📈 The new social web has reached its next milestone: For the first time, the has over 4,000,000 users! 📈

Today, the counter at the-federation.info/ shows 4,003,742 users in the Fediverse, out of which 2,761,886 users are on , 762,367 on , and 249,904 on . Fast growing projects are (69,954) that more than tripled and (25,206) that almost doubled the number of users in the last year.



@VictorVenema You are right. The growth of the Fediverse does not outweigh the number of users becoming inactive/dormant. Thus, the number of active users is stagnant and even decreases:

Change of "active 6 months" in the last year:
: 1.36Mio -> 1.21Mio
: 1.25Mio -> 1.09Mio
: 87250 -> 69018
: 9647 -> 12563

In other words, the needs to substantially grow faster in order to also grow in terms of actually active users.

@gerald_leppert We created our own community at FediScience, there were many accounts created, but only few of them are actually used. So it may be that many are inactive from the start.

We should somehow study why these people left, never got started, that may be more important for growth than attracting new people.

@VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

I suspect there's a similar number of abandoned users on corporate services, except admins don't really care about them as long as the ad revenue comes in.

consider also the effect of a global pandemic and quite scary political situations in many countries; a lot of people are simply overwhelmed by that and may be avoiding social media as a whole, particularly networks that have a lot of news and politics posts...

@vfrmedia At least on my server 80 to90% is inactive or hardly active. That is a lot. Could well be similar in the silos, but it is still something to care about.

There are some services that send you an email if you have been inactive for a long time. That may be way to reactivate people.

There are also people trading in accounts that look old to sell to people wanting to look like trend setters. Like @a@FediScience. If that is the reason they may claim the account later.


I remember discussion about a "reminder" email for inactive users, not sure if the feature was added.

Your instance looks good, but is also quite specialist and comes across as aimed at uni science students and profs, who might be both quite shaken up by the effects of Covid on their studies, to the point where trying out new social media isn't a priority (they might be actively trying to avoid further distraction as more and more of uni goes online)


@vfrmedia @gerald_leppert Such a reminder would be worth a try given the large fraction of inactive users. These are people who are at least somewhat interested. You could make it a setting so that people can opt out.

I was not worrying about my own instance, but would like to see the fediverse grow at the expense of the silos. I think that would be good for society.

That being said, there are 10s of thousands of scientists on Twitter. The audience for FediScience is theoretically there.

@VictorVenema @vfrmedia @gerald_leppert I think poor discoverability of content within Mastodon is a blocker. This is only true for Mastodon from what I hear - because it was intended as a feature.

@ashwinvis @VictorVenema @vfrmedia

Indeed, for new users, there should be some more intro that only hashtag searches and searches for user names exists. Also, it might be confusing for users on small instances that they search results depends on the federated users/instances of his/her instance. Thus, on small instances, first, you discover little on your specific topic.

New users also usually don't know fediverse search engines like: search.social/

@gerald_leppert @ashwinvis @VictorVenema

TBH the users who pick smaller instances tend to have started on the larger ones and are aware of the search limitations.

Bear in mind that young adults particularly outside "tolerant" Northern Europe (particularly in USA) who happen to be LGBT+ or in ethnic minorities no longer feel as safe and secure online; they often don't *want* to be discovered that easily on their social network..

@gerald_leppert @ashwinvis @VictorVenema

also a lot of smaller instances opt out of the data gathering exercises as in the early days there were people using altered versions of AP software to scrape data and index "prominent/influencer" users in the hope of somehow making money through online marketing to these users (I ended up on one of these lists myself and to this day get follows from the most random sources, particularly from sex workers halfway across the World..)

Sure. But searching with just one hashtag is silly. I can't search for #rock #metal #nowplaying together for instance.

The only option is adding a column in the advanced interface, but this is an obscure and cumbersome feature.
@gerald_leppert @VictorVenema

@ashwinvis @gerald_leppert @VictorVenema

searching with more than one term works inconsistently (maybe the same code?) and whether search is enabled at all depends on the instance admins choice (to be fair most admins will tell you exactly what and isn't implemented)

When I first started using Mastodon I just looked on the federated timeline for interesting stuff (you had to be quick off the mark or it ran away, I think newer versions limit the rate toots appear to make this easier..)

