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ASM Bibliography

This is an alternative social media (ASM) bibliography, a collection of scholarly articles exploring the world of social media beyond corporate sites (such as Facebook and Twitter).

This page will be updated monthly. For more up-to-date access to the bibliography, request to join the Social Media Alternatives Project Zotero group.

Note that inclusion in this bibliography does not mean I endorse the study. Watch the blog for critiques of some of these studies.


Abbing, Roel Roscam, Cade Diehm, and Shahed Warreth. “Decentralised Social Media.” Internet Policy Review 12, no. 1 (February 20, 2023). https://policyreview.info/glossary/decentralised-social-media.

Ackermann, M., K. Hymon, B. Ludwig, and K. Wilhelm. “Helloworld: An Open Source, Distributed and Secure Social Network.” In W3C Workshop on the Future of Social Networking-Position Papers. Http://Www. W3. Org/2008/09/Msnws/Papers/HelloWorld_paper. Pdf Checked: February, 21:2009, 2008.

Allen, Samantha. “Ello, Is It You We’re Looking For?” The Daily Beast, September 26, 2014. https://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/26/ello-is-it-you-we-re-looking-for.

Bakardjieva, Maria. “Social Media and the McDonaldization of Friendship.” Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research 39, no. 4 (November 2014): 369–87. https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2014-0017.

Bielenberg, A., L. Helm, A. Gentilucci, D. Stefanescu, and Honggang Zhang. “The Growth of Diaspora - A Decentralized Online Social Network in the Wild.” In 2012 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications Workshops (INFOCOM WKSHPS), 13–18, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1109/INFCOMW.2012.6193476.

Bin Zia, Haris, Aravindh Raman, Ignacio Castro, Ishaku Hassan Anaobi, Emiliano De Cristofaro, Nishanth Sastry, and Gareth Tyson. “Toxicity in the Decentralized Web and the Potential for Model Sharing.” Proceedings of the ACM on Measurement and Analysis of Computing Systems 6, no. 2 (June 6, 2022): 35:1-35:25. https://doi.org/10.1145/3530901.

Cabello, Florencio, Marta G. Franco, and Alexandra Haché. “Towards a Free Federated Social Web: Lorea Takes the Networks!” In Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives, edited by Geert Lovink and Miriam Rausch, 338–46. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2013.

Coleman, Biella. “Les temps d’Indymedia.” Multitudes no 21, no. 2 (2005): 41–48.

Colley, Thomas, and Martin Moore. “The Challenges of Studying 4chan and the Alt-Right: ‘Come on in the Water’s Fine.’” New Media & Society 24, no. 1 (January 1, 2022): 5–30. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820948803.

Dunbar-Hester, Christina. Hacking Diversity. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ Press, 2019. https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691192888/hacking-diversity.

Flowers, Johnathan. The Whiteness of Mastodon. Interview by Justin Hendrix. Audio, November 23, 2022. https://techpolicy.press/the-whiteness-of-mastodon/.

Freitas, Miguel. “Twister - a P2P Microblogging Platform.” arXiv:1312.7152 [Cs], December 26, 2013. http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.7152.

———. “Twister: The Development of a Peer-to-Peer Microblogging Platform.” International Journal of Parallel, Emergent and Distributed Systems 0, no. 0 (July 9, 2015): 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/17445760.2015.1053808.

Gehl, Robert. “Building a Better Twitter: A Study of the Twitter Alternatives GNU Social, Quitter, Rstat.Us, and Twister.” The Fibreculture Journal, no. 26 (December 22, 2015): 60–86. https://doi.org/10.15307/fcj.26.190.2015.

Gehl, Robert W. “Critical Reverse Engineering: The Case of Twitter and TalkOpen.” In Compromised Data: From Social Media to Big Data, edited by Ganaele Langlois, Joanna Redden, and Greg Elmer, 147–69. New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury, 2015.

———. “Power/Freedom on the Dark Web: A Digital Ethnography of the Dark Web Social Network.” New Media and Society, October 16, 2014, 1–17.

———. “The Case for Alternative Social Media.” Social Media + Society 1, no. 2 (January 7, 2015): 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305115604338.

Gehl, Robert W., and Julie Snyder-Yuly. “The Need for Social Media Alternatives.” Democratic Communiqué 27, no. 1 (August 2, 2016): 78.

Gehl, Robert W., and Diana Zulli. “The Digital Covenant: Non-Centralized Platform Governance on the Mastodon Social Network.” Information, Communication & Society 0, no. 0 (December 15, 2022): 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2022.2147400.

Gow, Gordon. “Turning to Alternative Social Media.” In The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods, edited by Anabel Quan-Haase and Luke Sloan. SAGE, 2022.

Gow, Gordon A. “Alternative Social Media for Outreach and Engagement: Considering Technology Stewardship as a Pathway to Adoption.” ERA, January 1, 2020. https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-xy8j-w962.

