A very early look at Pixelfed.social, the federated Instagram clone.

Along with the recent rediscovery of Mastodon (and not entirely coincidentally) I came across Pixelfed, a (let’s put it this way) Instagram clone… in a very early stage.

Naturally, calling Pixelfed an Instagram clone is probably oversimplified and degrading; while its design is a (let’s put it this way) very close rip-off of Instagram’s, the underlying philosophy is much more important. And the philosophy couldn’t be more different from that of Instagram.

Pixelfed is powered by the ActivityPub protocol, the federation protocol used by (coincidences coincidences) Mastodon, and, for that matter, Nextcloud. (That reminds me, I should really write a followup post on my unclouding initiative.) Pixelfed the software, just like Mastodon, is open source, you can contribute, or why not run your own server and, just like with Mastodon, join the fediverse.

Not Instagram
Not Instagram

Pixelfed is very (very) early stage. Not sure where I saw this, but I think my user is number 1800-plus-some, and I don’t think there’s much more than that since I joined. The site is being actively developed, but there is no mobile app (although you can post from the web and the design is responsive), and some links are not working.

But I would be genuinely thrilled to see this reach the mass that Mastodon is reaching (or has reached… depends on where you sit). You know, the nowhere-near-twitter-amounts-of-users-but-an-enjoyable-size-community-with-less-donald-trumps-and-more-uplift-and-i-dont-feel-too-left-out-to-leave-the-other-platform-and-be-just-here mass.

Will it ever be as big as Instagram? I highly doubt it, no. But that’s not the point with Mastodon either I think. With a little luck it has the potential to be the platform that is easy to use, lets you post photos and it doesn’t push an ad in your face after every 4 posts. I wonder if there’s a Patreon or a bounty program [goes away to check] no there isn’t.

Anyhow, while for the time being I stay on Instagram (because there is no better alternative), Pixelfed.social definitely has a fixed spot in my bookmarks bar and my watchlist. I’ll be posting there time under @gergolippai to time to see how the boys fare, and hope that one day, sometime not too far in the future, I will make the switch. And yes, I’m an idealist, but if you can’t be an idealist about your internet presence, what’s the point of it all?

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