Is it time to try the fediverse? Twitter Cracks

Over the last months we’ve seen spurts of interest discussion around the fediverse concept .

A number of folks here have signaled their efforts by adding their mastodon usernames to their OEG Connect profile, as we track in a directory of sorts.

I for one have much to appreciate for the benefits of twitter since joining in 2007 and I am not cashing in my account, just recalibrating my attention to it. I suspect the new platforms are daunting or bewildering to others? or we are still finding the ways to use a decentralized social network.

Change is happening via TheTwitter CEO Who Shall Not Be Named, and an impact/sign has happened here.

We use the twitter API here in this Discourse powered site just to provide embedded previews of twitter URLs. We have just received notice that this “service” is suspended:

The “free” service they offer is of no help, it only allows use of the API to post items to twitter (e.g. things that send updates of new blog posts or bots that send messages). The “basic” tier offered is $100 per month! Who is going to pay that much?

It means very little, so here is a tweet (link) referencing this message added in a way that previously would embed the tweet here, just pasting the URL on a blank line:

Alas, we just get a link. To include a tweet now I would have to take a screenshot, upload it, and include a link to interacting with it. I am not doing that.

UPDATE: A solution has been found, see reply below!

Now here is a link to a similar post I made in Mastodon added below on new line

As you can see Discourse is able to render a preview of this post. This is hardly earth shattering, but it is a sign. More twitter based tools will fall soon (I will miss the Twitter TAGS archive and visualizer!)

This may hardly be enough to tip your hand to deleting or changing your approach to twitter, but the writing has been on the wall for well over a year.

I am thinking now of perhaps organizing some mini activities for anyone here potentially interested in a short duration series of small activities to help you get not only started or oriented in Mastodon, but perhaps to start thinking about how we can create more of a connected space there for open educators.

Interest? Thoughts?


I would absolutely be interested in this type of series @cogdog :point_down:t3: As Twitter has changed, I find myself forgetting to even use it, but I really miss staying in touch with the OER community I found there.

I am thinking now of perhaps organizing some mini activities for anyone here potentially interested in a short duration series of small activities to help you get not only started or oriented in Mastodon, but perhaps to start thinking about how we can create more of a connected space there for open educators.


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Thanks for this Christina! You will be included for sure.

For anyone trying to wrap their heads around the differences of a centralized commercial social media network and a federated one, this explainer video from Common Craft is useful

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I am interested too, @cogdog!

Mastodon ( and transitioning off twitter) has been on my to-do list for awhile - but just seems so overwhelming. I too would really appreciate something like this - and would love to learn with @Paola as well as @cogdog and anyone else as lost as I am !

Thanks @verenanz and ciao @Paola ! I am excited to see responses. I will be drafting a rough concept that is now just in my head.

Now this is how community action should work! I posted this issue to the discourse community and in the response thread a developer created a solution for embedding tweets again that does not rely on the Twitter API.

So for a tweet at can once again embed that here by pasting it on a blank line, let’s see what happens when I save…

Not that this changes anything with the down the drain direction twitter seems to be going, not will it alter plans to organize here more Mastodon effots.

Is it time to try the fediverse?

The answer is always yes. :slight_smile:

I mentioned this elsewhere, but one thing that OE Global might consider is the equivalent to a Twitter conference in the Fediverse.

Seeded an idea there, Steve, thanks.

I participated a few times in the Twitter-based Press-Ed conference and found the format energizing.

Hi cogdog,

I am up for a Mastodon Camp run by my favorite head counsellor!!


If I get back with my “social networking” roughly a decade ago, the best part was that they work in browser. But soon afterwards I’ve noticed they are “walled gardens”, e.g. people were posting things from one to another but only in “crude” fashion, e.g. only a simple URL, maybe with some cut+paste text or screenshots. Twitter back than sort of stood out, because it was possible to work with it from 3rd party apps. Hence I got one of such apps. The goal was to have all my social accounts there, but for example Facebook did not “buckle” with the API hence 1) I slowly went off Facebook and 2) Twitter remained my only account in the app.

Later I’ve learned about Fediverse. So my primary goal was to get the account with which I can work in my app. Here, the app proved a detriment, since it was quite old and not able to handle for example Mastodon for quite a long time. But after some months/years, I got there. But …

… I’ve enjoyed the ability to work with Twitter and Mastodon from one app only for a short while: Twitter cut API for 3rd party client apps few months back. Thanks to that I’ve “recalibrated my attention to it” to almost zero.

This serves to me as a reminder, that I really should stick more with open standards and Open Source, to avoid pitfalls with walled gardens. I do regret losing “my twitter bubble” but since I’m not able to interact with Twitter service on terms favorable (also) to me (e.g. without data collection, without features I do not want getting in my way, etc.) then I simply won’t.

Long story short: IMHO yes, many should switch. If not fully, then at least maintain presence on several networks, not just one.

(The hardship with that serves as reminder that interoperability makes our lives easier and walled gardens are doing the opposite. It is only a first impression that single unified service makes things easier. But it’s main purpose it to get people in and prevent them from leaving. E.g. that Twitter without open API: “my bubble” there represent hostages which the company uses to make me accept terms I would otherwise reject. Hard problem, no good options.)

Thanks Peter, you’ve nailed the tension between what’s simple and easiest to do as a user (the centralized approach) versus taking that ownership. In a perfect world, interoperability would reign (at least we have TCP/IP).

That desire for a dashboard is understandable, it’s what potentially the fediverse and ActivityPub offer. It’s similar to the microblog approach what was it called, Write Once and Publish Everywhere that some folks do well (but ti takes a good chunk of expertise).

I’m thinking quickly of two colleagues:

I dabbled a bit a few years ago with Known another open source platform that did this kind of function, not sure if it’s maintained any more, but the idea being you create your social media posts in your own space, and use protocols (well if they work anymore) elsewhere.

My own hunch is much of this is the shift to people doing more of their access on small screens (apps) versus the native web itself.

I have no answers, but it seems messy forever going forward. But the rise of interest in the fediverse is a positive sign and a refreshing redirection from just 3rd party platforms.

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