Bookmarked s13e18: Mastodon, or What Happens When Your Software Has Opinions And Now You Have Choices (

Some Thoughts About How And What Mastodon Is

Dan Hon suggests that the metaphor of towns and cities to explain the difference between federated spaces and social media platforms.

Towns and distinct places. There was a great analogy I saw, that Twitter is like a big city. It contains super interesting stuff, a lot of people, in some cases it is quite dirty and could do with being cleaned up, but there’s a mass there and the ability for serendipity that doesn’t exist in a smaller space. The city analogy feels much more apt than the town square, not least of which because a town square with tens of millions of daily active users isn’t something for which we have a mental model. A city, though? Yeah, that fits: they’ve even got people who’ll hurl abuse at you and, in theory, people who might have an opinion about whether that’s okay and do something about it. You might move to the burbs or to a nation state that has a better opinion about, say, paid family leave or not having a death penalty, but every so often you might still want to visit that big dirty noisy city just to have a look around.

This has me thinking about Dron and Anderson’s discussion of nets, sets and groups.