masto meta, microblogging 

I can't help but join in with the current "discourse" spawned by a follow-recommendation feature in the latest RC version of Mastodon.

I've seen some take it as an attempted movement towards better user retention, and talk about why people come to mastodon and why they (don't) stay.

To add my view here, I think there's fundamentally two ways of using microblogging:
• Peer-oriented
• Celebrity-oriented


masto meta, microblogging, peer-oriented 

Peer-oriented microblogging is my name for using microblogging to talk to your equals / peers. Everyone is assumed to be more or less approachable, and number of followers is a meaningless metric.
Most of the "old guard" of mastodon (I include myself here) are avid practioners of this, since this kind of microblogging can bootstrap itself in an empty space, by connecting with whomever else happened to be around.

masto meta, microblogging, celebrity-oriented 

Celebrity-oriented microblogging is my name for using microblogging to follow a number of people you find interesting, without expecting any direct interaction. This slowly leads to interesting people accumulating followers, which leads to follower counts being a metric for "interestingness".
And thus two classes of users are born; followers and celebrities.

masto meta, microblogging 

The celebrity-oriented approach is what dominates Twitter today, although I think even twitter started as peer-oriented among the early adopters.

And the celebrity-oriented approach has mostly been in minority on Mastodon, afaik. (I can only see a corner of the english speaking network, though, so I mighy be wrong).

But it's dominant on twitter, most people are used to the celebrity-oriented approach and struggle with (or uninterested in) switching to peer-oriented.

masto meta, microblogging 

This resistance towards adopting peer-oriented contributes to perceived bad user-retention on mastodon, since there's very few recognizable celebrities, so there's very little value on mastodon from a celebrity-oriented perspective.

Combine this with the fact that much of the toxicity that Mastodon is designed to avoid is directly related to celebrity-oriented microblogging, it's either switch to peer-oriented or don't use mastodon.

masto meta, microblogging 

This ultimatum is kinda problematic because (and this is guesswork, I don't have any statistics) most people aren't interested in talking with random strangers on the internet.
Existing friends, yes.
Experts in your field, yes.
Fellow niche enthusiasts, yes.
Random strangers, no.

Peer-oriented microblogging excels at connecting with random strangers.
Celebrity-oriented microblogging excels at connecting with experts in your field.

masto meta, microblogging 

But since (if we accept my previous postulations) celebrity-oriented is almost always a highway to toxicity, and peer-oriented is optimized for something most people don't want, how do we build a social network for the masses without toxicity?

My answer: give up on context-free microblogging.

Build features that support intentional communities instead of singular relations between people.
Groups would be a great starting point for this.

masto meta, microblogging 

Oh, and tagging this thread with , so I can find it later.

@zatnosk Huh, kinda assumed that was how it was supposed to go? But then odd social rules tend to spring up out of mispercieving nothingness.

@zatnosk I will say sometimes I follow interesting people just for incitely posts. Not for.... any reasons of celebrity worship. More because they have good ideas and I want to hear more.

@aleph but if 1000 people follow the same person for insightful posts, then some of them are likely to start celebrity worshipping. And when that number grows to 10k or 100k, there's too many followers for that person to interact with, and without interaction the celebrity worshippers are more likely to stick around compared to non-worshippers.

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk I think Reddit, 4Chan, old-school forums, IRC, bulletin boards, YouTube & Patreon would somewhat challenge the assumption that "people aren't interested in talking to ransom strangers on the internet"

The only sites that honestly believe people use them for celebrity-watching are Facebook and (in recent years) Twitter.

masto meta, microblogging 

@bobstechsite most people don't use those platforms, is my response to that.

Basing your theories of what kind of interaction people are interested in on the people who populate the biggest sites on the web, have a pretty big builtin confirmation bias.

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk note: I removed that last response because I finally managed to get my browser to show me the full toot thread you'd written.

I had misinterpreted your meaning, hence why I was surprised about the assertion you were making.

i.e. I took "celebrity-oriented microblogging" to mean "following actual celebrities off the telly"

My apologies for any undue blood pressure increases. But we live and learn 🙂

masto meta, microblogging 

@bobstechsite no harm done :) I was about to construct an argument of how >50% of danes use facebook, and add an assumption of how it's because it does at least two of the four uses of social media I outlined somewhere in my thread, and talking to strangers is not something facebook is designed for.

masto meta, microblogging 

yes. yes. yes.

Still wondering:

when groups for mastodon.

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk I don't know if I agree with some of these postulations. However, I am confused by the need for groups. Wouldn't you say the folks on are a group? And from there users can connect with existing friends on other servers?

I know you have multiple accounts on different Mastodon servers that match your interests, which may be annoying. And the lack of the ability to say follow all of the toots on the solar punk instance is probably why.

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk I'm not fully opposed to groups, I just feel like the dev culture today mimicks capitalism, GET MORE USERS ALWAYS. This gives us boost and makes amazing software utter garbage. I am just a fan of K.I.S.S., keep it simple stupid.

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk also, I hope you slept well. Much 💜 my friend.

masto meta, microblogging 

@sikkdays @zatnosk For social media users, the game is 'get more followers always'. Ought Mastodon to gamify some other aspect of the experience instead, or perhaps try to deemphasize follower count?

masto meta, microblogging 

@zatnosk Isn't that what instances were supposed to be for?

masto meta, microblogging 

@gws you can't join multiple instances with one account. Only techy people or wealthy people can create new instances, everyone should be able to make groups.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!