User Experience — Hello, anyone?
After logging on to my brand new instance for the first time I was met with a striking sight: nothing! Wasn't I supposed to be federating with thousands of servers around the world? Turns out it wasn't as easy as just logging in. I needed to find other users to follow. So I scrolled through the public timelines of as many other instances I could easily find, and followed users that seemed at least marginally interesting.
And it wasn't a waste of time! My instance found others, and posts began to flow into the timelines. I soon discovered many new users and loosely connected communities. As someone who had never even had an account on Twitter, the dynamic and somewhat ephemeral experience was a bit exciting. Immediately it was clear that the Fedi as a whole was more niche than other social networks. It is an alternative after all, home to many alternative sorts of people. Rather than scaring me away, this niche nature has made it more engaging.
Overall the Fedi feels like it's own proper corner of the Net. Perhaps mainly because it hasn't—and hopefully never will have—reached the massive and monopolistic scale of the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Assuming social media as a concept isn't proven to be wholly harmful to humanity (research pending), this kind of network seems closer to the ideal.
At the time I'm writing this, I have 657 posts on my main Fedi account. By no means am I a prolific or frequent poster, but I plan to post at least a few more times.
Admin Experience — Well that was easy.
Obviously I'm not only a user, but also an administrator. Despite never having ran a Ruby on Rails application, getting Mastodon working was easy. Actively administering it is also easy. The admin GUI is incredibly nice compared to manually sending POST requests to an API endpoint like some other self-hosted services.
More than once I've considered running Pleroma or Misskey, which both have cool features and customization options that Mastodon doesn't. However, for the time being, I'd rather keep things simple. For the most part the server just hums along processing tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs a day.
It's also great to see so many other admins actively posting. In fact, I was surprised by how many there are. Like me, they're running instances because they enjoy the Fediverse. I hope over time many more (maybe even you) decide to create their own instances, and create their own small communities. If you need help feel free to ask me!
At the time I'm writing this, my instance has been running for almost exactly 365 days. By no means is it a large or important instance, but I plan to keep it running for at least a few more days.
Thanks for reading.