Greschbach, Benjamin, Gunnar Kreitz, and Sonja Buchegger. “The Devil Is in the Metadata—New Privacy Challenges in Decentralised Online Social Networks.” In Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops (PERCOM Workshops), 2012 IEEE International Conference On, 333–39. IEEE, 2012. http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=6197506.

Guy, Amy. “The Presentation of Self on a Decentralised Web.” University of Edinburgh, 2017. http://dr.amy.gy/.

Hesmondhalgh, David, Ellis Jones, and Andreas Rauh. “SoundCloud and Bandcamp as Alternative Music Platforms.” Social Media + Society 5, no. 4 (October 1, 2019): 2056305119883429. https://doi.org/10.1177/2056305119883429.

Jasser, Greta, Jordan McSwiney, Ed Pertwee, and Savvas Zannettou. “‘Welcome to #GabFam’: Far-Right Virtual Community on Gab.” New Media & Society, June 28, 2021, 14614448211024546. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211024546.

Karell, Daniel, Andrew Linke, Edward Holland, and Edward Hendrickson. “‘Born for a Storm’: Hard-Right Social Media and Civil Unrest.” American Sociological Review, March 16, 2023, 00031224231156190. https://doi.org/10.1177/00031224231156190.

Koll, David, Jun Li, and Xiaoming Fu. “SOUP: An Online Social Network by the People, for the People,” 193–204. ACM Press, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1145/2663165.2663324.

———. “With a Little Help from My Friends: Replica Placement in Decentralized Online Social Networks.” Technical Report IFI-TB-2013-01, Institute of Computer Science, University of Goettingen, Germany, 2013. http://user.informatik.uni-goettingen.de/~dkoll/files/pubs/SOUP_TR_2013.pdf.

La Cava, Lucio, Sergio Greco, and Andrea Tagarelli. “Understanding the Growth of the Fediverse through the Lens of Mastodon.” arXiv:2106.15473 [Physics], June 29, 2021. http://arxiv.org/abs/2106.15473.

Larimer, Daniel, Ned Scott, Valentine Zavgorodnev, Benjamin Johnson, James Calfee, and Michael Vandeberg. “Steem: An Incentivized, Blockchain-Based, Social Media Platform,” March 2016. https://steem.io/SteemWhitePaper.pdf.

Leistert, Oliver. “How to Put Up a Facebook Resistance.” Blog. Centre for Internet and Society (blog), February 21, 2012. http://cis-india.org/digital-natives/media-coverage/facebook-resistance.

Lovink, Geert, and Miriam Rasch, eds. Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2013.

Madouh, Mohmmded, and K Kwon. “Evolving in the Shadows: A Media Ecology Study of Dark Web Social Networks.” Journal of Communication Inquiry 0 (November 5, 2023): 1–21. https://doi.org/10.1177/01968599231210776.

Mahdian, Alireza, John Black, Richard Han, and Shivakant Mishra. “MyZone: A Next-Generation Online Social Network.” arXiv:1110.5371, October 24, 2011. http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.5371.

Mannell, Kate, and Eden T. Smith. “Alternative Social Media and the Complexities of a More Participatory Culture: A View From Scuttlebutt.” Social Media + Society 8, no. 3 (July 1, 2022): 20563051221122448. https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051221122448.

mansoux, Aymeric, and Roel Roscam Abbing. “Seven Theses on the Fediverse and the Becoming of Floss.” In The Eternal Network, edited by Kristoffer Gansing and Inga Luchs, 124–40. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2020. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2056305115604338.

Mauro-Flude, Nancy, and Yoko Akama. “A Feminist Server Stack: Co-Designing Feminist Web Servers to Reimagine Internet Futures.” CoDesign 18, no. 1 (January 2, 2022): 48–62. https://doi.org/10.1080/15710882.2021.2021243.

McSherry, Corynne. “User Generated Content and the Fediverse: A Legal Primer.” Electronic Frontier Foundation, December 20, 2022. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/12/user-generated-content-and-fediverse-legal-primer.

Mott, Gareth. “A Storm on the Horizon? ‘Twister’ and the Implications of the Blockchain and Peer-to-Peer Social Networks for Online Violent Extremism.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 42, no. 1–2 (February 1, 2019): 206–27. https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2018.1513986.

Nagappa, Ashwin. “Narratives of Change to Platform Governance on DTube, an Emerging Blockchain-Based Video-Sharing Platform.” Social Media + Society 9, no. 3 (July 1, 2023): 20563051231196881. https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051231196881.

Narayanan, Arvind, Vincent Toubiana, Solon Barocas, Helen Nissenbaum, and Dan Boneh. “A Critical Look at Decentralized Personal Data Architectures.” arXiv:1202.4503, February 20, 2012. http://arxiv.org/abs/1202.4503.