I think the problem is, people don't find their friends here. So, getting more people to create an account in the first place is one vital step. The next step would be to getting these people to actually use their accounts. How to do that, I don't know..


@x2ero @gerald_leppert Even on Twitter there is hardly anyone I would have known without the internet. There is no expert in my field of study on Twitter, although a few that know enough to be able to talk about it. Such things require a huge part of humanity to sign up or groups to sign up together like with messengers. Maybe we can learn something from messengers?

@x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

The openness of the fediverse may be key. The first of my planned bi-monthly-digests of my more-open-than-facebook feed will go to Facebook and Twitter next month.

With a "look at what you missed coz you were left behind at facebook" rant.

The fediverse is open, so there's no login-barrier.

When you want everyone to leave a party to have to be both present at the party and yet also have one foot out of the door, pointing at the greener grass.

@pre You have to get the people where they are.

The announcement for our new instance for scientists went viral on Mastodon (554 boots), it also did not do badly on Twitter, but that was where it was most important to get more people into our open ecosystem.

@pre It needs, however, actually something people consider "missed" outside these walled gardens. No matter which of my fields of interest I look at - few of these things really happen in a continuous, vivid way outside the large platforms because that's still where most of the non-techy people are... What *are* these people actually missing while hanging around on Facebook? 😉

@x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

@z428 Kindness. Friendly real conversation, rather than vitriolic debates. As long as we are small and can thus cater to niche topics less, that the main selling point in my view.
@pre @x2ero @gerald_leppert

@VictorVenema @z428 @pre @x2ero
I agree. A good experience through kindness and non-toxic feed back. This is a selling point and should be also a goal of the fediverse in the long run. BTW, people joined Tiktok, because it has a nicer and more positive experience than Instagram & Facebook.

Another important point is belonging. In a federated social network, we should better communicate the point of communities, e.g. a science instance, a climate activist instance, a city of Bonn instance etc.

@gerald_leppert Well, I'm sceptical about both. At first (a) kindness: I've been into various means of digital communication ever since mailing lists and usenet in the 1990s, but the #fediverse so far is the only place where I ended up in discussions that stopped at "you're wrong because I'm right and now I'll block you". This is by no means a day-to-day experience but it sometimes feels like the #fediverse in some aspects is much more homogenous than other ...

@VictorVenema @pre @x2ero

@gerald_leppert ... social networks and that it is pretty difficult to discuss some topics that are considered outside a certain "consensus". There are some aspects (talking nuclear power, in example) I really have learnt to avoid here.

As for (b) belonging: Yes. And no. I fully understand that and agree with it, but I'm unsure how this should practically happen. Personally, I'm a loose part of many tribes that aren't necessarily opposite to each other but ...

@VictorVenema @pre @x2ero

@gerald_leppert ... they don't just have much in common. I always enjoyed this - because there are many "interests" that matter to me, and because I always considered this a good approach for real exchange of ideas rather than being lost in a certain bubble. From that point of view, I need a #fediverse profile mainly to interact and get in touch with people anywhere else. That's like in the 1990s when I signed up for my first GMX address, I think, because ...

@VictorVenema @pre @x2ero

@gerald_leppert ... I didn't want to show my university mail address all over - this "belonging" simply didn't make much sense in most of my communications. The only thing that could solve this, possibly, would be having multiple accounts in multiple communities, but one of the core issues with common networks is already having too many accounts in too many places.

(Mabe I'm all wrong here - just my very personal €0.02 on that...)

