One year ago today I spun up our Darkfriend.social Mastodon instance as a place for Wheel of Time fans to land in the fediverse. Just one day earlier, Elon Musk had completed the purchase of Twitter, and at the time I suspected that the service was going to get a lot worse just based on things Musk had said along the way. I knew there were a lot of Wheel of Time fans on the service that might be looking for alternatives, and thought Mastodon and the fediverse might be a good option.
When we first launched there was a surge of interest. We reached 100 members within a relatively short period of time, and other servers in the fediverse were seeing a lot of growth as well. Many of those new members ultimately chose to go back to Twitter or find more comfortable footing on alternatives like Bluesky. Others have remained active on the site and across the fediverse, and have made lots of new friends as a result.
I am still so excited to see what is to come for our server and for the open social web. While there is certainly lots of controversy around it, Meta’s new service Threads will eventually be opening up to federation. Bluesky has continued to grow and there is work being done to bridge their federated services with the rest of the fediverse. At the same time, legacy services like Twitter and Facebook continue to push pay-to-play strategies built around subscriptions for algorithmic amplification.
I think the open social web is a better experience and has more to offer. I’m happy that Darkfriend.social has been a home to others this past year, and hopefully for years to come.