submitted 7 months ago by [email protected] to c/[email protected]

The mastodon and lemmy content I’m seeing feels like 90% of it comes from people who are:

  • ~30 years old or older

  • tech enthusiasts/workers

  • linux users

There’s nothing wrong with that particular demographic or anything, but it doesn’t feel like a win to me if the entire fediverse is just one big monoculture.

I wonder what it is that is keeping more diverse users away? Is picking a server/federation too complicated? Or is it that they don’t see any content that they like?


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[-] [email protected] 577 points 7 months ago

“Older” “30 years or more”


[-] [email protected] 149 points 7 months ago

Yeah I’m in this comment and I’m not sure I like it.

But it does take me back to the shift from Digg to Reddit. My Reddit account (16+years) was older than so many users on the site. Nuts to think about it. The vibe changed massively over the years.

[-] [email protected] 48 points 7 months ago

Seconding everything in this comment. I jumped from digg to reddit during the HDKEY scandal, so 16+ years as well. I remember feeling unsettled as Reddit moved into the eternal September of the later years

[-] [email protected] 33 points 7 months ago

I jumped Slashdot for Digg, so uh...yeah :)

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[-] [email protected] 244 points 7 months ago

Younger folks have been raised on apps and other polished devices with oodles of effort put into UX design.

Older folks grew up learning DOS commands, memorizing the IRQ of their sound card, and other clunky shenanigans.

In their current state Lemmy, Mastodon and other services are too complicated for most young folks to bother with. Not all, but most, especially the filthy casuals.

[-] [email protected] 104 points 7 months ago

This is the answer. I'm 26 and most of my peers didn't really use the internet beyond the occasional usage of the school library computers until Apple released the first iPhone. By that time places like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit were up and running.

That's all their experience with the internet is. Polished experiences through dedicated apps on extremely popular platforms. Now those people have had kids and all those kids know is the same thing. It's all apps on phones and tablets.

Lemmy: A) Is too complicated in it's current form for those types of people to effectively understand and use.

B) Lemmy is currently emulating a type of early internet experience that only nostalgic older millennials nerds crave. General users tend to prefer bigger platforms.

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[-] [email protected] 42 points 7 months ago

I mean, Reddit killed off ‘polished UX’ and that’s what drove me here. All the great 3PAs are on the Fediverse, after all!

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[-] [email protected] 179 points 7 months ago

My take on this is not that this is the default early adopter demographic (bereal, TikTok, etc…cmon old dudes don’t act like we are “leading the charge”). But, there’s a good chunk of older tech oriented folks that see a glimmer of hope in the fediverse bringing back some bits of the “old web” imo.

While most of the people like me don’t love meta or Twitter it was kinda good enough, but Reddit was kind of a last straw. I was there when all these companies were born and at the time we were all teen and 20-something early adopters (believe it or not even Facebook used to be cool!) and we’ve watched them all slowly degrade. Very young folks prob don’t care as they don’t really use any of these services, but us old nerds want to avoid the pitfalls of the Web 2.0 era.

Web3 and the crypto-decentralization efforts were really ham fisted…I think most experienced techies saw through all the BS and recognized how wildly inefficient it all was, not to mention outright scammy in many cases. Fediverse is unproven but I think it has potential, and I think many of us older techies feel that way.

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[-] [email protected] 148 points 7 months ago* (last edited 7 months ago)

aka: early tech adopters!

these folk are always the ones trying new things, especially anti-corporate things. They aren't keeping people away. this is just how the bleeding edge of new technology. The communities natural grow out over time as more people show up and start to outnumber them. But it's thanks to them that niche new stuff gets supported in the first place while it builds up it's audience (and reduces the friction to joining)

[-] [email protected] 48 points 7 months ago

In reddit's early days, it was exactly like this. I remember that it felt like a Linux user forum, but with some conspiracy theorists. I actually feel that lemmy is a little more diverse than that.

