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What is the Fediverse? Briefly

· Byron Torres

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 @alice, @bob, and @charlie. You can talk seamlessly to each other, but only on Not good.

Now, say you and your friends have Email 📧 accounts,, and 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, and You can talk seamlessly like Twitter, from anywhere like Email. That’s the Fediverse, and it’s amazing.

Centralised networks vs decentralised Fediverse/Email

What does it look like?

Like this. Microblogging, video streaming, photo sharing… And these individual Fediverse sites are all interconnected.

Mastodon, Pleroma, and PeerTube. 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.

A post and a reply on the Fediverse.

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

Pick a Mastodon instance and browse the Fediverse.

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.

Join an instance

Is there more than just microblogging?

Yes, plenty! Check out 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.

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).

More videos:

Further reading

Here are some resources, from simple to technical.

Last updated: 2021 May 8th

  1. April 2021 -↩︎

  2. Instances can block other instances for moderation purposes.↩︎