I think a shift in the way people see and use social media is coming.
Last year when Musk took over Twitter and a ton of followers decided to yeet themselves out of there, a lot of those people discovered Mastodon and the Fediverse for the first time. Some were intimidated for whatever reason, and never came back. Others stayed, and they became part of the community.
Shortly after having been on Mastodon for just a few weeks, people would start posting about how they felt like they were detoxing. You’d see people post things like “I can’t believe how nice it is here compared to Twitter.” or “I’ve only had one argument here with someone and it was respectful! What???”.
It’s as if they were all learning a simple truth, that publicly funded managed, decentralized, and federated social media didn’t have an incentive to have people at each others throats. That when people are seen as users and not the product of a service, a desire to protect it’s empathetic and civil culture, becomes paramount.
Because of this, the people who use Mastodon, and eventually the rest of the Fediverse, are very protective of it and become very resistant to corporate run social media. They learn that real success shouldn’t be measured by how many people are using a service, but by how that services, serves them. How happy does the service make you? How is your mental health while using that service? How well does the service do it’s job? To the people of the Fediverse, these questions are much more important.
Recently Meta has hinted at throwing their hat into the Fediverse by using the ActivityPub protocol that the Fediverse uses. This has caused MANY Fedi users to call out for defederation from Meta if it happens. The claim is that Meta will try to swallow up the rest of the Fediverse, or that Meta will try to track everyone, all sort of very real concerns. Everyone knows they can’t trust Meta.
And I get where Meta is coming from. They are a dying breed. They more then likely see that their days are numbered and they want to grasp on to any hope that they can for survival. Even Jack Dorsey, the former CEO and founder of Twitter saw it coming years ago, which is why he recently helped to create BlueSky, his attempt at a decentralized and federated social media service. Meta knows that a shift in perception of what social media SHOULD be is slowly growing more and more traction, and they want to take advantage of it.
What they don’t understand is that people who have freed themselves from corporate social media don’t want to go backwards. They see the path the Fediverse is taking and they want to help it move forward, and they are MORE then happy to share with others how much better it is on the other side of the fence. Slowly, but surely, as publicly funded Fediverse grows and it’s services become more diverse, people will see the greener grass of the Fediverse, and will abandon corporate run social media.
I mean, who are you going to trust more? A corporation who only sees you as a commodity, or someone who simply wants to provide a service for others because they enjoy doing it and understand it’s greater necessity? Others will come to understand this too, and when enough people do, that’s when we’ll all finally see the end of Meta, Twitter, and now Reddit.