What's the best of the alt-social-media?
January 16, 2021 11:12 AM   Subscribe

There's Mastodon, Scuttlebutt, Briar, and various others that seem like they might be up-and-coming. Have you tried some of them? What's your impression?

I'm particularly interested in things that would work well for a Buy Nothing group, which is traditionally a Facebook group.

The ones I know about that seem like potential candidates include:
- Mastodon (seems more like Twitter than FB; may not be suitable for BuyNothing)
- Scuttlebutt
- Briar (android only)
- Mobilizon
- Mesh (mobile app only)
- Geneva (requires a phone #, which I think is weird)

- Easy for any random neighbor to sign up and use
- Some kind of moderation system
- Cross-platform, ideally with both a browser interface and mobile apps
- Under active development & maintenance

I like the idea of P2P/mesh network/protocol-not-platform projects, but recognize that such projects are usually lacking in at least one of the above priorities.

What's your favorite? What seems like the best for this purpose? Am I missing any?
posted by sibilatorix to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I use Mastodon and enjoy it as a social media platform, but I think the only way to make it usable for a Buy Nothing group would be to set up your own instance and not federate with any others. Probably not appropriate for this purpose.
posted by valrus at 12:09 PM on January 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

In my very limited time toying with Scuttlebutt - it's very easy to set up and dive in, but a key limitation is that your identity is tied to the device or app instance you're using. So there doesn't seem to be a way to sign in to the same identity on a phone and a computer, for example. I was able to jump into a few conversations and people seemed welcoming, but the overall volume of traffic is much lower than, say, Mastodon. I lost interest.
posted by Transmissions From Vrillon at 12:28 PM on January 16, 2021

I use Mastodon and suggest it’s probably not the right thing for this; the image handling is secondary to text, it’s ephemeral by intent, and the weirdness of federation is part of the appeal.

All of your criteria seem to be met by a plain old email listserv. How about an email group?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:04 PM on January 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Something like a group on Groups.io would be good. Although they’re changing their pricing and for free you “only” get an email list. It jumps to $20/month for more features.
posted by fabius at 6:28 AM on January 17, 2021

Yeah. I don't think Mastodon would work for what you want to do.
posted by kathrynm at 9:21 AM on January 17, 2021

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