Some thoughts on Mastodon

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

It is, by far, the fastest-growing social network in history, growing more than 20% in about a week.

And yet it didn’t stutter much.

How can this be?

It’s a network in the real internet sense of the word. It’s not just a network of users, it’s a network of servers as well. No one owns it. Like email, it’s a set of principles and rules, not a place. A federation is different than a corporation. It might not be as shiny, but it’s far more resilient.

It’s inconvenient. You can’t get started in ten seconds. This leads to less initial stickiness. It means that the people who get through the learning curve are more likely to be committed and perhaps generous. In the early days of email, of Compuserve, of AOL, of the web, of just about every network I’ve been part of, these early users created a different sort of magic. It never lasts, but it’s great to see.

I started one of the first internet companies in 1990, and the new frontiers tend to rhyme with each other. This might be one.

Part of the power of a network is its distributed nature. That’s a plus when it comes to tech and innovation. It’s a minus when it comes to the speed of central agreement as well as the potential for abuse. Email never quite recovered from the open nature of inputs, which meant that spammers, scammers and hustlers could do what they liked, and the (Read more...)