2/10 So first things first. What is the #fediverse?
In short, it is a network of mostly social media type sites. But, it is a bit different from other social media you may be used to. There is no fediverse website or fediverse app. Instead, the fediverse is made up of different servers, running different software operated by different organizations and individuals. The fediverse then can be thought of as the shared space between all of those servers (we call them *instances*).
It is called the fediverse (federation + universe), because the underlying architecture of online federation allows all of these different communities to connect to each other. You may know this model from email, for example, where the service provider (Google, your university, or employer) are detached from the software (Outlook, Mail app, Thunderbird) but you are still able to exchange messages between all of them. Compare that to Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. Even though they belong to the same company, you are not able to messages between them (but in the background, they do exchange messages about you ;) ).
The fediverse is built around this principle, which is why you will find different software but we will return to this in 5/10.
3/10 Why is this model of social media interesting?
Because it allows local particularities and singularities to coexist with some sort of global reach at the same time. With that we mean that it permits an online local community and subculture to develop around a specific instance, and at the same time be able to be visible and interact with other communities of practice and net subcultures linked to other instances. It represents an interesting compromise between local cultural diversity and scalability.
Here, local is also an interesting concept because the locality is instance-centric, not geographic, and therefore reconnects with early concepts and infrastructures of thematic online communities that have been overshadowed with the rise of mainstream social media. This process has either absorded these communities into their platforms, or has provided the algorithmic illusion of the one-size-fits-all of a universal global village.
This is on top of the fact that there is also no advertising, no tracking nor any algorithmic timelines that decide what you see or don't get to see!
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