For those who are #newhere
from other social networks, here’s a bit of handy vocabulary to help you navigate this new social network universe:
- An agreed format that enables software applications to communicate with (or “federate” with) each other. The two most heavily used protocols around here are Diaspora and ActivityPub. As an end user, you don’t have to care about the protocol you are using and you don’t ever see the “protocol” other than it enables or limits which users you can see.
- The software application that implements a protocol(s) for federating. The Diaspora platform implements the eponymously named Diaspora protocol. Mastodon, for example, implements the ActivityPub protocol. Friendica implements both the Diaspora and the ActivityPub protocols.
- The server(s) running a particular platform (software application). Also known as an “instance” or a “node”. For example, pluspora.com is one of the many pods running the Diaspora platform; mastodon.social is one of the many pods running the Mastodon platform; and libranet.de is one of the many pods running the Friendica platform.
- The Federation
- The collective of pods running platforms that implement the Diaspora protocol. This includes all pods running Diaspora (the software application), Hubzilla, Friendica, or Socialhome. The users on *any* of these pods can connect to and interact with each other.
- The Fediverse
- The collective of pods running platforms that implement the ActivityPub (and OStatus) protocols. This includes all pods running Mastodon, Pixelfed, Hubzilla, Friendica, Socialhome, or many, many others. The users on *any* of these pods can connect to and interact with each other.
- The Free Network
- The collective of pods in The Federation and The Fediverse, combined.
Hope that helps and doesn’t make this seem more complicated than it actually is. The main difference from other social networks is that no single entity owns and
runs a platform. On G+ or Facebook, you are locked into that platform/company to talk to other users. In the Free Network, one set of volunteers writes the software and puts it out there for free, and another set of volunteers downloads the software and runs it on their servers and invites us to have user accounts for free. (But you should definitely donate to help them with the costs, if you can.) If we, as users, decide we aren’t happy with our current experience, we can change platforms or pods and still keep all of our friends/connections. On Facebook, G+, Twitter, and the like, you are locked in; and if you want leave, you go cold turkey.
Glad you joined us here in the land of choice.