Fediverse and parasocial relationships

  • Shouldn’t the fediverse discourage patterns that create parasocial relationships?

  • Wouldn’t it be better if the standard was a symmetrical relationship between users instead of the asymmetrical follow model?

  • Most big social medias thrive on parasocial-relations, is it necessary to emulate that model for success?

  • Shouldn’t we focus on community building and mutual friendship instead of forcing everyone to be a mini-celebrity?

  • Aren’t communities/groups better for discoverability than the public feeds of mastodon, pleroma,etc

@Liwott
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73M

Shouldn’t the fediverse discourage patterns that create parasocial relationships?

Why should it? There are uses for parasocial relationships, for example content creators don’t need to be interested in what every content consumer has to say.

LunaticHacker
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43M

This consumer-creator relationship is created by traditional social media to help monetize their platform.

In my opinion, social media should be about making friends and being in communities,making space for content creators shouldn’t come at the expense of these things.

@Liwott
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I don’t think the “mutual connection” model helps so much in that respect. When the number of interested people becomes too much for the creator to keep up with, I see two outcomes :

  • they keep accepting people forever and get a subscribed feed they cannot keep up with, just answer some random people from time to time, and that becomes a parasocial relationship. In fact it probably just means they manually (privately) encode a list of people they actually follow, and for the others the mutual connection creates an illusion of friendship stronger than the ones in the follow model.

  • they stop accepting requests, or start deleting some other connections. That’s a shame for both the user who wanted to follow them, and from the artist themself who will never be able to really take off on the fediverse. They may end up leaving it (taking some followers with them), and that’s also a shame of the fediverse.

LunaticHacker
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You’re seeing creators as an inalienable part of fediverse.I’m suggesting eliminating these ‘creators’ completely or separating them to a minority portion of fediverse(like peertube).

Instead of fostering personal brands (which is just a consequence of corporate social media trying to incorporate brands into their platform for ads) and creating stans, We should focus on community building and making friends. So that every user is not compelled to write poetry and pose like supermodels in their feeds but to actually have real conversations

@Liwott
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I’m suggesting eliminating these ‘creators’ completely or separating them to a minority portion of fediverse(like peertube).

Are you suggesting that every form of art disappear so that people have more time to talk about weather and politics? Or that art should not be shared through the internet?

LunaticHacker
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No, I’m saying that instead creating a cult following around the artist, the art should be shared in dedicated communities, (like Lemmy) and mutual friendships should be created from discussions and conversations within the community.Thus the ‘influencer’ culture will be eliminated and people can focus more on the content of art without getting trapped in the parasocial relationships with the artist itself.

@Liwott
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I think you are dramatizing quite a bit, and overstating the role of following. Following someone’s updates doesn’t make you a stan or a cultist. I think a parasocial relationship can be quite harmless as long as you stay aware that it is one.

On the other hand one can also overestimate how close they are to an acquaitance, thus having a kind of parafriendship, yet still compatible with mutual connection. In addition to that, a creator could just create a group that people can follow instead of their profile, and have a similar effect.

In conclusion I don’t understand how one would get rid of the parasocial relationship. In fact, I don’t understand too much the why either.

@dreeg_ocedam
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deleted by creator

poVoq
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Yes, but it should also encourage people to become creators themselves, so that there is a more healthy ratio and less “consumers”. Anyone can be a creator :)

@Liwott
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Sure, but I don’t understand how enforcing two-way connection would encourage people to become creators.

poVoq
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Quite the contrary. My understanding is that this is about removing dark-patterns found in commercial social-media that foster consumerist behavior as that is more conducive to selling advertisements and product placements.

@Liwott
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Sorry, I don’t get the relation with your previous comment and my reply to it.

poVoq
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33M

AFAIK the idea about reducing parasocial relationships on the fediverse is not solely about enforcing two way connections. It is one of many ideas, but as you point out it probably isn’t a very good one.

@Liwott
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Clearer, thanks ! Do you have links to resources about the other ideas ?

@gun
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That’s part of why I use Lemmy more often than Mastodon.

@humanetech
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I had to look up parasocial relationship, but I strongly agree with your points. Though in some cases the follower / following relationships may be needed, it presents a very poor basis for rich social interaction online.

For some time I am advocating for an ActivityPub extension that allows for social networks that are more representative to the complex social interactions we have in the real world. I call it the “Community has no Boundary” paradigm, and it basically allows application designers the ability to define Groups with arbitrary relationships to other Actors.

It is just a vocabulary extension, and optional. Can be part of a growing pattern library of building blocks for federated apps. With a Community concept in place one can model additional functionality on top, e.g. Moderation or Governance, etc.

Here’s a draft model that depicts the idea:

Conceptual model of Community: Group actor has a Collection of Relationship objects to other Actors

@humanetech
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Note that in the Pixelfed Groups discussion I followed up with a lot of elaboration of the above.

@GrassrootsReview
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One could create a part of the fediverse like that for people who just want to chat and make friends.

It would be a poor model for a lot of what I am interested in. I am mostly interested in niche information. One Mastodon account of mine is on translating the scientific literature. Many of the people following Translate Science write in languages I do not master; those are the people who would benefit most from translations. It makes no sense to follow them back.

We could also create a part of the fediverse that is even better at spreading niche information. For example, that would have team accounts so that multiple people can contribute/moderate an information feed.

I started understanding what parasocial relationships mean when I explored Twitch. I am not aware of anything on Mastodon that comes close to that. I do not have the feeling that people feel they are friends of the people behind the largest accounts I know of; but everyone has their own feed.

A diversity of strategies is normally best. The great thing of the Fediverse is that that is possible.

Travis Skaalgard
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The parasocial relationships that pop up on the Fediverse tend to be more organic than they are on the corporate web. There’s no mega-influencers with millions of followers. The closest things are like, that guy at the pub everyone knows.

@Liwott
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Isn’t that just a scale effect though? Don’t artists with similar numbers on traditional platforms behave similarly?

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