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[-] [email protected] 140 points 7 months ago

That's what I'm here for lol. I mean this is how reddit was when I first started there. Same with digg

[-] [email protected] 67 points 7 months ago* (last edited 7 months ago)

This place reminds me so much of early reddit. It's been a strangely nostalgic experience so far. The part of that which I'm enjoying the most, is that commenters are more polite to each other as far as I've seen

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[-] [email protected] 130 points 7 months ago* (last edited 7 months ago)

I'm new here, and new to federated applications (and fit OP's description perfectly). This federated stuff is going to remain niche unless somebody figures out a way to make it approachable.

Reddit first time:

> open app
> choose some things I like
> see all the things

Lemmy first time:

> open app
> ?????
> google how to use it
> choose a... server? 
> ?????
[-] [email protected] 46 points 7 months ago

I called this a few weeks ago on reddit and people weren't impressed with my negativity.

I'm sorry, but you can't start a website with:

Lemmy is a selfhosted social link aggregation and discussion platform.

And expect 95% of people to do anything other than close the window.

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[-] [email protected] 94 points 7 months ago

If I wasn't a tech nerd I would have given up on signing up for Mastodon and Lemmy. There is a lot of focus on how instances work and it seems a bit overwhelming. I had a lot of internal, 'what if I make the wrong choice', or 'how can I move if I don't like the community' type questions. So being the nerd I am I researched the crap out of it and overwhelmed myself and said fuck it and just chose the popular instances since I know that I can move at a later date.

I personally think this format is favored by a lot of the demographic you mentioned. Most of us, I am generalizing here, grew up being active members in bulletin board systems. Then Reddit came along basically murdered the BB, but there was a good community to interact with. Now Reddit is basically unusable in my opinion because the community doesn't care about the content or the people behind the screen. That brings us here. We learned so much of our trade, laughed a lot, and made real friendships on these types of system and it is a place a lot of us feel comfortable.

[-] [email protected] 41 points 7 months ago

100% this

I’m a tech nerd and software engineer and even I struggled to figure out how to signup. Most people I know just want something that works. And those things tend to be centralized because of ease of use. The Fediverse isn’t easy to use, and makes the user make major decisions before even signing up or understanding the tech.

Eventually there should probably be account migration and a somewhat “central” account management instance that most users are on, with the option to migrate their user to other instances.

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[-] [email protected] 89 points 7 months ago

I'm Gen Z, don't use Linux, don't know the first thing about programming (I know how to use file explorer though), and never intend to learn, and I'm here because I don't wanna use the official Reddit app and because I'm convinced that the Fediverse is likely to become big in the future and I wanna be able to say I was here when it all began.

[-] [email protected] 34 points 7 months ago

This is me as well. gen z, hate that trillion dollar corporations run our social media. The fediverse is the future.

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[-] [email protected] 82 points 7 months ago

I'm 36. I'm tired of everybody taking my money. I'm tired of corporations. I'm here to get away from that.

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[-] [email protected] 74 points 7 months ago

That profile is very much the early adopters of any new platform or technology. If you described the early users of the internet as a whole, it would be very similar.

I don't think anything particular is keeping other users away, it's early. We need evangelist, I suspect that most normies don't even know the fediverse exists, let alone are considering using it.

We just need to continue to grow the reach of the fediverse, don't give up if it seems a bit bare and give everyone else a reason to join us

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[-] [email protected] 69 points 7 months ago

I don't know what you're talking about, I'm just your average Hollywood celebrity here to promote my new movie "Barbie", only in theaters July 21st.

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[-] [email protected] 67 points 7 months ago

Oh yea. One additional demographic too--super excited young people. It's large.

It's just early-adopter types so far. We're not exactly what I would call a "major service" yet.

[-] [email protected] 66 points 7 months ago

I don't want to stereotype anyone, but in my own social experience, younger groups don't give a shit about corporate monopolies or privacy, they just want things to work fast and automatically (ex: TikTok). And those I know in older brackets are still on Facebook and complaining that they don't want to deal with change because their family/business/workflow would be affected.

