I have seen the future of social media, and I saw it by looking at the past. The social media of today is similar to e-mail of the days before the Internet; we have a few big players, completely incompatible with each other. Someone on Twitter can’t see updates by their Facebook using friends on their timeline, and vice versa. A person needs to be signed up to both services, and if they have a friend who’s still using Myspace, they’ll need to add that service as well. If you become dissatisfied with a service, leaving them means leaving all of your friends and family as well. To compare to e-mail, imagine if you had to sign up with a Yahoo! account to read e-mails from friends and family who use a Yahoo! e-mail account, forcing you to subscribe to Yahoo!, Outlook, GMail, and whatever else is out there. We wouldn’t stand for it with e-mail in the modern day, and now we don’t have to stand for it with our social networking, because services like Mastodon are going to change all that.
The concept behind Mastodon is that it is a social network that uses open standards. This means that anyone could create a Mastodon server. It also means that you don’t have to use Mastodon at all to participate with all your friends and family; you might prefer to use a plug-in for Nextcloud like Social. I now have two accounts on this federated social media; one is from my own server, @firstname.lastname@example.org which I created for experimental purposes (the plug-in is still very much in development), and the other is at a Mastodon server, @email@example.com, which will be my more mainstream account. Obviously, I’m a fan of owning my own server and not having someone trying to interpret my intentions as they decide if my posts fit with their rules and regulations, but for now this is a great start and a step in the right direction for social media.
I’d like to invite all my friends and family to join me in the future of social networking. I’ve abandoned Facebook, and am winding down my Twitter use as I migrate entirely over to this new federated platform. I invite you to as well, won’t you please join me? Click here to sign up to mastodon.social, which I believe is a great place to start for anyone.