Everything happening on twitter at the moment is stressing me the hell out, and I really want to be the solution but it hasn't hit critical mass yet. I fear that federation is both an essential concept for mastodon and a mental bridge too far for the majority of people.

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@Stewart there’s like half a million people on the main instance so I think for normies it makes sense to sign up there; federation can just be something they benefit from without ever thinking a about.

@Viveka a lot of the “getting started with mastodon” guides specifically say don’t sign up to because the point is not to concentrate everyone on a server.

Actually the fact that getting started guides are even needed is a problem too.

@Stewart If the main way for people to get on is through friends showing them how it works that barrier to entry could lead to a higher-trust network. Notable examples of networks that have benefited from onboarding complexity and social onboarding are Minecraft and Snap, and various close-knit real-world intentional communities/gangs…

@Stewart As you can probably tell I’m puzzling over this myself, and evolving my thinking as I go. Your point about the down sides of just sending everyone to the big instances is well taken.

@Stewart Tom Lehrer said:

Life is like a sewer ... what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.

But Mastodon is a bit like that. On the instance I run we've had a huge influx, and I'm encouraging people to follow, favourite, and boost as much as they can ... they can always unfollow later.

There are lots of people around, but Mastodon depends on the network effect, not the firehose.

While some of the people you want to follow aren't here yet, but there are others. Search for hashtags, seek them out, build a network here, and maybe others will come to join you.

Personal opinions only, your mileage may (will?) vary.

@Stewart So far, I'm a week in.
Big lesson, if you want to find community, have an account on a medium-size instance where the local feed exists, but isn't a firehose.
For me, I found that instances with the natural common interest thread have been a great start.
So, I'm on fosstodon (FOSS software), mastodon.ART (art), and (amateur radio).

I'm even seeing what looks like critical mass in these groups.

@BobCollins You have 3 different accounts on 3 instances?

I'm on which is a decent size instance (2.5k members) and relevant to my interests (I'm Australian) but it seems to very obviously biased towards tech enthusiast-types. I have a background as a developer -- I am reformed and sober from IT for 10 years -- and highly value interactions with non-tech folks that are much more prevalent on the birdsite.

@Stewart Yes, I have 3 different accounts on 3 different instances. Initially to learn how Mastodon works, but it may be a way to roll for a while.

My understanding is that birdsite(s) are channels to non-fediverse platforms like Twitter. At this point, I am not particularly interesting in that.

BTW, I have seen plenty on non-tech people directly on Matodon. Just looking at the people who favorited my recent "Out-Of-Office" toot shows many for whom tech isn't their first language.

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