A Marketer’s Guide to the Fediverse

Social media is changing. Can you keep up? 

You’ve heard about the metaverse… but what about the fediverse? Short for “federated universe,” the fediverse represents a collection of interconnected, community-owned social platforms. The concept is gaining traction with today’s consumers as trust in big tech wanes. A pocket of consumers – and even the President of the United States – have embraced this privacy-centric, community-based alternative to mainstream social media.

Given the meteoric rise of today’s most popular platforms, marketers must be positioned to quickly adapt. While the fediverse is currently ad-free, marketers can still reach consumers through authentic and organic content. As mainstream networks like Threads integrate into the fediverse, the opportunity for brands will likely grow. 

To future-proof your strategy, we have prepared A Marketer’s Guide to the Fediverse. In this series, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the fediverse and feature data-driven insights about how consumers expect brands to engage with them in social media’s new era. Our first article answers the following important questions:

  1. What is the fediverse? How does it work?
  2. What values define the fediverse?
  3. What are the major platforms in the fediverse?
  4. What is the brand-building opportunity in the fediverse?

What is the fediverse? How does it work?

The fediverse is a network of interconnected social media platforms that operate on open-source protocols. Unlike traditional social platforms, which are owned by corporations, the fediverse is decentralized, meaning no single entity controls it. This enables community ownership and promotes freedom of expression.

ActivityPub is the underlying open-source protocol for the fediverse, enabling platforms to seamlessly communicate with each other. Users on one platform can interact with those on a different platform, regardless of where they opened an account. They can also share content and followers across networks. The fediverse is often compared to email; Gmail users can send notes to Yahoo users because they are supported by the same protocol.

Each platform operates independently with its own rules and moderation policies. Users can join these niche communities, while still accessing the broader fediverse network. They can also migrate between platforms without losing their data or connections. 

What defines the fediverse?

The fediverse has caught the attention of consumers and mainstream platforms for its alternative take on social media. Here, we delve into its defining values. 

  • Decentralization: Unlike traditional social media, fediverse platforms are community-owned. This reduces the risk of censorship or monopolistic control, while also empowering users with ungated content.
  • Privacy: With open-source protocols and independently operated platforms, consumers can choose which environments control which personal information they share and how it’s used. 
  • Community: Fediverse networks are created by communities with shared interests. Consumers can engage in meaningful conversations, form connections, and contribute to developing the platforms themselves.
  • Transparency: Open-source software allows users to help improve the networks and ensure they operate fairly.

What are the major platforms in the fediverse?

A range of fediverse platforms has emerged to rival mainstream platforms. Below is an overview of the most popular ones. 

  • Mastodon: Similar to Twitter, Mastodon is a microblogging platform that allows users to post short messages, follow others, and engage in conversations. 
  • Pleroma: Pleroma is a microblogging platform with similar features to Mastodon, focusing on simplicity and scalability.
  • PeerTube: Similar to Youtube, PeerTube allows users to host and share videos without relying on a central server. It employs peer-to-peer technology to distribute videos across instances, reducing the strain on individual servers.
  • Pixelfed: Inspired by Instagram, Pixelfed is a photo-sharing platform that allows users to engage with content and preserve the essence of visual storytelling.
  • Lemmy: Lemmy is a social link aggregation and discussion platform. Content is organized into communities, so users can subscribe to and vote on topics of interest.

Meta’s Threads recently launched a beta integration with the fediverse. This means that Threads content can also be accessed and engaged with by users on other fediverse platforms. Other social platforms like Tumblr and Substack’s newsletter rival Ghost are also testing integrations, so it’s likely we’ll see some convergence in the near future. In a later article, we’ll cover how these integrations impact consumers’ perceptions of these platforms.

What is the brand-building opportunity in the fediverse?

You may wonder why a marketer should even care about the fediverse. And… it’s a good question. We can’t fully gauge just how big the opportunity will be (or not) given its novelty, but there are some early benefits.

Learn the lay of the land. While there is no advertising in the fediverse quite yet, it's probable that paid content will make its way into the landscape as big tech carves out a space for itself. Brands have an opportunity to learn what works (or not) with organic content before they reach a point where they are investing paid resources.

Show that you’re listening. Winning brands keep pace with and adapt to new trends. By understanding the frustrations driving interest in social alternatives, brands can take meaningful strides toward addressing their concerns. Ultimately, they can build an experience that more closely aligns with consumer expectations.

Learn about your customers. Microblogs and forums are a prime opportunity to engage your audience around their interests. Younger generations in particular are turning to closed off group chats and communities for social discourse. Brands need to create new opportunities for dialogue to understand their customers’ needs and preferences.

Build a community of loyal followers. Community-building is at the heart of the fediverse experience. Brands that facilitate social connection and collaboration will fuel engagement and brand advocacy in the fediverse and outside of it. 

How prepared are you to take on emerging platforms?

Fediverse adoption is not mainstream yet, but given the meteoric rise of many of today’s most popular social media networks, brands must be ready to adapt. This means keeping a pulse on consumer attitudes and ensuring your measurement frameworks are ready to take on new platforms as they emerge. Take our quiz below to gauge your readiness.

Stay tuned for the next article in A Marketer’s Guide to the Fediverse. We’ll cover how people feel about the current state of social media, how many people currently use a fediverse platform, and how the integration of mainstream platforms impacts brand perceptions. 

Subscribe now!

Get our new reports, case studies, podcasts, articles and events