6 min read

Exploring Mastodon: A Look into the Diversity, Inclusivity, and Fun, of the Decentralized Social Media Community

Exploring Mastodon: A Look into the Diversity, Inclusivity, and Fun, of the Decentralized Social Media Community
DALL-E: A mastodon emerging from an ice cave

Last April when it was announced that Elon Musk took over Twitter for $44 billion, I read an article in Apple News from the LA Times titled: With Elon Musk in charge, it’s the beginning of the end for #BlackTwitter

Column: With Elon Musk in charge, it’s the beginning of the end for #BlackTwitter — Los Angeles Times
The community of millions that figured out how to turn Twitter into a platform for real-world activism and power won’t survive this $44-billion deal.

It got me 🤔 thinking (as a black man) who is embracing and learning all I can about decentralized networks, web3, and using blockchain alternatives to as many apps/sites as I can… Just how diverse is this community that I’m beginning to spend more time in?👇🏽

My web3 experience so far has been one of commonality, creativity, and community. Although there are many users who prefer to remain anonymous as that is a tenet of the crypto culture. Remaining anonymous (while a public transaction is recorded on a blockchain). 🕸💎💎💎

There is a cultural shift of adoption happening in the decentralized/web3 space, first created by the rise of NFTs, and the crypto curious. 🤨 Now adoption continues to grow as Twitter ex-pats who feel they no longer fit in, or in the case of some journalists, were actually suspended from the site on the whim of a billionaire. Users, flock 🐦(sorry, too soon) to sites like Mastodon.

Although Mastodon isn’t considered web3 since it doesn’t utilize blockchain, it is instead decentralized and open source. Mastodon isn't really one social network either. As stated in the Mastodon Help - Guide, "there is no such thing as a social network called Mastodon! Instead, there are thousands of independent social networks called Mastodon Instances."

Courtesy Mastodon Brand Toolkit

Decentralization Matters

More users (including myself) are building their decentralized/web3 brand identity publicly.

Sharing who you really are can build trust, and that leads to open conversations and social media interactions that add value.

Will a mass adoption of decentralized social by more users open the 🚪 doors to expose disparities in the diversity of the web3 community? Or will enough BIPOC users find a home and build a community that thrives in the fediverse?

Come on #BlackMastodon… I see you 👀 (y’all know we always find each other.) 👊🏽

Update - Again, I’m only about a month into exploring the fediverse (federated servers on an open-source platform that makes up Mastodon).

According to https://mastodon.help/instances “there are more than 12,700 instances currently active making up the Mastodon ecosystem, with 6,150,474 users (1,640,530 active during last month) and 594,559,494 published statuses.”

Mastodon Help - Instances
Mastodon instances

Even with those kinds of numbers, I was pleasantly surprised and excited to find a…

Black Twitter Instance on Mastodon: 👇🏽 🤯


Black Twitter
Remember when you first heard about Black twitter and thought it was actually a separate website? Was that just me?

I’m all about it.

I've opted to run my own instance, primarily out of curiosity (I’ll detail this in a later post). It can be found @ clareifi.org if you want to check it out.

No matter what server instance you sign up on, you’ll be able to interact with the whole of the federated instances that make up the network.

There are already a bunch of – What You Need To Know, and Getting Started With Mastodon articles already shared on Medium. Perhaps I’ll contribute my more detailed perspective once I feel like I’m no longer just getting my feet wet. For now, have a look at this post from Medium CEO - Tony Stubblebine outlining the strategy behind the creation of me.dm - Mediums Mastodon Instance.

Medium embraces Mastodon
The fediverse is a breath of fresh air for writers and social media

There will undoubtedly always be bad actors on any social media platform, from spammers to trolls and just plain bullies. But the experience that you have on any social media platform should be up to you to control. Mute, block, report, whatever you have to do to curate your feed.

My first impressions of Mastodon are that there are generally genuine and engaged people willing to help you along and welcome you to the platform.

What Does This Have To Do With Diversity & Inclusion?

The optimist in me wants to believe that sharing a common love 💛 of new technology and embracing new ways of thinking is enough to point us in the right direction toward being better humans.

It can take a lot to immerse yourself into the rabbit 🐇 hole 🕳 that is decentralization/web3. Mastodon can seem confusing, especially for those coming over from Twitter after so many years.

I’m curious 🧐

Is the Mastodon community already the safe space for those who have been disproportionately affected by racism? Sexism? Anti-Semitism? Heterosexism? Classism? Ageism? (____ ism)?

According to the Mastodon Help - Guide:

"Since its inception, Mastodon has been adopted by various communities that carry anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, pro-LGBT, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic values and with time attracted other communities that promote ecology, natives, human rights groups, animal rights, vegetarianism and veganism and also minorities, anti-casteism movements etc. Therefore, racist and bigots would be surely banned from most Instances and if they would run their own Instances, those Instances would be quickly isolated by most of the existing ones."

If anything, it seems to offer more control over both your feed and ownership of your content.

I’m on a mission to blend Advocacy with Multimedia content creation while exploring decentralization / web3. It’s still early in the game. It’s time to craft my message 📢 and show you who I am.

The most refreshing thing I’ve found about Mastodon is that conversations go beyond (NFTs, DAOs, crypto 🪙, or decentralization.) I’m not sure if this was always the case by design or is due to all the new users bringing unique perspectives. From journalism, news, culture, lifestyle, politics, design, history, you name it all the way to music, art, comedy, and countless cat pictures, there is a diverse group of users who are ready to welcome us all.

courtesy Mastodon Brand Toolkit

Whatever it is…

It feels fun again!

I’m still exploring and learning on Mastodon, but so far, I’ve seen diversity 🌈, and feel welcome as I interact and meet new folks across the different communities I’ve chosen to participate in.

What do you think?

Is Mastodon already the social media platform that dethrones Twitter as, “an indispensable tool for real-world activism, political power and change”?


Thanks for reading!

Subscribe to comment below and feel free to connect with me 👇🏽

Clareifi on Twitter

Euri Giles | Clareifi on Mastodon 🦣