I found the comparisons to email to work best so far to explain Mastodon. The problem is it's usually followed by 'And? I'm not going to run my own server, that's beyond me. What is the difference between individual instances? How do I know which one to join? Should I maintain multiple identities across different instances?'
I usually don't have simple, sound bitey answers that appeal to non-techies.
@MatejLach @cidney Actually choosing an instance is quite overwhelming and because many of them are defensive when they set out their rules (to put trolls off) they come across a little bit authoritarian and stifling. But once you're here it's easy enough.
It's much more social and much more diverse than other site, I feel.
Maybe reminding that the social network online can be the mirror of the social network IRL : "oh well, you're member of that organization/company/group, if you gather a few of your people, you can set up your own instance and as you already know and trust each other, you can choose your own pace to implement some rules if you need"
(but I haven't experimented that answer, maybe it's a very bad idea 😅)
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