In relation to the previous post, it may well just be that I’m in an instance that is for lack of a better description, “locally boring“.*
This can obviously deadly to the growth of a social network, and it may be something fixable or perhaps endemic to the other ABNs** extant on the Internet of today.
Reflecting local or “desired” content back at the user can be useful for retention, as the user can see a lot of stuff they like, but it may not allow for much in the way of outside influence. It leads to filter bubbles and echo chambers and directional pipelines to more of the same.
And if it is the first experience for the user, if their first taste of the network (or universe, multiverse, or Fediverse) is “locally boring”, then they might not be inclined to stay.
There are steps that can be taken to ensure that a given (zone/verse/fed/clique/instance/field/dimension/whatever) doesn’t become locally boring, or at the very least stay that way for long. I think perhaps that TikTok managed to do that better than most, hence the popularity and stickyness. (The dual drivers of the feed and the semi-regular replacement of the hamsters powering the database helped too.) There are also some user-driven processes, practices, and protocols that can help as well.
In the interest of being helpful, here’s a quick folksonomy of tips, some useful heuristics that served well at least once:
- follow lots
- follow back
- cultivate an empathetic view
- like liking things
- boost community participants
- block toxicity
- don’t dogpile
- don’t boost negativity
- mute content thieves and LVAs
- remove the “I”‘s and give credit where due
(- no profanity)***
(- no political commentary)***
This might not be everything, but it feels like a good start.
These are the practices I intentionally engaged in as a TikTok user. And that intentionality was key: I treated TikTok as a new forum and decided to change my practices around interaction to see if it led to a different experience.
(Pace the old Einstein quote about insanity being doing the same thing and expecting different results.)
So I didn’t have a full Costanza “opposite day” moment, but I did go into it with a change to my practices, and the results were impressive. So with a datapoint of one, based on the half-remembered folksonomy as listed above, I’ll treat Mastodon similarly.
Now, the affordances of the Mastodon are very different than those proffered by TikTok, and more in line with what Twitter had to offer on launch, so interacting with it may be difficult. There may be more “pull” or “gravity” or “inertia” or “cultural form” something acting as a drag on positive behaviour there.
We’ll see how it goes.
Stay tuned, and have fun.
* with luck, present location excluded.
**: Have I discussed this yet on live, or is still in drafts?
***: The rationale for both of these probably requires further explanation. Bookmarked for later, perhaps.