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UvA is participating in Mastodon pilot – how about you?

Published on 28-03-2023 17:44
Staff, students and researchers can now easily and securely create an account on Mastodon server social.edu.nl.
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The online platform MastodonExternal link is currently considered the best alternative to Twitter. Since February, ICT cooperative SURF and research universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands have been exploring how a Mastodon environment for education and research could take shape. The aim is to become less dependent on Twitter. The University of Amsterdam is participating by making the Mastodon pilot environment available to its students, researchers and staff.

How does it work?

Mastodon consists of numerous different digital spaces, or servers, of which you can become a member. The Mastodon platform is similar to Twitter, but it has no underlying business plan for user data and no algorithms determining what you can and cannot see. User data does not end up with a single company, and there are basically no commercial interests at stake.

The Mastodon server (referred to as an 'instance' at Mastodon) only shows you what you are looking for and what users are talking about in the digital space you are a member of. Mastodon also aims to prevent the dissemination of disinformation, through moderation. 

The SURF pilot

SURF is a cooperative association of Dutch education and research institutions that focuses on knowledge sharing, innovation and procurement of digital services. SURF has created a server within the Mastodon platform for research universities and universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands and has linked it to the institution account, i.e. your UvANetID. By doing so, it has created a safe and reliable place where education and research institutions and their students and staff can find each other and exchange messages more easily. 

Why is the UvA participating in this pilot?

The UvA attaches importance to public values such as independence. The increasing dependence in science and education on Big Tech companies like Twitter is a worrying development. Mastodon offers a safe and reliable alternative. 

Sign up and participate

Students, staff and researchers of the University of Amsterdam can easily create an account on the Mastodon server social.edu.nl using their UvANetID. Staff and students of other research universities and universities of applied sciences can also sign up using their institutional account. External parties cannot become members. 

How to sign up:

  1. Go to social.edu.nlExternal link and click ‘Inloggen’ (log in).
  2. In the next window, click ‘SURFconext’.
  3. Click on ‘UvA’ and log in using your UvAnetID.
  4. Read the information that appears and click ‘Doorgaan naar SURF Mastodon Pilot’ (continue to SURF Mastodon Pilot).
  5. Create a Mastodon account name and click ‘verder’ (continue).
  6. You are now a member of the social.edu.nlExternal link-server. You can now post a 'toot' (message) or look for interesting accounts to follow. 

More information

All information on the pilot, how Mastodon works, user manuals, tutorials, and FAQs can be found at surf.nlExternal link.

Follow UvA on Mastodon