Darnell (Seize The Day)

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸš€ Darnell.bio 🀳🏾 @darnell@telegram.me πŸ“Ή @darnell@youtube.com

State Department Seal

Over on Threads, @wedistributemedia@threads.net asked an interesting question as to why the United States πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ government is communicating to the Fediverse via @potus@threads.net & @whitehouse@threads.net instead of using their self-hosted server.

This question is something I would like to know as well, although it appears as if @hello@social.wedistribute.org answered their question in a recent blog post.

Here are my thoughts, based on my limited experience working for both tech startups and government. [...]

Aside from choosing an official platform to stake operations on, there’s also the matter of finding an ideal third-party vendor. Currently, managed Fediverse hosting services are still in their infancy, and I’m not sure they’re up to scratch for what a government entity demands: comprehensive compliance requirements, service-level agreements, user training and onboarding materials, and promises pertaining to security upgrades and threat mitigations.

There may also be requirements for custom development, for example, integrating federal single sign-on, such as ID.me or something similar. There would also need to be a deployment strategy for various users, departments, and bureaus. It may be possible for an existing government IT provider to adopt Mastodon or another platform and develop everything needed here, but it’s much harder for any business started in the Fediverse today. (We Distribute)

Sean Tilley (@deadsuperhero@social.wedistribute.org) makes some valid points in this post, & to my knowledge, there are only two ActivityPub platforms used by members of the United States πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ government:

What About Other ActivityPub Platformsβ€½

I am unsure if any other Federated open-source platforms are able to be Federally compliant.

The only other open source software that might be able to pass a federal audit is probably Minds, although I will try to confirm that later on by asking @jack@minds.com, @ottman@minds.com &/or @john@minds.com later on.

Although many Fediverse developers may shrug at the idea of working with the Federal government, securing contracts (which can be worth millions) to help governments establish a presence in the Fediverse might be something to consider (as Fediverse developers would boast a distinct advantage over larger rivals like Google & Meta).

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

Matrix System Failure

Image Credit: The Matrix

I came across this information via @silverpill@mitra.social, who had some hard words regarding Matrix’s predicament.

But it appears as if Matrix needs help to stay fiscally afloat.

Historically, Matrix development has been largely been funded by Element, the company set up by the team who created Matrix in order to fund their work on it. As unpopular as VC funding is in some circles, the Matrix community owes a huge debt of thanks to Element's investors (Status, Notion, firstminute, Dawn, Automattic, Protocol Labs and Metaplanet) and Amdocs for funding over $50M of work on both Matrix and Element since 2017. Having a large professional team paid as their day job to maintain Matrix has helped enormously against xz-style attacks.

However, this model is simply not sustainable: these days, Element is focused on being able to pay its own costs rather than being dependent on further VC investment. This leaves a massive hole in funding for Matrix, and we've already seen the impact of this with projects like Dendrite, Low Bandwidth Matrix, Account Portability, P2P Matrix and Third Room no longer able to be funded by Element (for now). Meanwhile, the remaining core team is stretched. [...]

Particularly in the wake of the xz/liblzma attack, it seems that governments may be more aware that they and their societies depend enormously on FOSS infrastructure to operate. Free and open source software has literally become shared digital public infrastructure. And much like shared physical public infrastructure – bridges, roads, sea defences, etc – FOSS maintenance should be funded by governments on behalf of the taxpayer. (Matrix Blog)

What the Matrix team is arguing for is controversial as well as unprecedented. They desire not mere grant money (which most people would not have an issue with) but continued support at the taxpayer's expense.

However, a more significant issue is that most governments on Earth do not give out taxpayer money for free as there are sometimes unspoken requirements the receiver must adhere to for the sake of continued funding.

If Matrix were successful in receiving funds, they would burn bridges with millions of people who would suspect that governments were funding development to create back doors or β€œbugs” for eavesdropping.

Note: video contains language some audiences may find offensive.

Instead of seeking financial assistance from governmental authorities, maybe @matrix@mastodon.matrix.org should offer premium services for members, similar to what @element@mastodon.matrix.org offered before they dramatically raised their prices.

If Matrix offered affordable, managed hosting solutions upon custom domains, they could attract enough customers to the point where they would no longer need government support, as the latter would probably also end up as a customer.

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

Google (or should we say Alphabet) is trending to conquer yet another realm, although this time, it is in an arena that is slowly collapsing on itself.

