The University of Innsbruck actively engages in several social networks, viewing its online presence as a vital component of both internal and external communication. With recent negative events surrounding X (formerly Twitter), the decentralized microblogging platform Mastodon has become significantly important and is now well-established. Mastodon is a part of the Fediverse , a network of open-source, decentralized, non-commercial, and privacy-focused services. The Fediverse operates as a non-profit network, devoid of advertising, filter algorithms, tracking, data marketing, and features transparent, community-managed content moderation. The University of Innsbruck’s communications team supports this model, utilizing and contributing to these alternative online structures through its institutional presence on the Mastodon instance social.uibk.ac.at.
Instance social.uibk.ac.at with supportNearly every social network has a Fediverse equivalent, including Mastodon for microblogging, PeerTube for videos, and PixelFed for images. In the Fediverse, these servers are known as instances. In this context, the University of Innsbruck has established its own Mastodon instance, social.uibk.ac.at , on a university server for institutional science communication. This instance is exclusively available to the university’s departments, institutes, groups, and projects. Accounts for individuals are not possible at the moment, but the communication team recommends the use of Mastodon here as well; support for getting started is available online or from the communication team.
Observing the fragmentationThis step also has consequences for the future communication of the University of Innsbruck on X (formerly Twitter): Due to the ongoing negative development, in particular the decreasing quality of content moderation, an increase in racist and right-wing extremist posts and the reactivation of numerous accounts that were previously blocked for hate speech, the University of Innsbruck feels compelled to reduce its active participation on this platform and significantly reduce its involvement there. However, the account will remain active and will be managed by the communications team. From the current perspective, the consequences of the developments on X are leading to fragmentation: alternative for Twitter is currently not to be expected. The communications team is closely monitoring the various trends, primarily Bluesky at the proprietary platform level.
Mastodon at the University of Innsbruck is a collaborative effort between the communications team and the IT-Center ZID, with ongoing support from Leonhard Dobusch from the Department for Organisation and Learning.
General information: Mastodon at the University of Innsbruck
Moderation and Community-Management: Communications team (Melanie Bartos and Christian Flatz)
System maintenance: ZID (Hansjörg Pehofer and Matthias Prantl)
Data security: Matthias Weiler (ZID)