Explaining Mastodon in a conversation is so much easier than doing it through text on a website. That has never gotten easier. In fact it's gotten harder because now you have to worry about not sounding like a cryptocurrency because the concept of "decentralization" has been co-opted...

@Gargron Yeah I feel it is easier to explain it by describing it as federated rather than decentralised

@sandrolinux That is not a shortcut...

@Gargron maybe you could pay a company to make an informative video about it, with illustrations

yup, so many things are easier to communicate with voice.
introducting voice-todon now

@Gargron Saying it is federated is easier in my opinion because it is accurate and it isn't a term used by crypto projects so people understand it is nothing to do with blockchain technology. Of course you would then have to explain what it being federated means but it is much easier than starting from the point of talking about it being decentralized in my opinion.

@darckcrystale We've done that, but it's kind of the same exact problem. Reading text out loud doesn't make it a conversation. Plus there's only so much you can fit in a video without running out of budget.

@Gargron "Future proofing" is another strategy. I'm told, "but what if your server host goes bust?" (as have many of my past blog hosts eg ) and I hope I'm correct in saying it is trivial to download your stuff and re-home it elsewhere, free, paid or self-hosted.

What I've seen so far of GDPR compliant exports (WP, LinkedIn, Twitter) is they are not easily imported anywhere else, presumably another 'Dark Pattern' move.

@Gargron i say "open source, user-based and without manipulative algorithms" for this exact reason

@Gargron Also, "If you're not paying, you're the product being sold." That's kinda backfired against everyone who isn't a surveillance capitalist.

@Gargron i usually start with "it's built so the community could run it with no corp at play" and if i have time i explain it with email services as an analogy

@Gargron I'm curious, I've never seen it, do you have a link?

@Gargron oh it's pretty nice!

@Gargron I use “federation” and make a lot of analogies to email, which people already understand. That seems to do the trick.

@Gargron How I would describe it to someone who only knows FB/Twitter:

It’s like a community website which can be general or focused on a topic. Each site has its own rules and admins. There are many of these sites around the world and admins connect them together to share their users’ content with other sites.

@Gargron I just describe it as "Twitter, but ad-free and far better moderated because of it's modular interconnected network of thousands of privately owned servers that prevent business or entity from taking it over."

@Gargron I just describe it as "Twitter, but ad-free and far better moderated because of it's modular network of thousands of connected privately owned servers that prevents any business or entity from taking it over."

@Gargron this is what I didn’t understand, why you against bitcoin and crypto currency and pro decentralization ?🤷🏻‍♂️

@Gargron I think even the big social media companies rely on conversations more than their websites. All of my friends and family join a certain social media because everyone else is having fun over there and talking about it. They almost never check the websites and just download the app and sign up.

Money talks. Bitcoin has a market cap of $475000000000
Mastodon is worth what?
If you want to beat them at their own game you will have to play it. You should actually embrace the idea. It might make more sense if you go along with it instead of fighting it on your own principles.

@Gargron maybe turn that perceived weakness into a strength instead

@Gargron You should consider shifting the advertising every now and then by making it sound more "This is the perfect place for EVERYONE, [CW's, CoC's, NO surveillance capitalism, "everyone can run one" > "if you don't like the rules, go someplace else" etc.]", as I feel like focusing on dealing with people misrepresenting what *gestures all over the place* this is in bad faith is just going to make you even more of a subject of ridicule.

But hey, what do I know...

@Gargron For explaining the Fediverse, I like to say: Imagine you could subscribe to YouTube channels and Instagram accounts from Twitter and talk to everybody.

@Gargron When I talk about Mastodon, I usually explain it with the email analogy. Everyone gets it immediately because everyone knows the concept of emails (at least those that are using emails... ;)

I second that. Every time I mention Mastodon in a conversation and I describe it people look at me like they see an alien. It has gotten little bit better since Startpage engine promotes Mastodon by sharing their account. Same thing for /e foundation. But its shocking to me that Mastodon has been around for years and yet general public don't know about it. And when I mention decentralization I get an alien look again. :)

@Gargron I'm on it now and I still don't fully understand it or the Android app tbh. Is there a site that explains how I can explore different instances to follow people ?

