For Immediate Release

Hosted ByNeville Hobson and Shel Holtz

Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz analyze the news in digital and social media for communications professionals.

FIR #299: From the Metaverse to the Fediverse and Back Again

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Despite the forecasts of some pundits, it is still too early to predict Twitter’s complete collapse. Still, it is not outside the realm of possibility. (Since we recorded this episode on Saturday, November 19, CBS has halted its activity on Twitter, blaming Elon Musk’s “turbulent and potentially devastating moves following his takeover of the company,” according to Variety. It is worth considering the consequences of Twitter’s demise. How big a loss to society at large would it be? We can take that idea one step further. With Facebook experiencing its own declines and Gen Z demonstrating a preference for smaller social networks over broadcast-style social media, what would happen if social media completely faded into the background? Also in the November episode of The Hobson and Holtz Report:

  • Thousands of Twitter users are migrating to Mastodon, a Twitter-like interface with some important differences, the key being that it is not owned by a single entity. Instead, it is a federation of Mastodon “instances” (including one Shel has launched for communicators). The fediverse could be awesome, one report suggests, assuming we don’t screw it up — and average users are able to figure it out.
  • Gallup has released a study on how connected people feel to others, whether it’s in person or online. It’s a field of study that has gotten scant attention in the past and the results could be useful to marketers.
  • There’s some nation-building going on in the metaverse, with one Pacific island country building a digital twin to preserve its heritage as global warming raises sea levels, threatening to completely submerge it. Another country — a physical entity not yet recognized by the global community of nations — is working with an architectural firm to build a metaverse version that it hopes will be the primary place its citizens interact.
  • Whether you believe it is ethical or not, there is a fair amount of ghostwriting going on in the social media space, notably with ghostwriters cranking out LinkedIn thought leadership posts for executives. But there’s more than that, with one social media ghostwriter, for example, earning close to $200,000 so far this year writing mainly Twitter DMs for employees. We’ll dive into this emerging cottage industry.
  • Dan York’s Tech Report is a buffet of topics this month, ranging from the fate of Twitter Spaces to Walmart’s Augmented Reality effort, and from enhancements to TikTok Live to Google’s “Live View in Maps.”

The next monthly, long-form episode of FIR will drop on Monday, November 21.

We host a Communicators Zoom Chat each Thursday at 1 p.m. ET. For credentials needed to participate, contact Shel or Neville directly, request the credentials in our Facebook group, or email

Special thanks to Jay Moonah for the opening and closing music.

You can find the stories from which Shel’s FIR content is selected at Shel’s Link Blog. Shel has started a metaverse-focused Flipboard magazine. Neville’s “asides” blog, Outbox, is also available.

For links from this episode, visit the original show notes.

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