Use the Fediverse instead of Twitter, LinkedIn, …

Hi,

first things first: SAP Community please read this blog post and decide to post on fediverse like you do on Twitter, LinkedIn, …

In this blog post I will tell you about my journey from Google, Meta, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, … and programs/services like WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Teams, Github, … to other Companies and solutions which respect my privacy and don’t earn money with the data they collect about me.
You shouldn’t expect a finished journey nor a complete description of the used solutions. I’m still at the beginning and the way is very rocky. Most of the people I know live in the mentioned world of data octopuses. So it’s not easy to completely move over to the Fediveres and probably I will never be able to do so.
The aim of this post is to encourage you and SAP Community to use the Fediverse beside or maybe instead of the commercial oriented solutions.

So let’s start.

Operating systems

Many years I used Microsoft DOS, later Windows. Around 2005 I moved to Apples Mac OS. My first smartphone was an Apple iPhone. I was happy with this for many years cause I haven’t thought about the data I gave Apple and what they do with it. Cause I was always interested in Linux and I got more and more critical regarding the above mentioned companies I bought a Linux notebook 3 years ago. Even though it took a lot of time especially in the beginning to find good tools that replace the easy to use Apple programs I never really regretted the move to Linux. I’m using Ubuntu for the sake of simplicity and the good support on the internet.
Ubuntu does not track what I’m doing and that gives me a good feeling.

Messengers

Cause I never liked Marc Zuckerbergs companies (I saw the film about him and how he founded Facebook) I started my Messenger career with Telegram I think. I still use it with some people but it took not long and I installed WhatsApp. Recently I installed Signal cause this currently seems to be the messenger with the best privacy respect and a good userbase.
However the best one I used and still use is the decentralized Fediverse solution element.io. You can find me at @htammen:matrix.org. I would like to use it more frequently but I only know a few people who also use this service and those mostly prefer the other above mentioned tools.

Social networks

I used some social networks. I think I started with Google+ (or what they called it). In parallel I used Twitter and LinkedIn. After some time I moved to Twitter only cause it was still in the hands of its founders and a lot of SAP-centered communication takes place there. But privacy and advertisement aren’t optimal there, too.
So I had a look around and found Mastodon which is similar to Twitter and my current favourite. Reach me out at @htammen@fosstodon.org.

E-Mail

I used several e-mail providers. In the beginning there were small ones located in my region. When the providers on the internet grew I saw the benefit of such services and moved to G-Mail. Two years ago however I moved back to a smaller provider (mailbox.org) which fully respects my privacy and which servers are located in Germany (runs under german law which I think is one of the best in the world).

Fediverse introduction

I probably forgot something but you can see that I use products from the Fediverse for almost all use cases.
You don’t know what Fediverse stands for? It’s Federated universe or Federated social network.
If you speak german this is a great article to start with: https://digitalcourage.de/digitale-selbstverteidigung/fediverse.
For only english speaking readers Wikipedia may be a good starting point: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fediverse

Idea of Fediverse

The idea behind the Fediverse is a decentralized social network. Decentralized means that everyone can setup a server and provide a service. Cause the different Fediverse services use a unique protocol called ActivityPub (there are some other protocols as well I think) they can interact with each other.
As written above I have an account at the Mastodon server fosstodon.org. This server has around 20.000 users. But I’m not limited to communicate to this userbase. I can see and follow content and users from all Mastodon (Fediverse) servers worldwide. I can even subcribe to users/content from non-mastodon servers, e.g. Friendica.
Another principle of the Fediverse ist, that every server defines its own rules for collaboration. Most of Most servers are free to use, some charge you a bit money to finance their costs. Most of the servers forbid to post racist or sexual discrimination. Most servers respect your privacy and no server sells your data or finances itself with advertisment (as far as I know).
If you as a user break the rules you’re account will be deleted by the owner of the server.
This is also the case at Twitter, Facebook, … you might say. Yes, but on the Fediverse there is no commercial interest of the operators.
So everyone can find a suitable server instance. Here e.g. you can find the rules of Fosstodon: https://hub.fosstodon.org/coc/. If you start with with a server and later think another server would be better for you you can simply move to it by transporting your account to the new server.

Dosn’t that sound fantastic?

One of the problems of the fediverse network, like all social networks, is that they need a huge userbase to be recognized and successful. This userbase is growing with the amount of content that is published in this network.

Let’s use the Fediverse

So SAP Community please publish all the content you publish to Twitter, LinkedIn, … also to the Fediverse. I suggest to use either a Mastodon server or e.g. Friendica, which is something similar to Facebook. For the videos you publish at YouTube you could also use PeerTube. For audio content there is Funkwhale and …

And you, SAP Community users, get an account at any of the Fediverse servers around the world and post your thoughts about SAP technology there. To find a Mastodon server that suits your needs you can use https://instances.social/.
To move slowly to the Fediverse you can use a crossposter like https://moa.party/. This service posts all content you write at Twitter also to Mastodon and vice versa.

SAP-centered-Fediverse server

If there is enough interest we maybe start our own SAP-centered server like we created this Slack space years ago. The space was a great success story for community driven community.
I would be willing to invest time and some money in such a project. As far as I researched running a Mastodon server starts at € 9,- / month. To support a broader userbase it will at least be € 89,- / month. Or do we find a sponsor?

Discussion

Feel free to ask whatever you want to know about Fediverse. Although I’m not an expert I’ll try to answer as good as I can. Hopefully we start a discussion here and others who have more insights into Fediverse help out.

Let me know what you think about the Fediverse below or at Mastodon.

Best regards
Helmut