For the past few month’s I’ve been exploring alternatives to the “traditional” social media platforms for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the like - mostly after Elon’s rather … explosive … purchase of the bird platform. Everyone expected it to get a little rocky, but I don’t think anyone expected the mass layoffs, or the absolutely crazy ranting that ensued. Or even the technological lurching that has taken place since. It does feel like just a matter of time until that particular house of cards comes a-tumbling down. I think the most telling thing for me is the information that was posted regarding it not actually having a true cold-start process in place – one hopes that this piece of information is no longer true.
However, Mastodon was one of the platforms (along with things like Cohost) which were pushed as suitable alternatives.
Mastodon is part of a suite of software products, all open source, and part of a platform called the Fediverse where they all interconnect using a protocol called ActivityPub. This allows them to share status updates, likes, comments and interactions - as long as the products actually implement all the features fully.
FediDB has a LONG list of software so it’s interesting to find that you can usually get something that works for what you are looking to do - and get a community engagement with whatever platform approach you are looking to deliver; be it more image sharing (such as coming from Instagram and going to PixelFed) or micro-blogging (coming from Twitter and going to Calckey or Mastodon).
Most of my time has been spent on Mastodon, and I have to say, other than having to get my head around using the hashtags on posts for discoverability, and not having an algorithm trying to force feed me content - having to go and FIND people I want to talk to again - is rather refreshing. But it’s also forced me to address my attachment I’d had to social media, and the negative push that had clearly developed with the others.
I’ve recently started looking at PixelFed as an alternative to Instagram - unfortunately it does have some issues around comments not coming through from other federated services (no matter which platform a communicating user is on, be it Mastodon, Calckey or another PixelFed instance - they can all interact with the media I post) but I am sure this will get fixed soon … or as it is open source, I can always take a look at fixing it myself if I get time.
HOWEVER my spare time has been spent working on additions to PostyBirb+, which is a tool to allow you to syndicate post media to multiple sites. My idea here is to add more of the missing services - such as CoHost, PixelFed, Instagram and Facebook, to allow people - like me - who take photographs publish them to multiple platforms and manage this process. We no longer have single situational communities, and we will need tools to help with this. There are many tools out there that are commercial for this, but PostyBirb+ seems to be one of the few developing further in the OpenSource space, and honestly one that I am extremely happy to invest time and effort into assisting.