Why I am co-organizing FediForum

By Johannes Ernst


Kaliya Young (identitywoman), Jennifer Holmes and I are organizing a new unconference focused on the Fediverse and the future of social media:

March 29 and 30

Like many, I have been watching the destruction of Twitter by its new owner with utter fascination. If it was problematic in many ways before, Musk-Twitter is far worse, and there are no signs it will ever return to the state that many of us, myself included, mostly enjoyed.

Fortunately, there are alternatives, led by Mastodon and a rapidly-growing list of Fediverse apps that all interoperate thanks to a number of open protocols such as WebFinger, ActivityPub and Activity Vocabulary. Millions of people have created accounts there in recent months, and over a million new users have become regulars.

But there are growing pains and many open questions, such as:

  • The underlying protocol standards are currently essentially unmaintained, and real-implementations don’t exactly match how the standards were intended. How will this situation be resolved?
  • How do we create and maintain a safe space for traditionally disenfranchised people?
  • The Fediverse currently depends on much unpaid volunteer work. How long can that go well? What if another million users (or more!) join, and the novelty effect wears off?
  • Should brands be allowed in?
  • Is #Fediblock the best we can do for moderation?
  • How do we keep the character of the place if (when!) large organizations come in that bring lots of new users, and, in comparison, large budgets?
  • Who decides?

Conversations need to be had, in a form that encourages problem solving. That’s the kind of space we are trying to create with FediForum: where people meet who want to move the Fediverse forward: on technology, on funding, on operations, on governance, and perhaps on culture.

Because if we don’t, there’s a real chance the once-in-a-generation opportunity to build better social media passes, and I really, really don’t want that to happen. I hope you don’t either.

So, if you love Mastodon or any other post-Twitter social media apps, and have an opinion on the future of social media, join us and help figure it out together with others who think similarly. The first event will be on-line; we hope to be able to do an in-person event later this year.

More info: FediForum.org