I dream of an open and free social web. A social ecosystem where for-profit corporations function and compete solely as ‘providers/operators’ rather than ‘controllers/owners’ of an individual’s identity and their data, while the individuals, as a community, start self-governing, influencing, and evolving the fediverse themselves. Right from defining protocols to the freedom of expression, all with the egalitarian spirit as it should be!
A new player has entered the game
Meta’s Threads app might be a controller pretending to be a provider, but at the same time I couldn’t help but see this ‘yet another app, yet another feed’ thing playing a vital role in bringing this dream a few steps closer to reality with their upcoming plans to interoperate with other communities via ActivityPub.
In a digital world where sanctimonious cabbages label open source competitions as ‘potentially harmful‘, where greedy potatoes turn against the very community that helps build their business, where corrupt degenerates exploit gullible parents and kids and influence social media companies to silence dissent … it’s refreshing to see a good-spirited gentleman (from Meta of all companies? 🤔 Hmmm…), talking about supporting an open standard, albeit being opportunistic in nature.
Look at it from any lens, it still is considerably beneficial for the web you and I use today! I only wish Meta’s team good luck, hoping they don’t go all Micro$oft on this.
Reaching 100 million sign-ups at a blazing pace than any other platform is certainly a freaking awesome milestone for any product, especially a social network (kudos to the team)! But as an individual who’d love to publish my thought on a site that I host and own or from a community instance for that matter … and let people from other community instances at scale as Threads engage with it … is something I’d celebrate. In the case of Threads, this could be quantified as the active inbound and outbound transactions to other federated nodes once they start supporting ActivityPub—which truly is worth celebrating, indicating the sheer power of decentralisation and its potential for success at a larger scale.
Not too right and not too left, just be neutral and open!
No matter how folks like me bolster the spirit of openness, freedom of speech, and interoperability between networks, ascribing to the active Mastodon instances being good enough to turn the tide, the hard truth is that an average person outside a niche just wants their art or knowledge or comedy to reach masses.
A lot of people on popular social networks are indifferent to the platform they’re on. They just need an audience. That’s their primary need. They flock where the crowd is. Even if they realise the sentiments of the open web, their needs, not to mention the barriers to entry, would keep them off indefinitely unless something like Threads starts interoperating natively.
And honestly, a lot of instances are active and it is enough to turn the turntables, but just not enough to turn the tide around! When a big company somehow ends up serving a huge user base on a silver platter as an opportunity to catalyse progress, why the duck in the duckity duck duck 🦆 world would any sane human want to add ducking friction to it?
Yup, the Fedipact thingy!
Boy, it’s a fun read! Edgy! Partly reasonable, yeah! But completely based on speculation and pretending that fediverse is this utopia where the mistakes of Meta won’t be repeated! Whatever! Nevertheless, it is still a true testament to the ethos of freedom of choice and expression in the open web—the whole point of decentralisation. Confined to this context, I respect you all the same way I respect my 25-year-old self from the past. I’d have stood in the front lines with you on this if it was a few years ago!
Anyways! Now for such individuals and communities, I’d say, you are free to pre-emtively block Threads on your instances out of aversion, but just make sure it’s what your community and the web truly want and not just you as an operator.
Pragmatically speaking, having a corporate operator pushing into decentralised space is a necessary evil (hopefully not this kind of necessary evil)!
And it’s also a good time to remind yourselves that you are one of the tiny pioneers of a positive change in a big world with a whole lot of problems! You can either be a deterrent or a promoter when an opportunity like this strikes! Why block them based on your assumptions alone? Isn’t it prudent to wait, observe, and validate your hypothesis before blindly jumping to the conclusion that Threads will certainly be evil?
Forget the company for a second. Why block access to billions of users who’d be contributing to the growth of the movement? You’re not blocking Meta, but you are blocking— nay my fellow edgelord comrades, thou art gatekeeping the humans who are trying to find genuine audiences. If you let them find value, they’d eventually realise the benefits. More power to the fediverse. You folks are just robbing them and your own community of that chance. To put it bluntly, the so-called ‘fedipact’ is utter ducking buffoonery, you pitchfork-wielding snowflakes!
In this era of social expression where almost 60% of the global population uses social media, the freedom of speech and digital privacy matters the most for any community or individual. But at the same time, people also favour convenience and ease of access to audiences. So, any progress with this pragmatic view is always good!
Meta, Google, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, and similar companies consistently abuse their power in censoring speech, manipulating humans algorithmically with questionable psychological profiling, and a whole lot of infractions against the open web. But here we are, witnessing one of these corporations trying to disrupt the game with an active interest towards decentralisation now.
On a totally unrelated note, certainly in no way related to the aforementioned evil corps and their employees who aided all the crap, here is a calming photograph of a relatively intelligent monkey looking at a group of happy humans, each making good memories to remember in their own way.
The point is! Let them fight! And let them fall! So individuals and community instances may grow fast and free! Will their monopoly in social networking go away? Maybe. Maybe not! Will they all go down together in this cage fight, or cannibalise their own products? Only time can answer that. But some good out of them for the open web is better than no good. Anything that slingshots a movement into rapid adoption and succession is good!
May this tiny ripple in the world wide web evolve in a sensible way. ⚡