@VictorVenema @pre @x2ero

My personal experience on the Fediverse makes me agree with most of what was said here.
On the side of multiple accounts, though, that's what I finally went for. Some apps like Fedilab make multi-user experience on the Fediverse quite manageable, I would even say "almost seamless".
@gerald_leppert @VictorVenema @pre @x2ero

@tfardet Yes, I agree, but in an odd way "almost seamless". Still waiting, though, for #tusky or #fedilab to provide a "combined timeline" for all accounts, just like #twidere does it (actually I'd even use the latter if it was just a bit more reliably maintained and more on par with current #fediverse features...).

@gerald_leppert @VictorVenema @pre @x2ero

@z428 @gerald_leppert @VictorVenema @pre @x2ero
right, I like to keep things separated but I definitely get why this could be useful!
Did you open a feature request on Fedilab?

@z428 @x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

Well, my friends are missing some of things I write. I dunno how much they care about that I suppose, but Facebook only gets a small selection of it now.

@pre I generally like this strategy very much, it just never worked out for me. 😟 Neither did it work out to withdraw from certain messengers and hope people would follow. Still trying to figure out why this works for some and not at all for others.

@x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

@z428 @x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

Isn't working for me either so far but gotta quit Facebook somehow, feels like it's dying there already really.

@pre Over here, Facebook seems far from dying unfortunately. It's unfortunately still on the rise, with more and more very-late-adopters who started using WhatsApp earlier than others and are now moving over to Facebook for whichever reasons. Most of them are older folks (65+), some of them never used a "private" computer in their whole life, and some of them use WhatsApp and Facebook and still don't know what "that internet" actually is about (because ...

@x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

@z428 @x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

Can't even speak for the country, but my own newsfeed is becoming more and more dominated by conspiracy bollocks and unicorn memes.

They can have all the users they want, but if there's nothing worth reading there's no point logging in.

It'll happen slowly at first, and then all at once, but once the quality people start leaving it's only a matter of time.

I have a bunch of "quality people" I follow. Most of them are actually bots, mirroring their twitter tweets.

@z428 @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

@pre In my case, what keeps me at Facebook (or Instagram) are a lot of way less "mainstream" artists - postpunk, harsh electro or EBM acts, some metal bands, ... - that use these platforms to communicate, to talk to people and to publish releases. Some of them even did "live" gigs on Facebook or Instagram during COVID-19 lockdown (and asking for donations) to at least somehow compensate for the income they lost with most (all?) the tours canceled. It's ...

@x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

@pre ... a pity having to use proprietary network platforms for that, but having to make a decision between "using free tools" or "supporting these folks", it's still easy to me. 😐

@x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

@z428 @x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

Well Facebook banning live music events ought to make it easier to leave that at least ;)

Only brands I ever followed on Facebook are things my friends made, if a band or brand won't offer an RSS feed then I just don't follow 'em really.

Might agree to an email list depending how much I trust 'em.

@pre Oh, did they? Still seeing some new clips appear then and now. And unfortunately, moving away from Facebook then will make musicians move to YouTube which is just slightly better (if at all). Seems pretty much a clash of interests here - decentralized social networks that don't care much about things such as "exposure" are a bad thing to rely upon if exposure is crucial for you in order to raise some funds. 😐

@x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

@z428 @x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

My band have been using youtube. The are the only streaming platform with any agreement with the music companies at all.

It's illegal for a cover's band to use anyone else really, and only legal at Youtube.

Good discussion on that here: youtube.com/watch?v=1Jwo5qc78Q

It's a bad situation.

If we were playing our own songs instead we be more suited for Twitch probably. But copyright is a nightmare if you're playing other people's songs.

@pre ... all they have is a smartphone with apps pre-installed). This is utterly weird - and utterly difficult to deal with because the knowledge gap to bridge is way too big.

@x2ero @VictorVenema @gerald_leppert

@gerald_leppert @VictorVenema things like #nextcloud also have fediverse accounts which can be very inactive...

@mk @VictorVenema

Thanks. This is a bit strange.
The user numbers for the instances themselves are the same like to the-federation.info. Here the three biggest instances:

pawoo.net 636792
mastodon.social 531133
mstdn.jp 201961
all others are much smaller. Thus, 287 mio users actually cannot be correct.

Did you count the users or the statuses?

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