People on the fediverse
Perusing through the newfangled Substack Notes recently, I saw this post by Nadia:
I was saddened to see such a simplistic take by a writer I greatly admire. As the author of outstanding literature on open source including 'Roads and Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure' and 'Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software', I expected more nuance from Nadia.
Mastodon = I saw someone describe this as “the types of people in the US who always threaten to move to Canada” and I’m not sure I could describe it more perfectly
While clearly said in jest, it's also a personal justification for Notes as the place to be (for people who self-identify as writers). The joke was funnier and perhaps marginally more true a year ago, but today it's just a bad-faith smear, attempting to paint Mastodon and the fediverse as a community of inconsequential armchair activists.
In actuality the fediverse folk stayed true to their word and are now happily residing in the digital equivalent of Canada, free from the oppression and vitriol of the place they used to call home. Right now it just feels like a fun vacation, but as the digital borders close down ever more at the behest of technocratic dictators the Canada of the internet will look increasingly like the safe-haven Canada represents in The Handmaid's Tale.
The fediverse is the home of modern internet counterculture. It's where people come to talk about the great entanglement of hypercapitalism, surveillance states, monopolization, unionization, mutualism and open source. It's where we go to talk about how to get ourselves out of this monumental mess we're in; no shortcuts or temporary workarounds allowed this time.
Who's living in Canada?
Mapping a federated network of instances – a pluriverse – is no easy task, but new tools like FediDB are looking promising. To get us started I'll just provide a small sampling from the vantage point of my own feed, which is buzzing with rebellious thinkers at the top of their game.
Need a remedy for the incessant hype machine that's telling you everything is gonna be okay as long as you defer to the tech bros? Media literacy and critical thinking to the rescue!
Speaking of hype, the eminent voices of reason in AI have largely moved over to our side of town as well:
Folks fighting for a more open and just internet.
The truly independent fourth estate, building their own distribution network free from enshittified platform interference.
Writers of the people ✊
Economists with an anti-establishment bent? Yes please!
Okay, I might be a major Robert Reich fanboy who hasn't bothered to branch out yet as far as the fediverse goes. Feel free to make recommendations! I'm especially interested in the intersection of economics and ecology.
Unknown to me until a few days ago, it's really cool to hear that the fediverse is already more accessible than Twitter ever was.
These people aren't making empty threats. They're actively partaking in a grand rebuilding of the social and technical underpinnings of our formerly open web. With your help Nadia, we could get there a little bit sooner.