There are a plethora of platforms where Eurovision fans can engage with the Song Contest on social media. The official Eurovision channel is active on five different platforms to promote the Contest globally, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Unsurprisingly as the place where new music videos are shared, it is the Eurovision Song Contest YouTube channel that has the most subscribers; with 5.12 million subscribers there more than the other four platforms combined.
These platforms of course are far from the only place where Eurovision fans can meet online. The Eurovision community on Reddit nears 100,000 followers, there is a Discord server with over 10,000 members, and places such as escnation.com and escforum.net are great examples of active and established Eurovision networks. The biggest unofficial fan club, OGAE, will have over 10,000 individuals across their 40-odd member clubs, many of which with their own forums hosted on their own websites for communities across Europe and beyond to discuss Eurovision together.
This article though is about a new kid on the block. Created this month the DouzePoints server on Mastodon is an additional platform for Eurovision fans to assemble. Mastodon is a social network platform run on an open-source model, allowing for volunteers to create their own server space within its framework and bring people together. It has made news in recent times for seeing almost a million new users between October 27th and November 7th, a growth rate of over 6000 percent, as users of Twitter in particular look for alternatives after its takeover by Elon Musk and the well-documented changes in direction from the micro-blogging platform.
A Quick Guide To The Principles Of Mastodon
While Mastodon and Twitter have big similarities in their micro-blogging and sharing functions, the biggest core difference comes from the distributed model that Mastodon uses. Twitter is a monolithic service, where everyone registers in a single location, and the main feed shows content from everyone you follow, as well as recommending posts that it believes will be of interest.
Mastodon is made up of many small servers that are federated together. These servers are known as instances. Each instance has its own timeline that shows only the content from people on that instance, and a new timeline that shows who you are following across the entire federation of instances. In the case of the Douze Points instance, users are able to find the latest Eurovision discussion within the instances’ community easily and without the clutter of other conversation topics.
This leads to one of the hurdles faced by many. You don’t sign up “to Mastodon”, you sign up to an instance; for example the Mastodon server ‘Social’, set up by its founder Eugen Rochko, has nearly 200,000 members, but currently isn’t accepting new members). Thankfully the Mastodon community is more than happy to encourage you having multiple profiles over many instances.
On signing up to any instance, your default feed is full of the discussion topics of those from the same server as yourself, but with the full username of other people (that is, their username and their server name) one is able to follow other Mastodon users on other servers.
Behind The Douze Points Server
You should remember that Mastodon is an open-source enterprise; the server itself is run by an individual rather than an anonymous company. The creator of the Douze Points server is Maximilian Hamstengel, or MedPlex on Mastodon, a Eurovision fan from Germany who was triggered to look for alternatives following Elon Musk’s takeover on Twitter.
“I started watching Eurovision in my childhood, first with my father and then with the rest of my family. In 2010 I remember watching when Lena went on to win the Contest with ‘Satellite’, and then followed the year after in Düsseldoft with Anke Engelke, Judith Rakers and Stefan Raab hosting.”
While those early years were what drove MedPlex towards the Song Contest, it was watching the 2021 show from Rotterdam that converted him from Eurovision follower into Eurovision fan. Not just for the music (although he lists ‘Russian Woman’ and ‘Shum’ amongst his favourites that year) but for the quality and scale of the production within the Rotterdam Ahoy.
One key difference from a large company model like Twitter to Mastodon is that it will be MedPlex as the server host that is ultimately responsible for moderation on the server. The Douze Points server is in that sense an unofficial space, not one set up by the EBU or any other organisation, and therefore is something that relies on individuals to ensure its upkeep. While the server remains small (there were 40 people signing up in the first 36 hours) this might be manageable, but should Mastodon and the Douze Points community grow further MedPlex admitted that a team of moderators will be essential. In that sense Mastodon is the grass roots of our internet adventures, and a hosting space for all of us to manage it for ourselves. Upon signing up for your server of choice, one must agree to follow that server’s moderation rules.
To create such a server is a hobby project for the 24-year-old German, who works as a community manager for a games company away from the Song Contest. But such a hobby has required the investment for server space to ensure it can operate. Even today with the relatively small numbers of users that requires a personal investment of €10 each month from MedPlex, and the sudden growth of Mastodon users globally has resulted in some servers running slowly as they reach max capacity.
How Can I Be A Part Of It
Whether such a decentralised model becomes the future of the Eurovision community is beyond the speculation of us at ESC Insight. If you are looking to join Mastodon and the Douze Points instance, you can do so via https://douzepoints.social/auth/sign_up. Feel free to follow ESC Insight (@[email protected]) if you join as well.
Here one makes their own unique username and signs in with an email address, before following that up by the usual process of writing a bio and uploading a profile picture (avatar in Mastodon speak). For those currently on Twitter and looking to dip their toes into Mastodon, a service such as Crossposter, automatically allowing posts on both platforms, might be a good alternative. And if you want to find people you follow on Twitter and if they are on any Mastodon server, check out DeBirdify.
Do You Want To Know More?
Guides on how to set up Mastodon can be found in the links below: