About instagram redesign and the fediverse

May 22, 2022

The other day, two people close to me came saying:

Instagram its different than yesterday, i dont like it

Before i could see everything sorted by new on facebook, but now i cant anymore.

What has happened was that Instagram was rolling a redesign (one that helps fullscreen ads and doom-scrolling IMO) and now Facebook hides this option under Menu -> Following -> Most recent. And i think this is a clear example of how the platform owns you, and not the other way.

Two different platforms (although owned by the same company) dictating how you should consume it, or giving you an option, but making it very difficult to use it by burying it inside nested hard to read options. You dont like it? Too bad, your only option is to not use it, or use some third party app prone to legal issues because they dont want their content to be consumed outside their platform.

This is why i think everyone should post content on their own website and syndicate them using RSS. Today is easier than yesterday to do this. You could register on Wordpress or if you like, host it yourself on your server. There are more options too, like Ghost, Blogger, Wix or even old Tumblr.

From there, everyone could get and read your content the way they like, using the reader they want, with the design they prefer. Combining multiple source in a timeline fashion version.

You may be asking, but what about the discover tab? i would like from time to time to get recommendations about new people or content. Fair enough, there is a middle ground. The fediverse.

Fediverse social networks differ from mainstream platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc). Mainstream platforms concentrate millions of users on one website, where they control all the decision-making, enforce censorship, and hoard users’ private data for commercial profit and spying. Fediverse networks, on the other hand, are developed by a community of people all around the globe, independent from any corporation or official institution. You are free to register on any Fediverse website you like. You can choose the person who will be in charge of your data - the administrator of your server. If you have technical knowledge, you can administrate your own server for your friends and family, connecting with thousands of other independent servers across the web. Fediverse is an autonomous universe where power and data are decentralized and scattered across multiple lands. No high fences. No algorithms. No ads. Don’t trust our word - explore Fediverse yourself!

This is the description from the website linked above and i think its the best way to say it. You could register to any instance and interact with people of any linked instance. You dont like it? No problem, you could always host one yourself and choose which ones to interact with. You dont like the design,dont want to register an account, or want to follow someone other way? Also no problem, they are built around an open protocol called ActivityPub. Anything that implements it could consume this information. Pixelfeed even provides an rss feed for its users. They are built around openness and user-first use. You could always choose how to consume it, as long as you know how to use the protocol.

Whats even better about this, is that you could follow peertube users from a mastodon instance because both uses the same protocol. This is the equivalent of following and commenting on some youtube channel from your twitter account. All while both are on different servers.

You may think that this is too hard to implement, or prone to error beacuse of a new made up protocol. But what if i tell you that this is the way that email works. Yes, email, the thing that has been working since 1999 and no-one beats an eye or doubt about it. The thing that you need for almost anything you do online. You could register in whatever email provider you like, or even host one yourself, and send/receive from anyone, because everyone talks the same protocol.

Yes, i believe that everyone should have their own website and post there while syndicating. But not everyone wants to deal with hosting and managing it, or some even likes the social aspect of it, this is why i believe the fediverse social networks its the perfect middle ground. You could retain the aspect you like, while using a platform designed for users and openness. And who knows, maybe in the future you could make the full transition.

Leave your comment on the github issue, sending me an email or DMing me on twitter