Mastodon is a different social network but, above all, it is an opportunity to recover the values with which the internet was born, disrupted by its commercial colonization.
Once again, what really matters is not the platform or the brand, but what it does to us, as a culture and society, when we adopt it. Because what we rediscovered is that decentralization, open source, and community management can return control of internet to citizens.
We are witnessing the exhaustion of a business model that managed, for almost thirty years, to extend the economic functioning of media in the digital world based on audience loyalty to offer them to advertisers.
The multiplication of platforms offered by digitization and the hyperconnectivity brought by mobile devices have fragmented and specialized content consumption, whose production has surpassed traditional media and settled within social environments.
The platforms of big tech companies have taken the lead over the media, and now open protocols are threatening to displace the platforms. The crisis of Twitter and the rise of Mastodon are showing the outlines of a new emerging paradigm.
We are facing a shift in the digital media landscape due to the exhaustion of the commercial model of the internet, user saturation, and the crisis of credibility of news organizations.
In this environment, it is worth remembering the non-commercial origins of the internet and considering the opportunity for a re-foundation of internet offered by federated models based on open-source software and open protocols.
Mastodon isn’t necessarily the future, but it’s certainly a new beginning for the internet and the dreams that gave it breath.
Jose Luis Orihuela is a professor, speaker and author, born in Argentina and living in Spain. He is a faculty member of the School of Communication, University of Navarra (Pamplona). Visiting scholar and speaker in 26 countries. Writer and blogger focused on the impact of the internet on media, communication and culture. His latest books are: Manual breve de Mastodon (2023), Culturas digitales (2021), Los medios después de internet (2015), Mundo Twitter (2011), 80 claves sobre el futuro del periodismo (2011) and La revolución de los blogs (2006). Publishing in eCuaderno since 2002 (ecuaderno.com), in Twitter since 2007 (@jlori) and in Mastodon since 2022 (mastodon.social/@jlori).