The Elephant in the Room

- a 4 minute read

OR…

“I’VE HEARD ABOUT MASTODON, ISN’T IT JUST LIKE TWITTER? HOW DOES IT AFFECT MY BUSINESS? WHAT THE HECK IS A FEDIVERSE?

scene with people looking at a large jolly elephant, it's Masto, the mastodon mascot

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?

person leaning, whilst on the phone, taking notes
  • There’s a new (ish) kind of social network - commonly referred to as the ‘Fediverse’
  • The Fediverse is not owned by big tech investors, or mega-rich individuals
  • It’s gaining momentum (350,000 users in the last month, with 7 million users in Nov ‘22)*

7 MILLION USERS DOESN’T SOUND LIKE MUCH…

It’s not much compared to the likes of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok.

But people are increasingly attracted to social media that is intended to be respectful of their data. They also want something that isn’t designed to encourage outrage in order to drive engagement.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FEDERATION?

Instead of one single application, which everyone connects to, there’s multiple applications that talk to each other by an agreed protocol.

It’s a bit like sending an email from your Microsoft account, to someone with a Gmail account. Outlook isn’t Gmail, but at the core is the ability to send emails to one another.

Similarly, there are multiple instances of the software. The same software might running on email servers for both me@company.com and you@personal.com. But they’re not necessarily operated by the same organisation.

man in a lab coat

WAIT, WHAT’S… MASTODON?

Mastodon is just one kind of software that runs in the Fediverse.

It is superficially similar to Twitter, in that it allows users to post short messages, and include images, video and links etc.

It’s one of the federated applications that use the same protocol to connect and communicate with each other.


woman in a lab coat

OK - SO WHAT SHOULD I DO?

At the moment, our recommendation is to ‘test the waters’. There are some challenges for businesses that want to engage with the Fediverse, and if it gets to Facebook scale, you’re going to want to be ready to seize the opportunities.

CHALLENGE: BUYING ADVERTISING SPACE

It’s hard, if not impossible to buy advertising across the whole Fediverse.

Each owner of an instance has the ability to choose whether or not to allow advertising, and each instance may have different ideas about what is acceptable or not.

You may be able to buy adverts on individual instances.

CHALLENGE: SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS

If you employ social media influencers, you should contact your agency specifically about their Fediverse presence.

Some of the mechanisms to promote influencers are not very mature and in some cases, instances may intentionally limit overtly promotional posts.

Also, different instances will have different expectations around what kind of content is acceptable, and may block whole servers if they obviously prioritise promotional posting.

CHALLENGE: HOSTING YOUR OWN MEDIA

If you currently engage with your audiences via owned media on the big social media platforms, you should probably consider setting up your own instance of a Fediverse server, rather than joining an existing public instance…

man up a ladder, fixing an oversized light bulb

SET UP OUR OWN ‘INSTANCE’?

Yes. Much like setting up a business email or buying a telephone contract, it means you can choose the terms on which you operate.

Fediverse instances are under the control of whoever pays for the server it runs on.

You should run your own.

WHAT KIND OF INSTANCE?

Here’s some suggestions to get started…

If you currently run front-line customer support via Twitter, you might consider doing something similar with your own Mastodon instance.

If you currently post high-quality photography (product / lifestyle) you might take a look at running your own Pixelfed server.

If you currently create a lot of video content, like instructional videos, you should consider hosting your own Peertube node.

TO THE FEDIVERSE AND BEYOND!

a rocket, ready to launch Finally, you are not limited by using existing services. You can use the protocols that provide the foundations of the Fediverse to build something entirely new!

Don’t miss out on the Fediverse, speak to us! Book a call today 👇

Attachments

a paperclip Elephant in the room

The original presentation, Nov 2022