Why Mastodon is defying the “critical mass” - It’s a mistake to judge the Fediverse as though it’s a Valley startup
Mastodon (an alternative to Twitter) is now over two years old and (to borrow a turn of phrase from Terry Pratchett), it’s still not dead yet. Somehow it’s managed to defy those early critics who said it “won’t survive” and was “dead in the water”.
More recently, an article about Mastodon’s wider ecosystem — termed “the fediverse” — made it to the front page of Hacker News: “What is ActivityPub, and how will it change the internet?”, by Jeremy Dormitzer. It makes a good case for the importance of the ActivityPub standard, upon which Mastodon and other social platforms are based. However, it still makes the same mistake as those early doomsayers.
Clearly many people do not appreciate that the fediverse is not competing in the same way as Silicon Valley centralised startups - it tackles the challenge in a different manner.
The fediverse doesn’t just gain value from the quantity of users, it also gains value from the quantity of services. Being based on the ActivityPub standard means that we can use Mastodon, PeerTube (a YouTube-like service), PixelFed (an Instagram-like service) and many others, and they can all interoperate. This gives the fediverse a scale advantage over the walled garden platforms.
It also means that if we ever feel like the service we’re using isn’t going in the direction we’d like (hello, Twitter users ?), then we can move over to a different instance and still retain access to the overall ecosystem.
|Why Mastodon is defying the “critical mass” – Peter O'Shaughnessy – Medium
It’s a mistake to judge The Fediverse as though it’s a Valley startup