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Seeking a first-class Fediverse platform

A place to read, to discuss, to share.

2 min read

Subsequent conversations have convinced me that I’m right about the assertions I made about the Fediverse for media organizations. There’s a huge need, a huge opportunity, and the underlying technology is there.

The thing that’s a bit missing is a first-class Fediverse platform. Mastodon itself has become a bottleneck. Its design decisions are all reasonable in its own right, but there’s a need for something that goes beyond copying existing siloed services like Twitter. (Pixelfed, similarly, apes Instagram; Lemmy apes Reddit.) What does a Fediverse service look like that’s been designed from the ground up to meet a user need rather than copy something that already exists? And what if that user need is a first-class reader experience with the ability to comment and share interesting stuff with your friends?

I’m not bullish on squeezing long-form content into a microblogging platform, whether on Mastodon or X. Long-form content isn’t best consumed as part of a fast-moving stream of short updates. But the fact that both have those features — and that people are syndicating full-length articles straight to the Fediverse despite the poor UX — points to an interesting deer path to pave.

What if we had a great experience that ties together both short-form discussion and re-sharing and long-form reading, in a way that better showcases both kinds of content and realizes that the way we consume both is different? What if it had a beautiful, commercial-level design? And what if it remained tied to the open social web at its core, and pushed the capabilities of the protocols forward as it released new features and discovered new user needs?

If I had a year and funding, this is what I’d be working on.

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