Evolving social media networks

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Amid the chaos at Twitter, there's this:

It's not clear to me how to embed Mastodon "toots" on WordPress, and who knows how long it'll be until bit decay turns embedded tweets into blank spaces, so here's an image:

And a transcript of the text:

Every Mastodon explanation is like "It's very simple, your account is part of a kerflunk, and each kerflunk can talk to each other as part of a bumblurt. At the moment everyone you flurgle can see you bloops but only people IN your kerflunk can quark your nerps. Kinda like email."

There's also a sort of meta-kerflunk Out There in the form of the Fediverse, based on the W3C-approved "ActivityPub Protocol" — see here for a series of explanatory videos. Early in the first video you'll see this helpful diagram:

Among other evolving multi-cellular organisms in this social-media Cambrian Explosion, there's also the Bluesky protocol. According to Wikipedia,

Bluesky is an initiative to develop a decentralized social network protocol, such that multiple social networks, each with its own systems of curation and moderation, can interact with other social networks through an open standard. Each social network using the protocol is an "application".

It's based on a hyper-kerflunk called the "Authenticated Transfer Protocol", whose relationship to the "ActivityPub Protocol" is not yet clear to me. And it's also not clear whether outfits like Gab and Parler and Truth Social are likely to participate in any of these networks. Not to speak of Facebook and Medium TikTok and Weibo and …

(And then there are vaguely analogous older initiatives in the area of science and technology, like arXiv.org and NumFOCUS and various distributed peer review experiments and …)

This stuff has all been going on for a while — the various social-media "protocol" efforts started about four or five years ago, whatever that translates to in Internet Time. I've managed to ignore them so far, but the current chaos in the protozoan Twitterverse makes them seem potentially relevant.



  1. James Wimberley said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 11:08 am

    For every Cambrian Explosion, there has to be a Muskian Extinction.

  2. Seth said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 11:39 am

    Everything old is new again. You're writing this on a site on the WWW and using the HTTP protocol, built on top of TCP/IP, etc. If you want to know more details, check out the RFC's and maybe keep up with controversies involving the W3C …

    [(myl) Not to speak of Unicode, ODT, etc. etc. … Plus Web3.]

  3. Oracles said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 11:50 am

    I'm headed down to the ActivityPub for a pint. Anyone with me?

  4. Oatrick said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 11:56 am

    I am pleased to note That VoiceOver (iOS screenreader) pronounces Bluesky as “blooski”. I recommend universal implementation.

  5. Björn Lindström said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 1:11 pm

    https://lingo.lol/ is a Mastodon instance for "linguists, philologists, and other lovers of languages".

  6. Rick Rubenstein said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 3:51 pm

    As long as Mobilizon can talk to Funkwhale, I think we're all set.

  7. Stephen Hart said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 4:12 pm

    Oatrick said
    I am pleased to note That VoiceOver (iOS screenreader) pronounces Bluesky as “blooski”.

    Also on macOS Monterey.

    Bluesky as “blooski” reminds me an article our local paper ran once on the film Barfly. Only they hyphenated at the end of a line between the f and l.

  8. Brett said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 4:46 pm

    That quote with the nonsense words reminded me of the protagonist Will's description of what it sounds like when his alien Master talks about his work, in chapter 7 of John Christopher's The City of Gold and Lead:

    He has to use their words when he talks about his work because there are no human words for the things he is telling me about. A few days ago he was saying that he was feeling unhappy because during the zoodeboot a tsutsutsu went into spiwis, and therefore it was not possible to izdool the shuchutu. At least, it sounded something like that. I saw no point in even trying to understand what it meant.

  9. David L said,

    November 5, 2022 @ 7:34 pm

    pronounces Bluesky as “blooski”

    That's how I mentally pronounced it on first sight, then immediately thought of Animal House. Which seems not entirely inappropriate.

  10. Graeme said,

    November 7, 2022 @ 7:49 am

    About 40 years ago, the great Kiwi-Aussie comic John Clarke invented the pretend sport of Farnarkelling. Using nonsense words to satirise the obscure rituals and rules of sport, and language itself.

    Wordplayers may enjoy this sample: https://mrjohnclarke.com/projects/farnarkeling

  11. Philip Anderson said,

    November 7, 2022 @ 8:26 am

    Before that, back in the 1960s, Kenneth Williams, in the persona of Rambling folksinger Syd Rumpo, sang folk ballads full of invented (and often obscene-sounding) words and double entendres.

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