Amid the gloom, though, one company has stood out: YouTube TV, which has grown from zero subscribers in 2017 to 8 million in February this year, making it the third biggest provider of traditional subscription TV in the U.S. after Charter and Comcast. [...]

It has been successful enough that YouTube TV believes it can keep growing even as traditional carriers shrink, perhaps reaching as many as 30 million households, according to two people with knowledge of its business plan. That would make it the biggest traditional TV service in the U.S. Google’s chief business officer, Philipp Schindler, told analysts on a recent quarterly earnings call that Google is even contemplating expanding YouTube TV overseas. (The Information)

YouTube reaching 30 million is easy because the video behemoth boasts 2.7 billion users (props to Social Shepherd for finding this stat).

Despite its massive size, I do not see YouTube competing with streaming services like Netflix as the latter is known for hosting professional & original content, while YouTube’s strength is merely broadcasting other people’s content (most of it by amateurs).

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

Flipboard rounded icon

Last month, Flipboard surprisingly implemented a suggestion from fans by activating ActivityPub for curated magazines.

However, in that glorious announcement, I missed an exciting tidbit that could result in Flipboard becoming the largest instance in the Fediverse.

With the initial test group now integrated with ActivityPub, Flipboard says that the plan is to get started generating the remaining active and public curators and their magazines. The company plans to begin this process in March but will offer an opt-out to anyone who wants to keep their magazine on Flipboard exclusively. (Via TechCrunch, emphasis mine)

By allowing ActivityPub to be on by default, Flipboard will enable users to experience the power of the Fediverse, which will make the site the heavyweight champion overnight. This strategy makes more sense for Flipboard when contrasted with Threads, as the former is designed to be an information-sharing hub.

Previously, Threads initiated a public beta test connecting willing accounts to the Fediverse (my handle is @darnell@threads.net on the site).

However, activating ActivityPub will be an opt-in feature, which means Threads will probably have little interaction with the Fediverse in the future. Meta has thus far not revealed how many Threads accounts are on the Fediverse, but according to @fediversereport@mastodon.social, the amount might be minuscule.

A short update on statistics about Threads: Threads' legal department denied the request to share NodeInfo data, according to Daniel Supernault, who maintains fedidb.org. Mastodon's CTO Renaud Chaput meanwhile indicates that mastodon.social knows about 2800 Threads accounts who have turned on federation. While the mastodon.social server does not know about all Threads accounts, it does provide a good indication of roughly the amount of Threads accounts that have turned on federation. (The Fediverse Report)

The vast majority of Threads users have yet to activate ActivityPub upon their accounts, & if one were to extrapolate CTO Chaput’s numbers, probably less than 30,000 Threads accounts are active in the Fediverse out of 130 million users.

When Threads allows users outside of the United States πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ, Japan πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ & Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ to activate ActivityPub, we could see the number of federated accounts climb to over 100,000 users. However, it would be surprising if that number surpasses 10 million users on Threads after the beta ends.

Meanwhile, Flipboard boasts over 100 million users according to the latest estimates. I could not locate any official numbers within the past couple of years, but in 2020, Flipboard posted respectable numbers on their social network site.

One thing that I've heard time and time again is that partners are looking for ways to diversify their referral traffic sources, to be less dependent on the duopoly of Google and Facebook. With 145 million monthly active users globally, Flipboard doesn't match the size of the largest social platforms, but we help move the needle because people come to Flipboard to catch up on the things they are most interested in. (Flipboard Business Blog, emphasis mine)

According to FediDB, about 1 million accounts out of 10 million are active on the Fediverse.

Fediverse stats for active and total users

To my knowledge, these statistics exclude Threads, as the latter has yet to differentiate between total user accounts & federated accounts (for the sake of transparency Flipboard reveals both numbers publicly).

However, when Flipboard activates ActivityPub for their entire site (note: my future federated account will be @darnell@flipboard.com), we will witness a 100-fold jump in the number of active users in the Fediverse, & it ironically will be the result of a company not owned by an eccentric billionaire.

This will result in Flipboard not only boasting more federated accounts than any other instance (including Threads) but shortly, they could potentially surpass Meta’s social network in total users overall (if Flipboard has not done so already).

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

While traversing the Fediverse I encountered this post by @gabek@social.gabekangas.com who lamented that @zuck@threads.net & @mosseri@threads.net held the number one & three top positions in the Fediverse, respectively, according to FediDB.

FediDB Fediverse Ranksings

Before distressed or excited tech pundits begin typing up headlines like:

  • Threads To Internet: All The Fediverse Now Belongs To Us
  • Mosseri Makes The Fediverse Threads Again
  • Threads To Fediverse: Zuck You!!!!

...they should realize that these Fediverse followership numbers are misleading.

Meta Mind Trickβ€½

Meta is reporting the Fediverse the total followership numbers of Threads accounts, & is not reporting how many ActivityPub enabled accounts are following a Threads user. An excellent example of this would be Flipboard.

Previously, Flipboard reported total followership numbers, which impressed me months ago. I did not realize until later that Flipboard was reporting total user numbers, creating confusion on the Fediverse Ranking Charts.

Fortunately, after much discussion, @mike@flipboard.social provided clarity by separating total Flipboard follower numbers from total Fediverse follow numbers.

ESPN Total versus Fediverse followers

See For Yourself

If one visits Zuck & Mosseri's Threads accounts, & clicks on their follower's section, they will quickly realize that most of their followers have not yet activated ActivityPub on their accounts.

Threads users who have activated ActivityPub will see a Threads.net near the user's name, while those who have yet to embrace the Fediverse will not see that link near their username.

ActivityPub Enabled Threads Account

Threads account no on the Fediverse

Scrolling through most of Zuck's & Mosseri's followers reveals that the vast majority (I would say 95% based on my anecdotal scrolling) are not on the Fediverse.

Make Threads Accurate Again

Meta should consider mimicking Flipboard & provide a Fediverse followers list, which could include ActivityPub enabled Threads accounts & other Fediverse accounts.

This would allow users to truely understand how popular their account is beyond Threads (at least from within the Fediverse).

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

Threads icon

Unless you have been distracted by the chaos happening around the world regarding politics, entertainment, finance, etcetera, you probably already were informed about Meta activating ActivityPub upon Threads recently.

Now, we’re integrating Threads with the fediverse. With our beta experience, now available in a few countries, including the US, Threads users aged 18+ with public profiles can now choose to federate their profiles – allowing them to share their Threads posts to other ActivityPub-compliant servers and enabling people on those servers to follow them, and like, reply to, and repost their posts.

Building a federated platform – Meta’s first app for open social networking – has meant new engineering challenges and opportunities. Designing for the fediverse comes with unique interoperability considerations and hurdles to overcome on the server side. (Engineering at Meta)

According to @christophersu@threads.net & @sblackst@threads.net (Meta engineers), the beta test is currently available for users within the United States πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ, Japan πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ & Canada πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦.

Although Threads entering the Fediverse should be a cause for celebration, many others are worried about how Meta’s presence will affect the future of decentralized media.

While I do not personally believe @zuck@threads.net & @mosseri@threads.net will initiate operation EEE due to regulatory forces in the United States πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ & European Union πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί, I do believe Threads overall presence will be both a blessing & a burden to many who call the Fediverse home.

Threads in Fediverse

Count Your Blessings

Three ways Threads will be a blessing to the Fediverse include (but are not limited to):

Making Fediverse More Mainstream

Meta’s entrance will make it easier to explain to the public what the Fediverse is all about without appearing to speak geek to the masses.

This will make it easier to introduce the concept of the ActivityPub protocol to neighbors, friends, coworkers, politicians, businesses, etcetera.

While this might seem trivial, having a company experienced in marketing to billions of humans on Earth easily explain the philosophy behind the Fediverse and the ActivityPub protocol will save time for those of us fluent in geek.

3D visualization of Fediverse logo

More Hosting & An App For Thatβ€½

As more people become familiar with the fediverse, more will desire to host their content on their domain, servers, etcetera.

We could witness one-click installs appearing for:

As more people, businesses, government agencies, celebrities, etcetera, establish their Fediverse social networks, we will also witness greater demand for official & third-party apps to interact with their web cousins.

Developers will be needed to create Fediverse apps for...

  • Android (phones, tablets, smartwatches, virtual reality headsets)
  • Apple’s iDevices (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, Vision Pro)
  • Microsoft (mainly Windows)
  • Linux devices (desktops, smartphones & tablets)

...which could bless those in the tech arena by earning extra income to help put food on the table (which is desperately needed after the numerous layoffs over the past few years).

