Explaining Mastodon in a conversation is so much easier than doing it through text on a website. That has never gotten easier. In fact it's gotten harder because now you have to worry about not sounding like a cryptocurrency because the concept of "decentralization" has been co-opted... I think explaining in a conversation is still... pretty hard. For me, at least.

But yea, cryptocurrency ruined the word and I hate it. I don't even use the word "decentralization", when describing the Fediverse/Misskey I say something along the lines of "it's like if twitter was put into smaller groups, and those groups could talk to each other"

@Gargron Yeah I feel it is easier to explain it by describing it as federated rather than decentralised

@Gargron Saying it is federated is easier in my opinion because it is accurate and it isn't a term used by crypto projects so people understand it is nothing to do with blockchain technology. Of course you would then have to explain what it being federated means but it is much easier than starting from the point of talking about it being decentralized in my opinion.

@sandrolinux @Gargron


" is like , but better. It is not social media, but social networking. More personal and representative to real life, where you choose who you hang out with. Mastodon is part of the , an online space where there are countless communities. Each may have their own topics and themes and can set their own rules. And they are all connected together. Anyone who wants can install their own server and host their own ."

@sandrolinux @Gargron

Decentralization, federation, instances, CoC, etc.

They are all technical terms that aren't really needed in storytelling to the average person that never heard of the before.

@humanetech Although federation is also a concept that is more understandable to a non-technically minded person.

@sandrolinux that is true, but I also got feedback from a bunch of folks new to fedi that they understood it in the context of statehood. And so weird in our context and formal-sounding.

@humanetech However if they understood it in the context of statehood you could say instances are like their own state within the fediverse with their own rules and can be blocked by other instances (or in this analogy states).


Yes, that is an option. Though to me that diminishes the social impression it gives. I start thinking about borders, passports, formalities, and such.

But moderation must be mentioned somewhere, and it has some proper improvements to birdsite as well. I'd personally choose to address that a bit later on, and first make a good case for why it is fun and *truly* social place to be with us other fedizens.

@humanetech Yeah I do agree the states analogy might confuse some and make it seems like taking part in Fediverse must be very hard and cumbersome.

@humanetech I like the description, but I'm confused by the distinction between "social media" and "social network". To the extent that I can perceive a difference between the terms I would have said that "network" might suggest a bidirectional concept of "friends" like on #Facebook, which #Twitter and #Mastodon lack, maybe putting them more at the "social media" end of the scale. But that's my own interpretation, so I'm curious what you actually meant by that distinction.
@sandrolinux @Gargron

@humanetech Now I think about it more, perhaps you meant "network" in the sense of being multiple nodes (instances), which makes total sense. I'm still not sure why that would mean it's *not* social *media* though... 🤔
@sandrolinux @Gargron

@caesar @sandrolinux @Gargron

It's a deliberate distinction to *not-so-social* social media.

Media are news and entertainment. It's TV-like or press. You publish stuff there, broadcast. There are celebrities, influencers, the screaming headlines, etc.

Our social networking is real and human. In the way a sociologist in a bar may be fascinated to observe. The whole breadth of sociology and human interaction plays a role here.

Fediverse extends it online. Its richness makes it a .

@Gargron maybe you could pay a company to make an informative video about it, with illustrations

@darckcrystale We've done that, but it's kind of the same exact problem. Reading text out loud doesn't make it a conversation. Plus there's only so much you can fit in a video without running out of budget.

yup, so many things are easier to communicate with voice.
introducting voice-todon now

@Gargron "Future proofing" is another strategy. I'm told, "but what if your server host goes bust?" (as have many of my past blog hosts eg ) and I hope I'm correct in saying it is trivial to download your stuff and re-home it elsewhere, free, paid or self-hosted.

What I've seen so far of GDPR compliant exports (WP, LinkedIn, Twitter) is they are not easily imported anywhere else, presumably another 'Dark Pattern' move. I think it's usually a good idea to have an alt account on another instance incase the one you're on goes down.

Plus Mastodon makes it really easy to move your followers & follows to another account.

@freeplay @Gargron but what about your data, post history, photos, etc. I have a very naive understanding of how Fediverse really works. That you can't really move. I think Gargron said before that it would be too much data to move across instances.

@freeplay @Gargron but you must be allowed to download your self, no? doesn't the GDPR require that?

I suppose it may be more a matter of whether you can re-upload your consciousness to the next host and... wait... isn't that the plot of an old BBC SciFi episode?

@Gargron In my conversations, the federated/decentralized part has been pretty easy: “there are lots of servers that can all talk to each other, like email, and you can run your own if you really want” has worked well. “Like email” is the key phrase, I’ve found.

I’ve had a harder time with the basic function/purpose. Preceding the above with “it’s line Twitter, but” works pretty well, but there’s good reason not to want to start off with that comparison.

@a @Gargron

Yeah I was just gonna say that comparing it to email was the right thing, but you said it first haha.

Any other argument will probably sound alien to non techies

@Gargron i say "open source, user-based and without manipulative algorithms" for this exact reason

@Gargron Also, "If you're not paying, you're the product being sold." That's kinda backfired against everyone who isn't a surveillance capitalist.

@Gargron i usually start with "it's built so the community could run it with no corp at play" and if i have time i explain it with email services as an analogy

@Gargron I use “federation” and make a lot of analogies to email, which people already understand. That seems to do the trick.

@Gargron How I would describe it to someone who only knows FB/Twitter:

It’s like a community website which can be general or focused on a topic. Each site has its own rules and admins. There are many of these sites around the world and admins connect them together to share their users’ content with other sites.

@Gargron I just describe it as "Twitter, but ad-free and far better moderated because of it's modular network of thousands of connected privately owned servers that prevents any business or entity from taking it over."

@Gargron this is what I didn’t understand, why you against bitcoin and crypto currency and pro decentralization ?🤷🏻‍♂️

@Gargron I think even the big social media companies rely on conversations more than their websites. All of my friends and family join a certain social media because everyone else is having fun over there and talking about it. They almost never check the websites and just download the app and sign up.

Money talks. Bitcoin has a market cap of $475000000000
Mastodon is worth what?
If you want to beat them at their own game you will have to play it. You should actually embrace the idea. It might make more sense if you go along with it instead of fighting it on your own principles.

@arjonnyp @Gargron "Beating them" by exploiting the entire userbase into a pyramid scam of magical internet money that prints itself once you convince enough idiots to mine as a botnet. No thanks.

I shouldn't have to explain, but I will. There is no "magic." Bitcoin has an immutable capped amount of 21 million. You also don't need to "convince" anyone to use it. It is completely optional. Just like Mastodon, it only works when people interact with it and choose to participate.
People CHOOSE to mine because the fact is it has been profitable thus far. That is not a scam, that is a quantifiable fact.

@SapphireDrew Participation in Bitcoin is completely voluntary, and if you look at it it isn't hard to understand why. There is a proven track record of dependability, security, reliability, and regardless of how you feel about it, its value has increased. No one would mine Bitcoin if it was a losing proposition. It's a no brainer. I don't know why you would resist the fact that decentralization and self sovereignty have inherent value 🤷‍♂️

Allowing people to select their own money is not dissimilar to allowing people to select their own social media. Bitcoin is a financial system dependent on individuals all around the world running it. The same can be said for Mastodon. Celebrating the idea that Mastodon runs at the level of the individual is very powerful and holds value in and of itself. Pretending it is different is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

@Gargron maybe turn that perceived weakness into a strength instead

@Gargron For explaining the Fediverse, I like to say: Imagine you could subscribe to YouTube channels and Instagram accounts from Twitter and talk to everybody.

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