Alahmnat ❄🦊 is a user on mastodon.social. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse.
Alahmnat ❄🦊 @alahmnat

It's kinda weird to think about a social network where businesses own their own presences, rather than relying on a capricious third party service like Twitter or Facebook. Imagine NBC or The Verge running a Mastodon instance for their reporters to toot from, or Bethesda operating an instance for PR and customer support. No more lost business when Facebook changes their algorithms again because they need more money from boosted posts.

Weird, right?

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.@alahmnat also, much easier to block all the accounts at that business (well, that feature could be added)

@alahmnat Hmm, it seems you can't quote someone's message in order to reply to it and post it in your feed... But yeah, the thing is, it's not weird at all. This is exactly how email works, how IRC works, how websites themselves work. It's Facebook, Twitter, etc, who are the weird ones, really...

@ThorTheNorseman Yeah, as I understand it, toot quoting is something that's been explicitly left out to combat bandwagoning. And you're right, it's only weird because social media has been centralized for so much of its mainstream history, while everything else is just understood to behave in a decentralized manner. Kinda wonder what things would be like if social had stayed like this *gestures around*.

@alahmnat I feel they threw the baby out with the bath water by removing that. On Twitter, I use them to reply in a "public" way, and to humorously remark on another tweet. I don't really use them for "me too" posts. Frankly, one of the weaknesses of Twitter is that you can't really share Twitter threads you participated in with your followers.

@ThorTheNorseman @alahmnat From what I heard, they just deprioritised it as a feature. It's not that it'll never get implemented, more like it'll take a while. (Of course, someone could implement it themselves then send a PR)

@alahmnat And yeah, the problem, I think, is that it's much easier to monetize something you can control... and open source software tends to suffer from a lacking user experience. It's always about 80% there featurewise, with the other 20% being neglected forever.

@alahmnat It's cyclical... Centralization, decentralization... It's about time for it to begin swinging back.

@alahmnat Hm, but don't people's home instances decide how to display federated posts? So if, say, the NYT had its own Mastodon instance, but most of their readers read it from other instances, they would still be vulnerable to disruption if the most popular instances started filtering algorithmically, right?

@alahmnat But, assuming the readership was spread out across multiple different Mastodon instances, it would still be better than the status quo, because one or two companies wouldn't hold all the cards.

@alahmnat That's one of the things I was talking with someone last night about - there's also the benefit that this effectively nullifies many forms of 'paid support scams' - if the person claiming to be a representative is federating from the server known to be run from the business, then it's more likely they're legit than if it's some random tooter from elsewhere.

@alahmnat Indeed. Now as an administrator of a mastodon instance I'd ask: how do I monetize this? From the perspective of a privacy wonk I'd ask: how will others try to monetize me?

@alahmnat it's almost like proprietary platforms don't make sense.

@alahmnat not that weird; in effect this is what people do with wordpress. and other blogging platforms?

@ultimape True the rest of the web already works like this, but I specifically meant weird in the context of social media, since that's been centralized in the mainstream basically since day one. This federation is just such a fundamentally different way of running things, and it's cool :)

@alahmnat I just joined Mastodon and I'm feeling my way around. I hadn't even considered your use case here. That could be huge.

@alahmnat Weird *and* insightful. I appreciate it! 👍

@alahmnat @ultimape We can see this happening now. The french pirate party has their own account on their own mastodon instance.
mastodon.partipirate.org/@Part

@alahmnat THAT'S HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE

@mala Further proof that we're clawing our way out of the darkest timeline.

@alahmnat Yeah, but in reality those companies will just pay for highly reliable, scaling instances run by a few companies with enough expertise.

@alahmnat weird for sure, but with this system you can choose to see them or not

@alahmnat
I think so,
and that's why, even if Mastodon is not yet perfect, it has te potential to last. It's noticeable that some people here are just enjoying a kind of rare feeling of freedom on the Web.

So the point is not: "is mastodon the new blablabla " as most media are asking superficially. The point is that mastodon exemplify a principle that should have been the norm from long.

@alahmnat what Facebook sells is attention. If decentralized social media could district FB then businesses would have to find new avenues to get our attention.

@alahmnat weird - the Mastodon tribe would expell those rogue Mastodons and they would have to live vulerable and lonely

@alahmnat I just pitched the idea to my boss for our media house

@alahmnat It blew my mind when businesses started saying "We don't need a website anymore, we have a Facebook page".

@alahmnat It blew my mind when businesses started saying "We don't need a website anymore, we have a Facebook page".

@alahmnat Interesting, so should every individual also setup their own instance to be certain someone isn't going to turn it off?

@stevenhorner If this really takes off, I think there will inevitably be some huge commercial instances that average people gravitate toward because they trust the provider to stay online and do the technical stuff for them, just like email has services like Gmail and Outlook/Hotmail. But in this scenario, the more technically-minded are at least able to set up their own if they so desire, yeah (again, there are parallels to email and web hosting in general).

@alahmnat It blew my mind when businesses started saying "We don't need a website anymore, we have a Facebook page".

@alahmnat this is essentially the glory of the idea!

A few niggles to work out in the over-arching protocol, though. That said, I got criticised for my comments so be wary posting ideas, no matter how complete ;P

@alahmnat Zynga could still be worth more than their physical assets

@alahmnat The interesting things about this are

a) If the Federated Timeline ever becomes algorithmic, the source will be visible. So no guessing whether/how the algorithm has changed.

b) Smaller outlets that can't afford to have dedicated, multi-person SEO teams benefit way more than the big ones. They'd need a Mastodon admin, but their web hosting team can just add that to their responsibilities.

plus businesses running their instance are their own verification, just like how if you get an email directly from customersupport@amazon.com you know it's legit. @alahmnat

@alahmnat As someone who has run commercial social accounts the landscape at the moment is desperate. There's a tug of war between creating quality content and then having to offset some of that budget for promoting posts which hurts. From a personal perspective I hate seeing sponsored posts it ruins my experience which should be all about online discovery. While early days I'm loving the fact Mastodon could and hopefully will disrupt the wasteland that Facebook has created.

@alahmnat Where things could get difficult (or fun!) is when individual platforms/instances want more tracking, more A/B testing, more capabilities to fuel their business model in some way. Or when enough large content providers start driving development in general in that direction. Super curious to see how that ends up looking.

@alahmnat yeah, but I guarantee you if MSNBC knows about this, they're sitting here wondering how they can pay money to artificially boost their viewership, like whether they can set up bot-chains to boost their toots. Toot-boosting if you will. If they tried that kind of garbage on their *own* instance they'd get de-federated real quick. I think brands will be really hesitant to dive in.

@alahmnat The third parties actually provide very little value and in most cases businesses would be better off hosting their own services. One thing I often complained about at my last job was that they outsourced their IRC server and sometimes there would be outages or instability which the service provider just didn't care about and took a long time and a lot of frantic support calls to fix. The great irony was that the company was jam packed with folks who were easily capable of installing an IRC server.

@alahmnat Never though about it this way. Maybe it's because I'm new to this.

Sounds like a win-win!

@alahmnat you also build your own traffic, audience -> more money, better engagement, better data on how to shape your organization

@alahmnat I think it existed before… It was called World Wide Web, or something…