing which communities to join. It took time and was off-putting.

It could be changed sign everyone up with some default ones, or with none.

@abbenm
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as been around for a while now.

??? It’s been a month or two, if we’re talking about federated Lemmy.

This stuff takes time. For something like facebook or reddit, they had to be in just the right set of circumstances to capitalize on people’s interest, and they gradually grew for more than a decade, eventually reaching something that at least seems like expononential growth in the past five years. The reach and visibility that those things have built and currently enjoy is orders of magnitude beyond anything the fediverse has.

That said, it is being used, especially on Mastodon. And Lemmy is being used. I don’t think it’s a fair or reasonable metric to expect something to be as big as Facebook, one of the largest companies in the world, over a short timeline and to say it’s not a success if it’s not at that scale.

@ARO3DP
55M

The content provided on the Fediverse might be a turn of for the average user. Take mastadon for example: Imagine a user who just wants to try mastadon, he joins mstdn.social scrolls around a bit and yikes what is that? Every fifth post is trap hentai and the rest is 50/50 programming and communism. Obviously thats not the whole fediverse… but this is the first impression we give many new users. I think thats one of the problems of decentrelization, the lack of one starting point that is well moderated and conftable for the normal user. If we take a look at modern socialmedia like TikTok for example we notice that content fits everyone and if it doesnt it only takes a few swipes for the algorithm to figure it out. Users who dont care about or dont understand the risks of centrelized networks just dont want to loose this convenience.

The dominant theory seems to be ease of use/simplicity and the front page of everything having furries, hentai and a bunch of nerd chat.

I think a good way to solve a few of the issues is to have the main instance of each platform market themselves a little harder and not so much on the pods/instances - teach that to the people later after they get in to the atmosphere of the Fediverse. For example, someone goes to Mastodon.social, all they see is that it’s the main instance, and other that the word instance, it looks like a simple Twitter alternative.

Then later if they want to delve a little deeper (the customer), they can learn about instances/pods. From there they can host their own, or search for a new one. (Most of the instance directories could use some simplifying too)

Then to go along with that, each main instance would also have to be moderated quite heavily to keep things clean for when people first join.

Thoughts?

poVoq
55M

That would require easier instance switching (like nomadic identities on Hubzilla). But also the very idea of a “main” instance is counter-productive. The current theme based instances is a better idea to cater to the current niche audiences.

Maybe in the future there could also be more mainstream regional instances. Something similar to your regional/city newspaper, where it is more about local content and localized exchange.

Either that or the server directories would need to be made easier to work with, perhaps all on one Fediverse directory website??

@FreeBooteR
35M

It doesn’t have millions in marketing to pay for adverts everywhere. Very few people are aware of it’s existence and the mainstream media are going to ignore you unless you grease a few palms, know what I mean?

@developred
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@sia
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Dessalines
admin
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One thing we’re trying to do with lemmy, is to make it user friendly and content-focused enough that you don’t even need to know what federation is to make an account and start using it. Even without federation, its just a lean, self-hostable reddit alternative. Whether federation can be a successful way to get people off these giant platforms remains to be seen, but the user experience does have to be there first.

@ufrafecy
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@Nevar
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The worst part is that there are tons of actually terrible people on the fediverse, but Wil Wheaton accidentally blocked some trans people that one time and he’s cancelled for life from Mastodon. I actually saw someone bragging about having helped to bully him off of Mastodon the other day.

@sia
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Dessalines
admin
35M

This does absolutely apply to mastodon and pleroma, but maybe doesn’t apply to lemmy (where the focus is on communities so as @kixiQu@lemmy.ml pointed out, small niche communities can grow easily).

@0x1C3B00DA
45M

I still think it applies to Lemmy. Niche communities are always going to be niche, so their growth potential isn’t that high. There are communities here on lemmy that are also on reddit and the reddit size is way larger. If a community moved from reddit to lemmy, I bet you would see a ton of user growth.

For instance, If I wanna talk about web stuff, I can talk about it here on lemmy, where there are 200 subs and posts get around 5 comments, or I can talk about it on reddit where there are 200k subs and posts get hundreds of comments.

Exclusivity is always going to be a powerful influence for platforms

@pavot
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A community dedicated to fediverse news and discussion.

Fediverse is a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”. It is a common, informal name for a federation of social network servers whose main purpose is microblogging, the sharing of short, public messages.

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