I happen to be 38, a linux user, and a gamer. And I concur that my age-group has just always seemed to be more open to new technologies for some reason.

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[-] [email protected] 65 points 7 months ago

30s software engineer / linux user here.

We are exactly who you want as the "primer" user group. We will collectively make sure the whole thing works before the load really rams up.

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[-] [email protected] 56 points 7 months ago

I think anyone that fits in those 3 categories just tend to be the early adopters. The normies come later. 😁

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[-] [email protected] 54 points 7 months ago* (last edited 7 months ago)

Is picking a server/federation too complicated?



Literally the single biggest problem with fediverse adoption, brought up in every discussion about migrating to it. It will never replace centralized sites as long as it remains confusing and complicated.



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[-] [email protected] 53 points 7 months ago

These are the people who make everything work. After they get it all setup and working, the kids will come flooding in, don’t you worry

[-] [email protected] 50 points 7 months ago

Old tech nerd here. Is this the meeting spot?

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[-] [email protected] 46 points 7 months ago

im 15 and other websites just suck lmao

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[-] [email protected] 44 points 7 months ago

Yes. Reddit was probably the same for years.

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[-] [email protected] 43 points 7 months ago


It's fuckin' great! 😄

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[-] [email protected] 43 points 7 months ago

I'm called out, although I'm not quite in my 30s yet.

Also... Reddit started out in the same way, mostly as a forum for programmers and nerds

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[-] [email protected] 42 points 7 months ago

I perfectly fit the described persona.

I think whoever is here now cares about the federation/open source. If you don't care about this why would you be here instead of reddit with more active communities? You need active communities to make people that only care about the content to switch.

[-] [email protected] 39 points 7 months ago* (last edited 7 months ago)

I would say lemmings age are 25 to 45. People in this range are, in my experience, the most technologically educated.
Gen Z is somehow terrible with anything outside basic android/ios.

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[-] [email protected] 39 points 7 months ago* (last edited 7 months ago)

I wonder what it is that is keeping more diverse users away?

One aspect is that federation is definitely a bit harder to wrap your head around technically.

But I think another large contributor is the fact that culturally, the zoomers never really grew up with things like independent forums. I'm 33 and back in t the day it was very common for me to be signed up to many different forums for my different interests. Over time, I've seen the centralization of those communities, forums shut down and centralized services like Reddit, and lately Discord took their place.
I remember a time when the internet wasn't solely controlled by a handful of organisations, I can see the value in federated systems. But someone who only knows centralized services and walled gardens is likely to fear the wild, or at least won't value it as much.

//edit: Another thing to keep in mind, is that it's just very common for this demographic to be early adopters for tech products and platforms. I remember when Twitter started, and a large part of its early user base was people in their 30s or older who were very into tech, or journalists. The reason I started using Twitter towards the end of the 2000s was because most of the podcast hosts and regular contributors on the TWiT network were using it.
Seems to me that if you want to launch a social media platform, your early adopters are either guys who are into tech and in their 30s and 40s or teenage girls.

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[-] [email protected] 36 points 7 months ago

Op too young to realize who made Reddit popular to begin with.

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[-] [email protected] 35 points 7 months ago

That always happens when a new platform is born.

Tech/nerds are always the ones moving first because they don't mind the quirks, they're not scared of bugs or instabilities.

They start building up communities until the platform is ready for the rest of the people, it was the same for reddit, tho it happened so many years ago the new people wouldn't even know about it.

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[-] [email protected] 34 points 7 months ago

Oh c'mon, 30s is not older.

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[-] [email protected] 34 points 7 months ago

Oh goodie I'm all three. I am the venn diagram. I am the monoculture.

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[-] [email protected] 33 points 7 months ago

Good. I don't want to see some teenagers doing some dumb dance or whatever is on normie platforms.

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[-] [email protected] 33 points 7 months ago

Are you asking if new technology is used by nerds? Lmao.

Who were you expecting to be here?

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this post was submitted on 08 Jul 2023
1949 points (95.0% liked)


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