It's been a while that I've been telling around I intend to write a #guide about socializing on #mastodon.
Of course I didn't finish the guide, in fact I didn't even start writing it... I'm still in the note taking phase.
However, today I took a plane and read an [article](https://yarmo.eu/blog/make-it-on-fediverse/) by @yarmo in which he compared Mastodon to a village and Twitter to a metropolis.
I didn't like this analogy very much, so I came up with my own in which Mastodon is a big city with a lot of different places where people hang out.
I didn't polish this yet, it's just some notes I jotted down quickly, so take it as an unpolished draft.
I'd like to know your opinion about it: if you're a long time user if you believe that this analogy actually reflects Mastodon and if you're a new user if the analogy made you understand some things about Mastodon you didn't previously know.
I'll take into consideration your comments while polishing this up and to decide whether to actually include it in the guide.
So, here we go:
Mastodon is like a big city with a lot of people that hang out all the time.
Since the city is big, people hang out in many different places where they meet their friends, and generally people always hang out more or less in the same places.
Some people live near the centre, where there's a lot of different people and they can barely recognise faces and other live in isolated outskirts where few people live and everyone knows everyone else.
Some people just hang out in places where they do things that interest them, such as churches, gyms, workshops, art galleries and so on and thus mainly hang out with people that shares their interests.
The more you hang out in one place, the more you get to know the people that stay there and become their friend; moreover, staying there you get to know their friends, which may just be passing every once in a while but who normally hang out in other places.
Some groups of people despise others and try to avoid each other as much as possible by not talking to each other, avoiding common friendship and not going to the places where those people hang out.
When you move to a new city it's difficult to make friends; if you already have a friend living there, it's good to go around with him for a while to see all different places and to get to know some friends so that you can then choose where to hang out and who to meet.
If you don't know anyone living there then you have to start making friends autonomously; a good way to do this is to just choose a place that you think you like and hang out there for a while, trying to talk to people and getting into conversations with them. It's unlikely that you'll immediately find your favourite place in the city or that the first people you meet will become your best friends, but it's good to start making these "introductory friends". Through these friends you'll meet other people and eventually you will meet someone who's really cool and with whom you get along very well. Eventually you may distance yourself a bit from these people as you hang out more with other friends you made and you may stop hanging out in the place you were initially hanging out as you discover places you like more.
Thus, you'll slowly discover the places and people of the city until you find a good spot that you like.
If you're like me, you won't be happy with just one place or just one group of people and you'll start going around many places and making several groups of friends.
On the other hand you may just find a few good friends and always hang out in the same place.
Thus, it's inappropriate to start by asking around who are the cool people to follow: if nobody knows you nobody will be able to tell you who you might get along with.
It's also inappropriate to ask people to present you other people who do your same job or have your same interests; the best thing to do is to go in places where such people hang out and try to meet them naturally.
Just imagine going to the barman and asking him for the list of engineers specialised in photovoltaic panels that go to that bar... And then just going to those guys and saying something like "I heard you do my same job, we shall hang out together." That's not nice, even though he does your same job he may loathe you or you may not have fun with the guy, this is a place to hang out and not a job board.
@rastinza I like where you are taking this analogy, hope you develop it further!
To clarify my analogy: first of all, I don't talk about Mastodon but rather the fediverse 😉 semantics…
More importantly, I compare the fediverse not to a village but a network of villages. Which, to me, is the same thing as districts in a city. Separate but joined entities. So, in the end, I don't think our analogies diverge that much
@yarmo Yes, you're right addressing it as several villages works quite well! Maybe I misread your article a bit, I'm sorry. Villages actually address a bit more the difficulty of moving from one instance to another, which is unfortunately far from seamless.
I feel that describing it as a single big thing, even though it's not, makes it a little bit easier to understand for people who just jumped into it and are trying to figure out what to do.
I'll try to broaden the analogy a bit more in the next days; on the other hand I don't want to make it to long as I also want to explain things out of the analogy and I don't want the article to become long and pedantic...
@apinae @yarmo Thank you, definitely expanding on places would be nice!
I'm not sure whether to include more technical mechanisms such as hashtags in the analogy, I just want people to get the gist of Mastodon so that people who migrated from Twitter understand that following everyone is not really the main focus.
I'll definitely explain all those things in the guide, but I'm not sure it would be appropriate to include it in this analogy. I'll give it a try!
@yarmo @rastinza I understand that it might me a bit technical for new users. I just learned that hashtags are vital to find the groups and people which share your interests if you are not on a server that already is your interest. Again just ideas. Also, and I think that is a vital point though, is the heritage/history. Because mastodon was and still is a hub for marginalized humans who found a safe space here and populated the fediverse way before it was on the map for most. What do you think?
@apinae @yarmo I guess I might introduce hashtags as courses/themed clubs at which you attend, or even conferences since it's difficult to really create communities over hashtags which are widely used.
In mastodon you get a lot of marginalized groups that joined it because it offers the opportunity of staying in a more protected and closed space without harassments.
I don't think it is mainly for marginalized people, I for one am not one of them: I joined mastodon just because after a long while I wanted to try staying on a social network, it's my first real experience on a social network after Facebook many years ago...
@rastinza @yarmo good idea with the hashtags. Oh, I am not saying it is only for marginalized humans, but they were the ones who used it and filled it with life before the big migration started. And I am not saying it’s in the DNA of mastodon but a rather huge part of it. Since history is important to understand most things, I am just thinking that it should have a place in your story.
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