The Web and Mastodon

I read a blog post from Glitch about their graphic design, and something in it really struck me.

It’s easy to forget in an era of billion-dollar Internet startups that the original vision of the web was that it’s something we make, not just something we consume.

The web: something we make, not just something we consume.

This hit me because I’ve been running a Mastodon instance for two weeks. Let me explain. Beyond administering a tech-focused instance, I’ve also been contributing to their community with added documentation, new ideas, and code. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience, in large part because of the community. Being a part of Mastodon feels like being a part of something much bigger than just myself.

Mastodon is the Web at its best. I’m building a space, the community is building social norms, it’s so participatory and so refreshing and so rewarding.

But the thing is, I’m a bit tired of pundits wringing their hands about Mastodon: “will it be a success?”, “how can it beat Twitter?”, blah blah blah. Who cares?

One article cuts to the heart of pundits’ problematic hot takes:

And therein lies the issues for brands who want to join this new network and advertise to the community.

Ugh, who cares about brands. We – me and the other Mastodonians – are making something for us and not for brands. Sorry if that offends.

Mastodon isn’t defined by its relation to Twitter or to Facebook or to Snapchat. It’s not trying to be anything other than what it is. The developers are doing this because they like it. The admins are doing this because they like it. The users are doing this because they like it.

Leave us out of your hot takes, please.

I’m not saying things are perfect – there are tensions and conflicts in any community – but the fediverse feels so much happier and friendly than Twitter has for years. Maybe ever. It’s the salad days of Mastodon, just enjoy it! Aww yeah!


Posted on April 17, 2017