masto meta, microblogging 

I can't help but join in with the current "discourse" spawned by a follow-recommendation feature in the latest RC version of Mastodon.

I've seen some take it as an attempted movement towards better user retention, and talk about why people come to mastodon and why they (don't) stay.

To add my view here, I think there's fundamentally two ways of using microblogging:
• Peer-oriented
• Celebrity-oriented


masto meta, microblogging, peer-oriented 

Peer-oriented microblogging is my name for using microblogging to talk to your equals / peers. Everyone is assumed to be more or less approachable, and number of followers is a meaningless metric.
Most of the "old guard" of mastodon (I include myself here) are avid practioners of this, since this kind of microblogging can bootstrap itself in an empty space, by connecting with whomever else happened to be around.

masto meta, microblogging, celebrity-oriented 

Celebrity-oriented microblogging is my name for using microblogging to follow a number of people you find interesting, without expecting any direct interaction. This slowly leads to interesting people accumulating followers, which leads to follower counts being a metric for "interestingness".
And thus two classes of users are born; followers and celebrities.

masto meta, microblogging 

The celebrity-oriented approach is what dominates Twitter today, although I think even twitter started as peer-oriented among the early adopters.

And the celebrity-oriented approach has mostly been in minority on Mastodon, afaik. (I can only see a corner of the english speaking network, though, so I mighy be wrong).

But it's dominant on twitter, most people are used to the celebrity-oriented approach and struggle with (or uninterested in) switching to peer-oriented.

masto meta, microblogging 

This resistance towards adopting peer-oriented contributes to perceived bad user-retention on mastodon, since there's very few recognizable celebrities, so there's very little value on mastodon from a celebrity-oriented perspective.

Combine this with the fact that much of the toxicity that Mastodon is designed to avoid is directly related to celebrity-oriented microblogging, it's either switch to peer-oriented or don't use mastodon.

masto meta, microblogging 

This ultimatum is kinda problematic because (and this is guesswork, I don't have any statistics) most people aren't interested in talking with random strangers on the internet.
Existing friends, yes.
Experts in your field, yes.
Fellow niche enthusiasts, yes.
Random strangers, no.

Peer-oriented microblogging excels at connecting with random strangers.
Celebrity-oriented microblogging excels at connecting with experts in your field.

masto meta, microblogging 

But since (if we accept my previous postulations) celebrity-oriented is almost always a highway to toxicity, and peer-oriented is optimized for something most people don't want, how do we build a social network for the masses without toxicity?

My answer: give up on context-free microblogging.

Build features that support intentional communities instead of singular relations between people.
Groups would be a great starting point for this.

masto meta, microblogging 

Oh, and tagging this thread with #socialweb, so I can find it later.

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk I don't know if I agree with some of these postulations. However, I am confused by the need for groups. Wouldn't you say the folks on are a group? And from there users can connect with existing friends on other servers?

I know you have multiple accounts on different Mastodon servers that match your interests, which may be annoying. And the lack of the ability to say follow all of the toots on the solar punk instance is probably why.

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk I'm not fully opposed to groups, I just feel like the dev culture today mimicks capitalism, GET MORE USERS ALWAYS. This gives us boost and makes amazing software utter garbage. I am just a fan of K.I.S.S., keep it simple stupid.

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk also, I hope you slept well. Much 💜 my friend.

masto meta, microblogging 

@sikkdays @zatnosk For social media users, the game is 'get more followers always'. Ought Mastodon to gamify some other aspect of the experience instead, or perhaps try to deemphasize follower count?

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