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