[NetBehaviour] [workshop] How to run a small social networking site with your friends
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How to run a small social networking site with your friends
a LURK workshop at Varia, Rotterdam, NL
Friday 13.05, Saturday 14.05 2022
So you want to run your own social network?
Whether it is because of online surveillance, doomscrolling, curiosity,
the toxic dynamics, the lack of reach, the risk of accounts being
removed, the desire for self-governance, etc, there have been multiple
reasons to explain why the past years have seen a renewed interest in
alternative social media platforms. New federated networked applications
and protocols have been developed in tandem to provide similar services
as platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. In particular, the free
software Mastodon, has gained traction among small communities of
practice interested in experimenting with social media under their own
control, as it allows them to decide how to run it, why, and for whom.
These self-organized spaces however can still be part of a larger
network, called the Fediverse.
*However*, while installing such a software is not necessarily the most
obvious thing to do, the real challenge only starts *after the
installation*, when the software is up and running and all your friends,
colleagues, peers, guests, are starting to make use of it.
This is exactly what is covered in this two-day intensive workshop!
What does it take to run a Mastodon instance? How does online federation
work? What are the politics of the Fediverse? What does it take to
moderate an instance? We will try to cover it all, from writing terms
and code of conduct, to dealing with account reports or problematic
users. But also, how to financially sustain your work? What are ways to
make it fun and specific to you? What are further opportunities and
threats when doing this?
The outcome of the workshop is very concrete: you and your community
will have a server up and running and a working understanding of the
system. Additionally, you will be part of a support network of groups
doing the same, including us.
Who are we looking for?
We're looking for *existing* groups, collectives or associations who
wish to run their own social network to host their communities, either
publicly or privately (or both!).
We are looking for dedicated and motivated groups that are committed to
keeping up with the maintenance work that comes with hosting such a
platform. We are especially looking for groups who already tried to do
so but found it hard to start.
Technical knowledge comes in handy, but is not required.
Who are we?
LURK is a collective which, among others, has been hosting an
alternative social media site called https://post.lurk.org. We do this
for communities focused on net- and computational culture and
(experimental) (sound) (new media) (software) arts. We do this because
we believe alternative cultural spaces should also exist online. This
workshop is based on our experience hosting post.lurk.org since 2018.
For more information about us, see https://lurk.org
What does it cost?
The workshop is free of charge as it is sponsored by the European
cultural program "Culture of Solidarity Fund" of the European Cultural
Foundation. There will however be costs associated to renting a domain
name and hosting, which are not covered. These are described below.
What do we expect of you?
We expect one or two representatives to attend both full workshop days:
Friday 13th of May and Saturday 14th of May, either on location or
on-line from 11.00-13.00 & 15.00-17.00 CEST.
We expect you to do some important preparatory work in advance as well.
Such as having a name and description for your server and identifying
the needs and desires of your group. What do you want to get out of a
self-organized social media server?
On the technical level, to attend the workshop you are also expected to
have a working version of Hometown installed, which is a modified
version of Mastodon. This is what we run at LURK and during the workshop
we will explain why. This software can either be self-hosted, if you
know how to, or gotten through a hosting provider. Consider a monthly
recurring cost of €10 at the minimum.
In addition, you will need to have a domain name (i.e.
https://superdeluxe.social). If you already have a domain name, you can
use a subdomain (i.e. https://my.superdeluxe.social). Domain names can
cost anywhere between 10 and 40 euros a year.
How to apply?
Places are extremely limited by design. We want to make it useful for
everyone, so we will only select a handful of applications. To apply,
send us a significant expression of interest by email, at lurk -at-
bleu255 -dot- com before the 15th of April, describing :
- who you and your group are
- your motivation for joining this workshop
- whether you have prior experience with alternative social media and if
so, what kind of experience
- what your expectations are from this workshop
More information about the NetBehaviour