The Fediverse is a decentralised, federated social media network, with over ~4.4 million users and ~10 thousand instances1. Let me explain.
See also: full guide version
Say you and your friends have Twitter 🐦 accounts
@charlie. You can talk seamlessly to each other, but only on
twitter.com. Not good.
Now, say you and your friends have Email 📧 accounts
firstname.lastname@example.org. You can now talk from different websites/servers. Great, but Email is a poor social media network.
Now imagine this. You and your friends have Fediverse 🌟 accounts
@email@example.com. You can talk seamlessly like Twitter, from anywhere like Email. That’s the Fediverse, and it’s amazing.
What does it look like?
Like this. Microblogging, video streaming, photo sharing… And these individual Fediverse sites are all interconnected.
Here’s an example of two Fediverse accounts “tweeting” to each other across the network. Notice the addresses/usernames in red. You can post to the world, to anyone, from anywhere.
No more being tied down to a single place which abuses their power or your data. You decide were you reside.
How do I join?
The easiest way is to sign up to a Mastodon instance (website/server) of your choice. If you’re feeling adventurous, browse this Themed Servers list for other Fediverse instances, including non-Mastodon ones. Remember, you can talk to anyone anywhere regardless of where you are on the Fediverse!2
Many instances have themes, others are generic. Some moderate strictly, others are more lax. Some are huge in the thousands, others are small and cozy. But all instances respect your privacy and freedom, and most are very welcoming.
Is there more than just microblogging?
Yes, plenty! Check out Fediverse.party for a cool interactive guide. The Fediverse is a whole family of miraculously interconnected (federated) services which talk to each other via the ActivityPub protocol.
- Mastodon - Microblogging (Twitter alt)
- Pleroma - Microblogging (Twitter alt)
- Misskey - Microblogging (Twitter alt)
- PeerTube - Video streaming (YouTube alt)
- Lemmy - Link aggregator (Reddit alt)
- Pixelfed - Photo sharing (Instagram alt)
- Plume - Blogging
- Write.as - Blogging
- Friendica - Microblogging+ (Facebook alt)
- Funkwhale - Audio streaming (Spotify alt)
- And many more
Why should I join?
The Fediverse is a reaction to the poor quality of moderation and abuse from the big tech giants (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.). You’ve heard of the horror stories of creepy surveillance and mass data hoarding.
Many of the ~4.5 million fedizens know all too well these companies are too big to handle their own gravity. Arbitrary censorship and feed manipulation is commonplace. It absolutely does not need to be this way.
The Fediverse is a thriving alternative to the current walled gardens. No single person or company owns the Fediverse. It strikes a brilliant balance between censorship resistance and content moderation by design. Most instances run Free and Open Source Software.
The Fediverse renaissance offers real internet freedom. Joining is a statement of independence and free culture. The Fediverse is teeming with hundreds of unique internet subcultures and fediverse-citizens. Join one of the thousands of thriving communities and become a fedizen today. A whole new world awaits.
Want to learn more?
I wrote a plain English Guide to the Fediverse.
Or watch this great explanatory video (7 min).
- What is Mastodon? - 2 min
- What is PeerTube? - 2 min
- Mastodon & Fediverse: Explained - 7 min
- Decentralized Social Networks vs. The Trolls - 28 min
Here are some resources, from simple to technical.
- Mastodon quick start guide - Mastodon.
- What is Pleroma? - lain.
- Getting started with Mastodon - Kev Quirk.
- How to become a successful artist on Mastodon - Mastodon.
- Why Mastodon and the fediverse are “doomed to fail” - eloquence.
- So you want to make it on the fediverse? - Yarmo Mackenbach.
- Some thoughts on Twitter - Anirudh.
- The unrealized potential of federation - Drew DeVault.
- A quick guide to the Free Network - Sean Tilley.
- Fediverse.party - Cool visual guide.
- Fediverse.network - List of instances.
- Fediverse.space - Visualised graph of the Fediverse.
- Fediverse - Wikipedia.
- Awesome Fediverse - GitHub curated list.
- Awesome ActivityPub - GitHub curated list.
Contribute. Note, this article aims to explain the gist of the Fediverse to people unfamiliar with technology, not to be a comprehensive or technical overview.
Last updated: 2021 May 8th