Nicholson, Matthew N., Brian C Keegan, and Casey Fiesler. “Mastodon Rules: Characterizing Formal Rules on Popular Mastodon Instances.” In Companion Publication of the 2023 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, 86–90. CSCW ’23 Companion. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1145/3584931.3606970.

Nobre, Gabriel P., Carlos H. G. Ferreira, and Jussara M. Almeida. “More of the Same? A Study of Images Shared on Mastodon’s Federated Timeline.” In Social Informatics, 181–95. Springer, Cham, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-19097-1_11.

Papacharissi, Zizi. “The Virtual Geographies of Social Networks: A Comparative Analysis of Facebook, LinkedIn and ASmallWorld.” New Media Society 11, no. 1–2 (February 1, 2009): 199–220. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444808099577.

Roscam Abbing, Roel. “On Cultivating the Installable Base.” In Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference 2022 - Volume 2, 203–7. Newcastle upon Tyne United Kingdom: ACM, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1145/3537797.3537875.

Rozenshtein, Alan Z. “Moderating the Fediverse: Content Moderation on Distributed Social Media.” SSRN Scholarly Paper. Rochester, NY, November 23, 2022. https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=4213674.

Sevignani, Sebastian. “Facebook vs. Diaspora: A Critical Study.” In Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives, edited by Geert Lovink and Miriam Rausch, 325–37. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2013.

———. “The Problem of Privacy in Capitalism and Alternative Social Media: The Case of Diaspora*.” Marx in the Age of Digital Capitalism, 2015, 413.

Siapera, Eugenia. “Alt Tech and the Public Sphere: Exploring Bitchute as a Political Media Infrastructure.” European Journal of Communication, July 24, 2023, 02673231231189041. https://doi.org/10.1177/02673231231189041.

Smith, Matthew E. “Decentralized Social Media Rises as Twitter Melts Down - IEEE Spectrum,” March 18, 2023. https://spectrum.ieee.org/mastodon-social-media.

Sorci, Giuliana. “New Virtual Communities for a Renewed Digital Activism in Italy: A Case Study of the Bida, Cisti and Nebbia Mastodon Instances.” Journal of Alternative & Community Media 6, no. 1 (April 1, 2021): 87–101. https://doi.org/10.1386/joacm_00095_1.

Sparrow, Elijah. “Pitfalls of Building Social Media Alternatives (Debate).” Presented at the Unlike Us #2, Amsterdam, March 10, 2012. http://vimeo.com/39257353.

Spideralex. “Pitfalls of Building Social Media Alternatives (Debate).” Presented at the Unlike Us #2, Amsterdam, March 10, 2012. http://vimeo.com/39257151.

Stocking, Galen, Amy Mitchell, Katerina Eva Matsa, Regina Widjaya, Mark Jurkowitz, Shreenita Ghosh, Aaron Smith, Sarah Naseer, and Christopher St Aubin. “The Role of Alternative Social Media in the News and Information Environment.” Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project (blog), October 6, 2022. https://www.pewresearch.org/journalism/2022/10/06/the-role-of-alternative-social-media-in-the-news-and-information-environment/.

Tiffany, Kaitlyn. “What If Rumble Is the Future of the Social Web?” The Atlantic, October 31, 2022. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2022/10/what-if-rumble-future-social-web/671926/.

Velden, Lonneke van der. “Meeting the Alternatives: Notes About Making Profiles and Joining Hackers.” In Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives, edited by Geert Lovink and Miriam Rausch, 312–22. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2013.

Wolf, Hellekin. “Social Networks and Decentralization.” GNU Consensus, December 12, 2014. https://www.gnu.org/consensus/talks/quito-2014/gnu-consensus-quito-2014-en.html.

“Workshop: ‘Infrastructuring Alternatives: Mastodon, the Fediverse and beyond’, 6th April 2023 – KCL Digital Humanities,” March 14, 2023. https://kingsdh.net/2023/03/14/infrastructuring-alternatives/.

Zia, Haris Bin, Jiahui He, Aravindh Raman, Ignacio Castro, Nishanth Sastry, and Gareth Tyson. “Flocking to Mastodon: Tracking the Great Twitter Migration.” arXiv, February 27, 2023. https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2302.14294.

Zignani, Matteo, Christian Quadri, Alessia Galdeman, Sabrina Gaito, and Gian Paolo Rossi. “Mastodon Content Warnings: Inappropriate Contents in a Microblogging Platform.” Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media 13 (July 6, 2019): 639–45.

Zulli, Diana, Miao Liu, and Robert Gehl. “Rethinking the ‘Social’ in ‘Social Media’: Insights into Topology, Abstraction, and Scale on the Mastodon Social Network:” New Media & Society, July 22, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820912533.