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Thoughts On Decentralised Social Media

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The web was decentralised for a long time. The internet and social networks were designed around different niches. We had niches for people that did sports in the same area of Switzerland, that wanted to discuss a variety of topics, for music lovers and more. The change brought on by MySpace, Twitter, ICQ, Facebook and other projects is that it centralised all those communities so that everyone was in different communities, on three or four social networks.

That centralisation internationalised certain networks, like Twitter and Facebook, although with a heavy US bias. With the decline of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter the implosion of social networks that happened before is moving in the opposite direction. We are going from a centralised to a decentralised social network landscape.

The more I use Mastodon, the more I take long breaks from the “federation”. People are arguing, disagreeing, and in general trying to impose a vision, onto people, rather than seducing them, and encouraging them to think the same way.

I watched an episode of Northern Exposure that deals with racism, bias and prejudice that I appreciate. In the 90s cultural differences and other differences were a source of discussion, and existential questions. People would explore what they felt, and try to find a new way of seeing things, to make them more open minded. People would aknowledge how they felt, and see about changing their views and attitudes, through discussion.

Twitter is swinging to the Right, and there are adverts every fourth post so it has become less welcoming. Mastodon has another related problem. People are saying “if you don’t think this way then you can leave” and “everyone has to behave this way, rather than that way”. I go to social media to have pleasant conversations and interactions, not to be told what, and how to think.

What I want is not a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram replacement. I want to find a new social network, in person, that uses Signal, or another IM platform, to converse with a small network of friends. I am tired of the big social networks that lack social warmth. I want to find a new community of like-minded people. Not easy, when COVID denialism makes being social a risk.

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