The EU via their Horizons Europe program, the Next Generation Internet (where e.g. NLnet are associated) (NGI Initiative) are the biggest funders of the free software projects that comprise the fedi. Without their support fedi wouldn’t be what it is now.
The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) recently launched a pilot to have both a Peertube and Mastodon instance on the Fediverse, hashtagged #EUVideo and #EUVoice respectively. On these servers official European Commission related institutions as well as individuals working at the EC can have their accounts.
This recognition of the Fediverse and the interest that exists in entering our decentralized social networking environment is an important development. With success of the pilot there will undoubtedly be a follow-up and more initiatives to come. First results until now is that the parties that ‘test the waters’ are very happy on the kinds of interactions and quality of discussions they encounter on the Fediverse.
That is no wonder, of course. Fediverse offers social networking that is more personal and friendly, than corporate social media which is about ‘broadcasting’ and influencing.
Current pilot can be a ramp up to something much bigger:
A social networking technology where everyone can find their place and participate, that is not controlled by Big Tech and commercial corporate interests. For the European Commission there is the opportunity to passionately put their support behind fostering “The European Take On Social Networking”. Fediverse aligns to the NGI Initiative who envision an Internet for Humans.
To progress towards this vision it is important for the EU/EC pilot to be a success. As fedizen you can help with this. Here are a couple of ways to offer your support:
- These early adopter accounts are still learning how the Fediverse works, what the culture is and e.g. how we value accessibility and image captions. You can help them discover.
- Many accounts are still Twitter bridges and broadcast only. Some others respond and interact with fedizens, notably @EC_OSPO, @EDPS and @EC_NGI. The operators of the Twitter bridges don’t know what the value of Fediverse is to them, and if they should spend time with us. All reactions by us are monitored, so we can help them here.
- There are people giving highly toxic reactions to almost any EC-related toot. There are many things to be critical about. Politics is about the discussion of these issues, and good arguments help more than toxicity. Here we have opportunity to show we are different than the cesspit that Twitter is.
- Do not expect too much, too soon. There is a complex organization structure at the EC, and given the politically sensitive nature all communications are weighed carefully and undergo multiple levels of approval. Plans move slowly, but they are in motion.
Let’s give the fedi accounts more followers than they have on Twitter, if possible.
If you are on Twitter, then help encourage EC institutions to also have an account on EUVoice.
- A notable example is the European Parliament. Respond to their tweets and name-drop the fedi as THE place to be.
- The activities we do here, starting later this year, stand to benefit any administration or institution interested to join the Fediverse, not just EU representatives.