Embracing the Fediverse
Over the past few years, I've become more aware of the harm the business-driven social networks caused to me.
I became somewhat addicted to the endless scrolling, which impacted my capacity to hold my attention for long periods. It became impossible to read more than 4 book pages in a row. My brain got used to the clickbaity content of social networks, and therefore the slow-down of reading a book felt boring to my brain.
Moreover, the influencer feeling grew on me. I felt that some positive impact in a community gave me a reputation that I had to protect and grow. The result was that my work became driven by recognition.
Am I doing this because of flattery, or do I actually like this?
Every publication was an opportunity to influence people and show them that I was also keeping up with the trends. Because I felt that a community was eager to hear about my content creations (i.e. open-source projects, blog posts, Twitter threads), I became less present in life. My thinking had already joined some kind of Metaverse even before Zuckerberg gave that space a name. Time passed, and all I cared about was that online presence.
It sucks, isn't it?
I couldn't find my way out. Quitting Facebook and Instagram was easy and helped me become more present. Yet it was not enough. I had to give up on the idea that I had a reputation on Twitter and that I had to continue growing. I had to do it for the sake of my mental and physical's health. The things that I had been postponing needed my attention: learning German, working out more regularly, and finishing up furnishing our apartment in Berlin.
Luckily I came across the Fediverse concept when Elon Musk announced his interest in buying Twitter. The Fediverse taught me that there's an alternative internet where you are the owner of your attention and content, that your privacy matters, and that you don't need to be a product to connect with like-minded people on the Internet. I replaced Twitter with my Mastodon instance, and I started following people from the mastodon.technology and fosstodon.org instances. It's crazy how different a social network can be when there's no business behind it, and you design it for humans. My relationship with it is very healthy. Coming from Twitter, it feels like replacing beers with smoothies. I come across brilliant people that are deeply concerned about the environmental crisis, surveillance capitalism, privacy, and open-source... That's the type of community I feel I belong to and that I'd want to be part of.
Thanks to this tiny yet impactful shift, I became more present. My mental health is happy about it.