Understanding Feeds

Local feed

The local feed (“this server”) is the heart and soul of OPC. Here you’ll ONLY find posts by OPC members.

This is where you should start each day. You can fully participate in OPC activities without using any other feed.

If you’re interested in extending your activity beyond the local feed, you’ll want to read the entirety of this page.

Home feed

The home feed is comprised of the people and hashtags you follow, and any posts boosted (re-posted) by people you follow.

You don’t need to follow anyone or any hashtags to use OPC. You’ll see every post by every OPC member in the local feed anyway. But I recommend you follow @themes anyway, just so you can turn on notifications (tap the bell icon next to the follow link) so you’ll get a ping when a new theme is posted.

If you want to follow people outside of OPC, please be a bit more judicious than on other platforms and only follow accounts whose posts are generally focused on travel and outdoor adventures. Most social media users post about whatever topics they’d like, but that’s not what OPC is all about.

Because of how federation works, when you follow a hashtag, you’re not following every post with that hashtag from across the entire social web. Instead, you’re only adding posts from the OPC federated feed that match that hashtag to your home feed.

Federated feed

On the web app, this is referred to as “Other Servers” but some third party apps call this the “global feed.”

Mastodon is different than centralized social media in that there is no central algorithm that forces posts or ads into your feed. Here, you only receive posts you’ve invited in.

So our federated feed contains the most recent public posts from people on the social web that OPC members follow or have interacted with (boosted or commented on). It also contains other posts I’ve carefully included using curation bots and hashtag server relays1.

The Federated feed is sort of like the “explore” or “discover” feeds on other social media networks. On most instances, it’s an absolute mess of randomness.

But on OPC—because of our focus and small size—we can work towards making our federated feed a quality tool for discovering new travelers and relevant posts. I like to think of it as a human-curated algorithm.

That means we should exercise some caution in which accounts we follow, as that choice is inviting all of their posts into the federated feed of all OPC members. Follow and interact with them from a secondary account instead (that’s what I do!).

We won’t be able to keep the federated feed 100% focused, but I think we can create a pretty useful one nonetheless2.

You can also help keep things in order by alerting me to posts using the “report post” function. I can then manually limit that account’s future inclusion in the federated feed.

Filtering and muting

If you don’t want to see posts tagged with, say, #WildlifePhotography, then you can add a filter to screen those out for you. This will keep these posts out of all three of your feeds, so you may miss out on OPC posts.

You can also mute a specific account by clicking the thread to menu on the post.

  1. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know what these things are, I certainly didn’t until I started building OPC. Just know that I’ve spent a lot of time trying to build up a federated feed that’s pulled into a lot of posts related to travel and outdoor adventures. ↩︎
  2. One thing I’ve truly enjoyed is to sign into my OPC account using an app like Vernissage (which only displays photos from the social web) to scroll the federated feed. It’s just a wall of travel or outdoor photos—pretty cool. ↩︎