I don't want to cancel community terms, but I do want to introduce new ones.
Fediverse a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”. It's the Federated Universe of interoperable communities.
I feel strongly about being clear with language. Avoiding technobabble.
Hence, let me introduce some other words to describe this system. An Interoperable Social Cloud. The Social Cloud. Joining the Social Cloud, with your own self-sufficient self-hosted community joining a larger standards-based community.
TL;DR: There are many options!
Individuals will usually sign up on a public “instance”, or server capable of interacting with the Fediverse community. Many people have joined a public server such as Mastodon.social, but many other communities exist which are open to the public. Some people are members of private communities and some people even run an “instance of one” on their own web servers.
Organizations have these options:
- create an account on an existing public server. This is very much like creating an account on Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram.
- run a Fediverse instance, using software such as Mastodon, Peertube, Pleroma, Pixelfed, or any other ActivityPub implementation. Right now this tends to be technically complex involving server management and system administration duties. A managed service provider who will manage the underlying servers for you would be a good option for many groups, hosting on your behalf a Mastodon instance on servers you don't need to worry about. This page lists various options for managed Fediverse instance hosting:
- This own site is part of the Fediverse, accessible from the ActivityPub address @firstname.lastname@example.org. It's hosted by the “write.as” service, which is probably the simplest way to set up a federated ActivityPub site.
- Write your own ActivityPub implementation. This may be the most complex solution and will definitely require some web development expertise. It would probably make sense for large companies or government agencies wishing to establish a presence on the Fediverse network. Alternatively your CMS (such as Wordpress) might have a plugin you can use to support ActivityPub functionality. If this is something that your organization is considering, it definitely makes sense to participate in the larger ActivityPub community, such as joining the https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks discussion board.