Diversity photo in public domain

Opportunity For Diversity

Years ago, @justinhendrix@mastodon.social interviewed @shengokai@zirk.us, the latter who broached the topic of The Whiteness of Mastodon, & it has more or less been a subject of debate throughout my time in the fediverse (update: thanks @thenexusofprivacy@infosec.exchange for correcting me by clarifying that Dr. Johnathan Flowers broached the topic while Justin Hendrix conducted the interview).

If there is one thing Threads boasts about, it is diversity, as I have seen numerous communities (African, Asian, Arabian, Native American) embracing Threads over the past few months.

Having their voices enter the Fediverse (even through Threads) will benefit everyone in the long term, especially when our planet is facing multiple global crises (both artificial & natural).

Mastodon welcoming Threads

Image Credit: @davidrevoy@framapiaf.org on Pepper & Carrot

Lay Down Your Burdens

While Threads activation of ActivityPub will bless the Fediverse, its presence will also cause issues for those in the Fediverse and affect future ActivityPub platforms.

Spam can

When Spammers Attack

With Threads entering the Fediverse, ActivityPub patrons will have to strengthen their defenses against spammers, trolls, porn bots, etcetera.

I have blocked far more spammers on Threads in the past three months than I have in three years on the Fediverse (which includes the time when spammers flooded the Fediverse).

Spam is always an issue (online and off). Still, the amount will increase, unfortunately, as more Threads accounts activate ActivityPub, which means admins running instances will need to figure out adequate countermeasures to avoid getting swarmed with spam.

Joker from Batman Dark Knight burning money

Image Credit: Scene from The Dark Knight movie

More People, Less Money

According to FediDB, there are approximately 1 million monthly active users in the Fediverse.

Threads boasts over 130 million monthly active users, which could translate into higher server costs for instance admins in the future.

Unless community members are willing to support their Fediverse home financially, we could witness many volunteer-run instances shutting down due to a lack of fiscal resources.

Public domain poster promoting censorship

Too Much Moderationβ€½

Previously, Threads began limiting political content, outraging many pundits online.

Although Threads later on made viewing such content an opt-in feature, the company is still limiting select search terms, which would be relevant towards current events.

While there has been a raging debate about how much moderation Fediverse instances should conduct on behalf of users, Threads aggressive approach to create a digital safe space is already causing issues, as they allegedly removed a post by @w7voa@journa.host regarding a terrorist attack in Russia πŸ‡·πŸ‡Ί (& oddly claimed his post supported terrorists when the opposite is true).

Threads allergic reaction to hard news is (to put it bluntly) a disservice to the Fediverse overall. Fortunately, there are heavy weights like Flipboard who can easily fill in the information gap. Still, Threads absence may result in people being unaware of critical news that could affect their life.

So Is Threads Good For The Fediverseβ€½

Overall, Threads' inclusion within the Fediverse should be celebrated. However, it would be wise for other ActivityPub platforms to figure out ways to increase their reach and act as a counterweight to Meta’s presence.

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

So if you were hoping for a third-party Threads client in the future (which would mimic the functionality of the official Threads app), @0xjessel@threads.net (an employee of Threads) revealed several days ago that is not on the road map.

there are no plans to support APIs for 3p clients. but posts from federated threads users can be seen on other mastodon apps if you follow them (0xjessel on Threads)

This is not to be confused with Threads releasing an API (or Application Programming Interface for you non-geeks out there) for developers to integrate within their respective applications or websites.

Threads API Update πŸ›œ

Over the past few months, we’ve been building the Threads API to enable creators, developers and brands to manage their Threads presence at scale and easily share fresh, new ideas with their communities from their favorite third-party applications.

The API currently enables users to authenticate, publish threads, and fetch the content they posted through these tools – and soon, we will enable reply moderation and insights capabilities. (0xjessel)

This probably confirms that, like Instagram, Meta wants Threads to be the only client available to maximize revenue generated from advertisers.

Although Meta could allow third-party clients to be built, they would have to figure out a means to force developers to include ads within third-party apps (the latter may not want to allow ads unless they are receiving part of the profits).

A prime advantage of allowing third-party developers to create clients is that they can often build mobile & desktop apps for operating systems considered irrelevant by the corporate overlords.

Sora for Apple devices

One example is an app by @me@sns.mszpro.com called Sora, which is available on:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Apple Watch
  • MacBook
  • Vision Pro

Meanwhile, Threads is limited to iPhone & Android, with no clear indication of whether they will support iPad or Android tablets, let alone smart watches & augmented reality devices.

