On traditional “social media” platforms, in particular YouTube, the interactions are often not especially social. The platforms facilitate a kind of intellectual consumption moreso than conversation: conversations flow in one direction, from creator to audience, where the creator produces and the audience consumes. I think a better term for these platforms is “parasocial media”: they are optimized for creating parasocial relationships moreso than social relationships.

The fediverse is largely optimized for people having conversations with each other, and not for producing and consuming “content”. Within this framework, a “content creator” is a person only in the same sense that a corporation is, and their conversations are unidirectional, where the other end is also not a person, but an audience. That’s not the model that the fediverse is designed around.

It’s entirely reasonable to want to build an audience and publish content in a parasocial manner, but that’s not what the fediverse is for. And I think that’s a good thing! There are a lot of advantages in having spaces which focus on being genuinely “social”, rather than facilitating more parasocial interactions and helping creators build an audience. This limits the fediverse’s reach, but I think that’s just fine. What are my social and parasocial mediums?

Social media and "parasocial media"
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