If you're new here, you may be wondering what the Fediverse is.

The Fediverse is a collection of alternative social networks which share a common technical standard called ActivityPub.

The importance of this is that it lets people on one network interact with people on another network. For example, if you're on Mastodon you can follow and interact with people on PixelFed and vice versa.

This is a very powerful concept in social media, and something you cannot do on commercial centralised networks like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

The reason this is possible is because the Fediverse uses co-operative free open standards instead of trying to trap people in "walled gardens".

This collaboration means that whenever one Fediverse network gets more users, it also increases the audience for all the other Fediverse networks too.

This allows tiny community-based servers run by volunteers to reach millions of people around the world. It's giving us back control.

Follow

Each network on the Fediverse is made up of lots of independent servers, called "instances".

You can see all the latest public posts and boosts on your home instance by clicking "Local" at the side of the screen. It can be a good place to find new people to follow.

However, on larger instances this Local feed may be an unreadable firehose of posts that scrolls far too quickly. This is why a lot of people prefer being on smaller instances that match their interests.

The "Federated" feed at the side of the screen shows all the public posts by all the accounts that people on your home instance follow, including accounts on other instances.

This is a lot, even on relatively small instances, and in most cases it ends up being pretty much unreadably fast and random.

You probably won't want to use this feed to be honest. I'm only posting this explanation in case you were wondering what this feed is 😆

(I am guessing it is a left-over from the days when the Fediverse was much smaller and there were fewer posts overall?)

If a feed is unreadably fast you can optionally slow it down by switching on "slow mode". Go to:

Preferences > Slow Mode, tick the box and click "Save Changes" to activate

When slow mode is active, you will need to click on the "X new posts" link to see a feed's latest posts. They will not appear automatically.

To deactivate, just untick the slow mode box and save changes again.

(Thank you to @trinsec for pointing this out!)

@feditips
Being on smaller instances is overall healthy for the entire fediverse ecosystem. The more decentralized the system becomes, the more freedom a user can experience.

@feditips
I use it often enough. It's a good way to "take the temperature" of the Fediverse (or at least the part your local instance federates with).

And a way to find accounts to follow outside of your local instance.

@feditips or for new instances so the first weeks aren't so lonely ^^

@feditips
Of course, in the long run, what would really be nice is personally controlled "algorithms" so the user can determine what they see (i.e. not a fixed one controlled by the platform).

Something like the filter systems in native email clients like Kmail, where you can select and create filters based on various keyword criteria and other constraints.

It's nice to have a look at the unfiltered "firehose", though.

@TerryHancock @feditips yes! These personal algorithms/filters is something I thought long existed - when people could "follow" hashtags, communities around these could form and displace clunky resource and inspiration sharing channels on platforms such as Slack. One resource could easily be shared across multiple topics and pushed through boost if useful. Time to get developing I guess...

@janek
@feditips
It might exist and I just don't know how to use it. I do have a "Filters" tab when I access my account from Fedilab, but I haven't found it in the desktop browser interface.

Is it a Fedilab feature, maybe?

@TerryHancock @janek

That might be the Mastodon filters features, for languages or keywords?

You can hide posts with certain phrases or words, or in certain languages.

@feditips
@janek
Yeah, I found the filters page, but they ard clearly for blocking. Promoting might be closer to the hashtag feature.

@TerryHancock @janek

Ah, yeah, some of the third party apps do have a hashtag following feature.

It's a shame this isn't included in the default web app :(

Friendica has hashtag following available in its default interface, by the way.

@feditips @janek

In the browser app, it looks like you have to go to "Profile", then "Preferences", and then "Filters" to get to that feature.

@feditips It isn't that unreadable if you turn on 'slow mode' in the preferences.

@feditips i wish i could filter it to few specific instances i am interested in

@feditips I would say the exception to this may be the single-user instance.

The federated timeline is the one I read the most, since it allows me to discover new people with whom my connections interact.

But, since I'm the only person on the instance, it's really manageable. On my big instance account, it's just a blur.

@keelancook

If it's single user, isn't the federated timeline is identical to the user's own timeline? 🤔

@feditips no, they differ over time.

At first, they are basically the same. But the federated (or known network?) timeline begins to include those that my connections boost or reply to. Once one of my connections does that to someone I do not follow, they also wind up in my federated timeline, but not my regular timeline. This allows for discovery of my friend's friends.

Then, I can either follow them to get them in my user timeline, leave them in a wider federated timeline, or deactivate on my personal instance if I don't want to federate with them.

@feditips
I use that feed a lot! I like discovering toots and people from other instances...

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