1st Post! 1st Post!
An introduction to the introduction...
I know it could have been confusing when I stuck my right arm up and with a fist made and an outward thumb gestured behind me. I was not intending to embark on a hitchhike through the fediverse, but I will write a blog about it. I was simply telling proprietary, information siphoning, and privacy disrespecting services in my life to get out. Sure, it can be seen as “take a hike” and with that, I will gladly accept that confusion and pretend it was my intention all along.
And now the introduction...
Imagine, if you will, that you, your friends, or your community could gather in a virtualized realm and consider yourselves to be the masters of your domain. You build your realm with the services, rules, people, and the interests that define it. Your realm is as open or closed to the outside worlds that you wish it be. Your realm is your realm and not beholden to the makeshift deities of stockholders, data miners, and does not have to suffer trolls lurking and wild winds of change. In your realm, a unicorn is just a unicorn and not a product to sell, a marker for demographics, or an open invitation to buy your soul. Your realm is not some small lot in a larger property that could be sold, demolished, or repurposed at any time. Your realm is your realm.
That is the “Fediverse” in a storybook colorful way. The “Fediverse” is the moniker for the growing continuum of these self-selecting, self-identified, self-governed realms. In this continuum, the realms can keep to themselves or they can peer out, knock on the door of another realm to say hello, borrow a cup of sugar, share ideas, become friends, and still be entirely themselves.
Redefining the math
The Fediverse is based on the concepts of decentralization and federation.
In decentralization, powers and functions are spread out to the communities. If you were to take a political system example, this would be like schools being managed by individual cities or provinces instead of being controlled on a national level. In social Internet, decentralization would be putting instant messaging, microblogging, or photo sharing in the hands of groups of users. They run their own equivalents to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. They control the rules, features, and scope of their services. If Facebook or Twitter were to change their rules, shutdown a feature, get bought out, or just disappear, these decentralized users still go on with everything they had before. If the Cat Photo Society service were to be shutdown by the Dogs Only hosting provider or government, cat lovers still have other services available to them. The pictures of kittens will purrrpetuate on other cat snapshot sharing servers. Decentralization inhibits the ability censor and the ability to wield control by monopoly.
In decentralization, the road to community satisfaction is clearer and more direct. The community does not have to beg and plead a giant faceless entity that does share locality, common interests, or needs. The community does not have to hope that there are enough groups using the same service that have the same requirements they do in order for the provider to legitimize resources for that feature or protection. The community runs and controls its services. It addresses their platform needs. When the needs are satisfied, the community is sustained and satisfaction grows.
In decentralization, the word niche is nearly inapplicable. Communities serve their interests. They are not fraction of a fraction of a fraction of some larger whole on some graph or spreadsheet. They are the whole for their users because they are users themselves brought together by their own commonalities. They are not a niche to each other. They are simply friends, coworkers, acquaintances, or people across the world whose distance is shortened electronically over a shared interest. The value of the group is not based on quantity.
Separation without anxiety
Sure, decentralization sounds great when you put it that way —– but, doesn't get lonely? Thousands upon thousands of tiny groups and no way team up, break up an echo chamber, learn new things, or grow? Why run a social platform when you cannot be social beyond the people you already know or spread the ideas so that they cannot easily be silenced?
This is where the “fedi” meets the “verse”. Federation is the ability to communicate or interact with another group by way of a common set of tools or protocols. It is the Euro for the European Union or the dollar for the States in the United States of America. It is the metric system. It is TCP/IP. It is e-mail. The ability interact through a set of common standards means that all these little communities have the option to reach other's users just by passing their messages or photos in a uniform format that both understand. Common formats you might see across the “Fediverse” are: ActivityPub, Diaspora, OStatus, Zot, and DFRN.
Software that support federation standards are not obligated to use them. Any one can set up their own isolated service for their own community. They can also choose with whom they wish to federate with or not. Federation is not mandatory but is there for when you decide you are ready.
An invitation from 42divide
For those who are new to the “Fediverse”, we bid you welcome. For those who have been in this open realm of realms for some time, we bid you welcome. Welcome one and all to what we believe will be an amazing, evolving, and innovating adventure, full of surprises. as the Internet once more empowers the community.
We invite you to learn, share, create, and experience with us.