Note: Sora supports Mastodon, Misskey & Bluesky.

Hopefully, Threads will change their minds, as it is helpful to access & post content to the Fediverse from non-traditional devices (like via Apple Watch if you are exercising or at work) when you lack access to your phone or tablet.

But if Threads remains phone-centric, Fediverse users would be wise to utilize another platform that allows them greater flexibility.

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

United States currency featuring 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 dollar bills.

An excellent video by @Techaltar@mas.to highlights how open systems helped free the Internet in the past, & how ActivityPub can free folks using social networks in the present.

Tech Altar was also able to conduct interviews on Nebula with the:

I have not yet watched the interviews (I just subscribed to Nebula to watch them later on). However, Tech Altar asked an essential question around the 20-minute mark near the end of the video: how can someone monetize their content within the Fediverseβ€½

Tech Altar mentioned that creating video content is expensive, & the video above costs β€œthousands of euros” to make, so he is currently skeptical about this working within the Fediverse overall (aside from promoting links upon the platforms themselves).

Fortunately, there are already several ways people can generate revenue within the Fediverse, some of which can be mimicked by centralized players.

Forget Google & Find A Sponsor

For video content creators like Tech Altar, ads are the easiest way to generate video revenue. Instead of relying on a random ad from YouTube to pay the bills, they could offer sponsored in-video ads apart from the video.

Here is an excellent example from Simon Whistler, who had to rely on an in-video sponsor for this video due to YouTube frowning on the subject being discussed (note: video is Not Safe For Work so use headphones when watching).

In-video sponsors are something that can easily be mimicked upon other Fediverse content platforms like Peertube, Castopod, etcetera, & as a bonus, they would not have to share that sponsored revenue with a billion dollar company.

Although briefly displayed in the video above, another way content creators can generate revenue within the Fediverse is via affiliate links (which have been an option for content creators for years).

A great example is a video by Joe Scott (where he discusses five reasons against visiting Mars), who mentions an affiliate company at the beginning and near the end (who also happens to sponsor the video he created).

Unlike a sponsored video, where a creator is probably only paid a lump sum for mentioning a product or service, affiliate links would allow a content creator to earn a commission every time someone signs up for a service.

Let’s Get Physical (Via Promo Products)

If sponsored videos & affiliate links are not appealing, content creators can also sell physical products that resonate with their audience, which Kurzgesagt has done successfully.

This can be anything from hats to clothes or calendars that help promote awareness of the content creator offline, which can reach new people unaware of the content creator’s existence.

Nowadays, there are numerous companies creators can partner with to create the physical products on their behalf (a quick search on Google or DuckDuckGo will help anyone locate a reputable company), which makes it easier for creators to focus on creating content for their viewers instead of worrying about making & shipping physical goods.

Power From The People

Lastly, content creators can request direct support from those who love their videos, podcasts, essays, etc. Direct support from users is a common practice within the Fediverse & is how projects like Mastodon, Pixelfed & Misskey can fund development of their respective software projects.

This practice is widespread among content creators (especially those producing videos). Content creators can encourage people to support their work by mentioning their names in the video as producers (instead of merely supporters), as demonstrated by Cool Worlds below (near the end of the video).

What About Protecting My Contentβ€½

Yes, content theft has always been an issue on the internet, & it is a massive problem regardless of whether a social network or service is closed, open, centralized, or federated.

The problem has only grown worse with the presence of β€œaffordable” Artificial Intelligence, & many content creators are understandably hesitant about uploading their creations upon platforms lacking a central authority figure who can quickly resolve copyright infringement issues.

Fortunately, there are companies like Viral DRM who specialize in protecting content from infringement, & who probably could easily adjust to servicing clients within the Fediverse (as they would contact the hosting company with legal papers).

Should Content Creators Embrace The Fediverseβ€½

With social networks like Threads & Flipboard entering the Fediverse sooner rather than later, content creators will soon have the option of reaching a large audience without having to maintain accounts upon major social networks.

As the Fediverse grows over time, we will probably see major centralized players begin to activate AcitivityPub on their respective sites, ultimately empowering people to create content on their terms.

Content creators should consider hosting their content on sites they ultimately control instead of relying primarily on multi-billion dollar corporations who can end their revenue stream for any reason.

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

Warning no politics religion drama zone

Apparently @mosseri@threads.net announcement that Threads & Instagram will suppress political content across their respective platforms by default is making political gurus very unhappy.

