Social Media Is Dead
What we call social media networks are anything but. Now that they're beginning to unravel, we should ask what it would take to create social media for people, not advertisers.

It’s good they mention Mastodon, but too bad they gloss over the implications of it being open source and federated. In particular, the conclusion of the article is:

These are not things that engender the creation of networks where we can socialize with one another, but instead where we watch others to an extent and are more actively watched by larger, private sector institutions interested in figuring out how to turn a profit (as well as governments interested in surveilling or controlling their populations). And, until there’s a fundamental shift, we will never see true social media on a massive scale.

Seems to me that this is precisely the problem Mastodon solves because it’s not owned by a private institution. It’s built by the people and for the people with the instances being operated by individuals. This is precisely the direction we need to be moving in.


The Fediverse is more or less public. There are definitely people scraping it for marketing insights.

The Mastodon founder even does consulting jobs for a university project about “open-source intelligence” based on scraping the Fediverse.

In my opinion, the important part is that there is no conflict of interest and perverse incentives for people operating the servers in the fediverse. It’s always going to be possible to scrape publicly available data for analytics, but it’s important that the behavior of the system is not driven by these concerns.

The core issue with corporate platforms is that the way platform behaves is shaped by the interests of advertisers and other shadowy entities. Things like content curation and interest bubbles these platforms create are largely driven by this.


I agree that “social network” is probably a bit of a misnomer. I probably got more “social” out of old web-forums and IRC chats than I ever did from “social networks”.

Facebook was basically always about stalking acquaintances (and maybe sharing family pictures) and most other “social networks” were always more about self-promotion that genuine exchange.

Did some tell vice about the fediverse or do I say something?


Seems vice only mentioned mastodon once way down in the article, and mostly dismissed it.


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