A federated universe of equals
Andrew via midjourney

Possible Fediverse Futures

Bernie's a fan of XMPP, as well should you

As the world+dog is discovering Mastodon, I think about possible futures available to us to build a new "social" space on the Internet. What people are really discovering is the Fediverse. It's not one thing, it's generally all based upon a series of protocols, such as ActivityPub, XMPP, SSB, etc. There is no one dominant protocol, yet. The media push towards Mastdon is really a push towards ActivityPub. Mastodon is just one implementation of ActivityPub. 


I hope that the new attention on federated protcols brings new thoughts, new innovations, and scaling expertise to the space. I hope that with more minds working on the challenges of federation, new perspectives are put forward in ideas, code, and standards. I hope that we have improved user experience and user interfaces with which to use in the fediverse. I hope that someone figures out how to monetize the space. I hope that companies and organizations realize they can simply run their own servers/instances under their own controls. I hope that customers, fans, and the like can interact with their favorite companies, teams, etc using their own instances connecting to the instances of the companies, teams, etc. 

Do I need a blockchain? No.


I'm concerned some investor will convince Mastodon, or some other project, to be the massive scale central node, recreating Twitter/Meta/FB, etc all over again. I'm concerned that initial issues with delivery in the fediverse (one not yet ready for billions of people to join it) kills enthusiasm for the concept. I'm concerned that too many people think that "discord servers" are equivalent to "federated servers". I'm concerned that the next generation fediverse is built in a javascript mashed with blockchain. I'm concerned that people will re-create the wheel (ahem, Matrix) when well tested, standard protocols exist (XMPP, ActivityPub). 

I think exposing more people to more ideas that are different than the status qo is a net benefit. Your mobile phone is powerful enough to host most of this fediverse, and all we need is an app that makes it tap-to-exist easy to make it ubitquitous.

I wrote this after a long trip to collect my current thoughts.