If you follow political accounts on Threads or Instagram, we want to avoid getting between you and their content. That said, we also don't want to proactively amplify political content from accounts you don't follow. To that end, we're extending our existing approach to how we avoid recommending political content to additional surfaces. (Mosseri on Threads)

Over the next few weeks we will be improving how we avoid recommending content about politics on recommendation surfaces β€” like Explore, Reels, and Suggested Users β€” across both Instagram and Threads. If you want political recommendations, you will have a control to opt into getting them. (Mosseri on Threads)

These recommendations updates apply to public accounts and only in places where we recommend content. They don't change how we show people content from accounts they choose to follow. If political content is posted by an account that is not eligible to be recommended, that account's content can still reach their followers in Feed and Stories. (Mosseri on Threads)

Our goal is to preserve the ability for people to choose to interact with political content, while respecting each person's appetite for it. (Mosseri on Threads)

It might appear odd why both Threads & Instagram are forgoing the promotion of politics, especially with numerous democratic republics electing heads of state & representatives in various legislatures around the world in 2024.

However, the answer may be for business reasons, as advertisers might be less likely to spend money on controversial topics (like politics or social issues).

The fear of upsetting potential consumers en mass is already affecting advertisers in the Super Bowl, & it would not be surprising if the same fear is influencing social networks as well.

While some commercials that run in CBS' Feb. 11 broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII may shock or surprise, most will aim to comfort or amuse, as marketers pull back on pushing the envelope. [...]

β€œAdvertisers are very aware that things can go wrong at the Super Bowl,” says Tim Calkins, a professor of marketing at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, who has studied Super Bowl commercials with his students for years. Thanks to social media, he says, marketers realize that any ad can β€œmanage to annoy people or cause backlash. Nobody wants to put their career on the line with a certain piece of Super Bowl footage. There is a huge incentive to be cautious.” (Variety)

Meta (for better or worse) is attempting to prevent Threads & Instagram from becoming a haven for hot topics, which would attract the attention of the masses, but ultimately at the expense of advertisers (the latter who are Meta's real customers).

Note: Ironically, Meta minimizing politics has renewed interest in Mastodon on Threads, as the former reflects the desires of its actual users & is not beholden to corporate advertisers. We could witness another wave of users signing up for decentralized ActivityPub platforms soonish.

Image Credit: No Politics Religion Drama Metal Tin Sign Novelty Plate on Amazon

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

I know the ad situation with X (formally Twitter) is currently awful, but I did not think it was this bad.

Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, has in the past couple of months been inundated with a wave of ads for porn sites and fake luxury goods. That might sound like a low-priority problem for X, as these adsβ€”no matter how sketchyβ€”could in theory bring in much-needed ad revenue.

The problem is that the flood of ad spam, as insiders refer to it, has coincided with a surge in credit card firms asking X for refunds on unauthorized transactions. That indicates that at least some of the spam ads are paid for with stolen cards, say people familiar with the situation, which means X doesn’t get to keep any money generated from the ads. (The Information)

@ErinKWoo@twitter.com elaborates more in her article on The Information (subscription required) & it appears that Elon Musk lacks the personnel to sift through the ad spam afflicting X effectively.

Another issue is that many democratic republics worldwide will elect new leaders or re-elect incumbents, which means that various political parties & foreign actors will attempt to use social networks (including X) to influence populations at the ballot box.

We will probably witness autocratic regimes & nationalist political parties attempt to flood X with controversial or sensational ads worldwide to advance their agenda of authoritarianism across the planet.

Circling back to X, my theory is that 2024 will be the last year X is influential as a micro-blogging site, as the centralized cess pool is replaced by the decentralized Fediverse by the end of the year.

πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» by @darnell@darnellclayton.com πŸ”› @darnell@darnell.day

πŸ•ΊπŸΎ Follow my adventures upon: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@one.darnell.one 🐘 (Mastodon) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.moe 🦁 (Misskey) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.ooo πŸ“Έ (Pixelfed) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@threads.net 🧡 (Threads

πŸ¦ΉπŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ Other digital havens: πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.tv πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ’» (TeleVerse) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.xxx πŸ”ž (Hard News) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.africa 🌍 (Africa) πŸ‘‰πŸΎ @darnell@darnell.co πŸ§˜πŸΎβ€β™‚οΈ (Creative Outlet)

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