@sandrolinux @Gargron


" is like , but better. It is not social media, but social networking. More personal and representative to real life, where you choose who you hang out with. Mastodon is part of the , an online space where there are countless communities. Each may have their own topics and themes and can set their own rules. And they are all connected together. Anyone who wants can install their own server and host their own ."

@sandrolinux @Gargron

Decentralization, federation, instances, CoC, etc.

They are all technical terms that aren't really needed in storytelling to the average person that never heard of the before.

@humanetech @sandrolinux @Gargron nice specification


@humanetech Although federation is also a concept that is more understandable to a non-technically minded person.

@sandrolinux that is true, but I also got feedback from a bunch of folks new to fedi that they understood it in the context of statehood. And so weird in our context and formal-sounding.

@humanetech However if they understood it in the context of statehood you could say instances are like their own state within the fediverse with their own rules and can be blocked by other instances (or in this analogy states).


Yes, that is an option. Though to me that diminishes the social impression it gives. I start thinking about borders, passports, formalities, and such.

But moderation must be mentioned somewhere, and it has some proper improvements to birdsite as well. I'd personally choose to address that a bit later on, and first make a good case for why it is fun and *truly* social place to be with us other fedizens.

"It's like Twitter, but anyone can set up their own version of Twitter and connect it to everyone else's versions of Twitter"

@humanetech Yeah I do agree the states analogy might confuse some and make it seems like taking part in Fediverse must be very hard and cumbersome.

@Gargron then call it .

@k @Gargron @sandrolinux

Okay, okay "the unenlightened goofs" 😜

@Gargron True decentralization is the one mastodon uses. Crypto is good only for money and keeping important data (like Wikipedia backups).

@Gargron I've found we have to simply it even further. Mainstream people might know "decentralization" as a term, but not what it really means. The most simple explanation I've come up with for friends and family who can't detach themselves from Facebook...

"It's like Twitter or Facebook, but they all can talk to each other, and the one you join is like your "home base." Then imagine no matter which one you're on, you can talk to people on all the others!"

They still don't get it tho. :D

@gargron It's social media, but anyone can provide it, just like email.


Realize that the person you're talking to doesn't realize you can have email outside of Gmail.

@humanetech I
like the description, but I'm confused by the distinction between "social media" and "social network". To the extent that I can perceive a difference between the terms I would have said that "network" might suggest a bidirectional concept of "friends" like on , which and lack, maybe putting them more at the "social media" end of the scale. But that's my own interpretation, so I'm curious what you actually meant by that distinction.
@sandrolinux @Gargron

@humanetech I like the description, but I'm confused by the distinction between "social media" and "social network". To the extent that I can perceive a difference between the terms I would have said that "network" might suggest a bidirectional concept of "friends" like on , which and lack, maybe putting them more at the "social media" end of the scale. But that's my own interpretation, so I'm curious what you actually meant by that distinction.
@sandrolinux @Gargron

@humanetech Now I think about it more, perhaps you meant "network" in the sense of being multiple nodes (instances), which makes total sense. I'm still not sure why that would mean it's *not* social *media* though... 🤔
@sandrolinux @Gargron

@caesar @sandrolinux @Gargron

It's a deliberate distinction to *not-so-social* social media.

Media are news and entertainment. It's TV-like or press. You publish stuff there, broadcast. There are celebrities, influencers, the screaming headlines, etc.

Our social networking is real and human. In the way a sociologist in a bar may be fascinated to observe. The whole breadth of sociology and human interaction plays a role here.

Fediverse extends it online. Its richness makes it a .

@Gargron Just use the email analogy. Everybody understands Gmail, Hotmail, being able to talk to each other, and the value of it not being a locked garden. Imagine we all had to sign up to services with a single email. Only difference: it's "publicly posted/viewable emails" and it's like Twitter.

@Gargron I say the following (whenever I try to do this exercise it only passes if my mother-in-law can repeat it to a friend):

It's an interlinked network of communities owned and operated by the communities they serve, with millions of members around the world.

I use as little techspeak as possible

I do not highlight the negatives of other platforms, 99% of the people being spoken to don't know or don't care.

I do not highlight similarities to email as I don't want to confuse the use case