How to Empower Local Communities/Organizations with Fediverse applications?

Lately I’ve been thinking about how I might be able to propose some fediverse applications to some local organizations in my area in order to enhance and replace (in that order) their organization efforts on the large closed social media platforms. I think working with already existing groups tied to geographic areas could bring some great grassroots power to the fediverse.

Something that I think is really important in approaching this is that communities themselves know best what they need. I know that if I come in just talking about the ways in which Mastodon mimics or is better than Twitter people will just ignore me. As they should, if I come in speaking before listening.

Has anyone else worked with local groups on these things? What were some pitfalls? Benefits?

Two pros of fediverse social media that I’ve been mulling over, both related to moderation:

  • Advertising based social media means that when participating in your group members get served ads that you have no control over. I’ve heard stories from some People of Color that they got served racist ads, ads that they felt were targeted to do harm. That’s a problem fediverse social media can solve.
  • Fediverse social media has many more options for moderation. On Facebook many groups are set to private in order to protect members. This closes them off, less able to communicate with other groups. Federation enables groups to be selectively closed to some groups and open to others.

I have seen many Twitch and YouTube channel who have started a forum for their community. Typically Discord. It would be great if they would use Mastodon or Friendica for something like that instead. I have no idea why they prefer Discord. Maybe it is just a custom, just because all the other channels do this. The people creating these communities will normally not be techies, not know all the options and then opt for the best.

The ones that already have a Discord forum will probably be hard to change. If we try to move entire groups to the Fediverse we should probably look out for channels that are growing, but do not yet have a forum, and contact them.

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I would try to understand if your local organizations see the pros of fediverse as solving pressing problems. If those organizations are focused on problems which have nothing to do with social media at all, then they’re unlikely to be motivated to setup and maintain a presence.

If those orgs have been banned for ambiguous or arbitrary reasons or even if there’s a perception that the big tech platforms aren’t giving them fair representation, you have a significantly stronger argument for going this direction.

The fediverse reminds me of the early web wherein a lot of organizations will realize over the coming years that they need a presence here. So that might be one angle, however you need some allies who see the same story, are growth-oriented, or progressive enough to see the opportunity of engaging with the online social space of the future.

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This does not directly relate to your question, but it goes somewhat in that direction.
I am working on a specification and a prototype to make data and events of organisations available as linked data. I am working with (kvm) and (we).
“kvm” shows organisations on a map and makes them geographically visible. “We” provides organisations with a collaboration platform.
Read more about it here:

In the future, a loa data provider should be an activityPub actor and thus you can register there as a follower and be informed when new organisations are added or there are changes.
This should also be feasible for certain regions/cities.

To provide tooling for organisations, you might want to work with existing providers, “we” or “m4h” overview of m4h services: M4H - M4H-Netzwerk

Translated with (free version)


I actually started to get involved with the fediverse because of local need, we needed a calendar/scheduling application and Gancio was by far the best choice for something the would allow a lot of different types of scheduling, have many users, let anonymous users create an event that needs admin approval, etc. I’ve also proposed fediverse stuff to meet other needs (like a group that was having trouble with a bot attack, and didn’t have enough access to their technology to easily solve it). I imagine things like facebook’s recent push to have users report ‘extremist content’ will get people moving eventually (the program is being tested on Facebook in the US, I imagine if it spreads to instagram it’ll get more people thinking about moving). But so far the main draw is having something that provides a solution to a very specific problem.

The difficulty is that it seems like it’s not at all user friendly to get into the fediverse - there’s an overwhelming number of applications, with varying amounts of ease of installation, access to info about them, etc. On setting up the Gancio install I was pretty in the dark in terms of if I was making correct choices for the VPS (like how much memory I needed, still don’t know if it’s possible/how to install, say, a mastodon instance alongside the Gancio). I know there are some services for helping with Mastodon installs, but barring that or having an invested person with a high level of knowledge or dedication, it’s a really high barrier of entry. I’m in the US, where FLOSS isn’t as widely used and many of our orgs have had a recent influx of people in the last year, who are very with google docs, instagram, etc. I think at this point many are starting to realize it’s a problem, but it’s not clear to most people how to move on from those.


Yunohost is a project that makes it fairly simple as many of these things as can fit on a single box. I’ve installed it but not used any of its apps, which include Mastodon, PeerTube, and many other federated FOSS apps.

I like your instinct of solving problems out of local need. This space attracts grand plans but most people just have a few problems they want solved and it could be true that solutions to tons of little problems add up to something truly great.

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@vince I had not heard of Gancio before! Thanks for mentioning it!

@weex I have heard of Yunohost a bunch but haven’t explored it yet. My entrance to the fediverse was attempting to run a Matrix server with Freedombox last year. It was great, except the front end got borked for me and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I’ve since leaned towards running everything myself, because at least if I’ve labored to set it up I’m more equipped to knowing how to fix things when they get messed up ha.

I think it’s really important to approach advocating for ActivityPub as a way to collaborate together with communities to build tools that actually serve their needs. It’s important that ActivityPub powered tools not be just another obscure set of websites that get foisted upon people as stuff they need to do to keep up with the times. It has to be something that we do together, not least because that will make these tools better.


Maybe also the OpenEngiadina project is helpful