3 Reasons Creators Should Pay Attention to What’s Happening in the Fediverse

Could this be The One Ecosystem to Rule Them All?

Flipboard
Fedi Curious?

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As Flipboard’s head of creator community, I’m often explaining WTF the fediverse is and trying to convince creators to set up camp there. (Flipboard believes this is the future of social media.) If I’m lucky, the person is open to it, able to figure out how to get set up, and gives it a try. But more often than not, I get the digital equivalent of a blank stare and a groan — not another social platform?!

Well, yes and no. Yes, in that it is another ecosystem to post to, manage and maintain. No, in that it’s potentially The One Ecosystem to Rule Them All. In other words, if you understand the benefits and promise of the fediverse — and if others do too — then we can collectively leave walled gardens and experience greater quality, control and community. Rebalance and find a better way.

Sound idyllic? Maybe. It’s early in the fediverse’s development and mostly occupied by early adopters. The next chapters are still to be written. But with Meta wanting to get in on the action via Threads, there’s no doubt that something exciting is brewing. It’s worth putting skepticism on the shelf to better understand how a play in the fediverse could benefit creators.

1. It’s a new audience to discover your work.
Although it’s hard to quantify because of its decentralized nature, the fediverse is a large web of inter-connected servers and platforms. The biggest, Mastodon, has experienced strong growth since Elon Musk purchased Twitter. As more and more people seek refuge from toxic and siloed social media platforms, the fediverse offers a saner alternative because you can choose to set up shop on an instance that shares your interests and values. Mastodon, for example, has nearly 12,000 instances, each with its own vibe and rules.

2. There’s better engagement.

Anecdotally, the level of connection and conversation is higher on a platform like Mastodon than on traditional social media. The fediverse is not ruled by For You feeds and algorithms, unlike traditional platforms where you may have many followers but a lot of them are not seeing your posts because of how content is surfaced and consumed.

3. You can (re)gain control and ownership of what you worked so hard to build.

Creators are tired. Tired of building their business on top of someone else’s house, only to have the goalposts constantly shift — whether that’s how algorithms surface content, or the type of content favored, or from creator funds being pulled back.

In the fediverse, you are the node in the network. If you don’t like how the game is played, you can change it without losing your data or the audience you spent years building.

How’s that? The ActivityPub protocol underlying most of the major services in the fediverse means that the whole ecosystem is interoperable. (Imagine if X, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit were all part of one cohesive network.) You follow a person, and it doesn’t matter where they’re posting and commenting — you’ll see all their activity in one place. You (or they) can leave a service, and it doesn’t mean starting all over again to build your following somewhere else. You can move your followers with you. You can also request an archive of your posts and uploaded media, readable by any compliant software. (On Mastodon, these options are found under your Account Settings.)

The TL;DR of it all is that because the fediverse is built on top of open-source software by a community intent on reversing many of the most toxic and troubling things about our current social landscape, it is worth at least learning about. I hope this post helped to highlight three big reasons why.

Flipboard will be fully federated in 2024*, meaning that if you have an account, your content will automatically be posted into the fediverse where others have the opportunity to discover it and interact with you. Stay tuned for details. We truly hope you’ll come along for the ride.

Mia Quagliarello, head of creator community, is listening to the Dot Social podcast

* UPDATE: On April 11, 2024, Flipboard began federating creator accounts. If you’re interested in getting your Flipboard account federated, you can apply here. Please note: we are currently only federating creators and curators who have two or more active Magazines and no trust and safety issues.

To learn more about the fediverse from the leaders shaping its future, check out Mike McCue’s podcast, “Dot Social.”

Developers may be interested in checking out the flipboard.team WriteFreely instance, where the larger fediverse community can learn about how Flipboard engineers are thinking about building in this space.

To learn about what Flipboard’s up to in the fediverse, sign up here.

Got questions about the fediverse? Let us know! We’re writing a biweekly newsletter on LinkedIn or follow us here on Medium to never miss a post.

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Flipboard
Fedi Curious?

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