I started out self-hosting my services with a nextcloud. It was really great having access to a service like that anywhere I went. It was a shock to realize that when you run your own service you can use it however you like -- there's no admin to complain that you're not using it the way they want.
Shortly after, big tech started their shenanigans in earnest -- Once they've banned the sitting president of the united states, there's no chance of escaping the censorship.
I started out on alt tech, minds and bitchute. They were fine, but you could see that all it would take is someone to change their minds about how to run the site and suddenly we're back to square 1. On supposedly free-speech minds, one of my posts got reported and at that point I just wasn't interested anymore.
Around the same time, Google had been warning they were going to shut down hangouts. Over my life, I've had a lot of services I use shut down or change such that I can't use it anymore, and it's getting annoying.
I started to go about figuring out how to start up my own service.
I tried Friendica at first. There are some things I really liked about friendica. Once I got the interface working the way I liked it was definitely a looker, and I still prefer the way it shows threads by default. Unfortunately, I found that friendica was very heavy on the back-end to the point that I wasn't able to know for sure if my posts were getting out there. If I had a beefier server it probably would have been fine, but I didn't.
Next I moved to pleroma, and it was much more responsive.
Today I'm running pleroma on the back-end with soapbox-fe as my front-end. Along the way I also set up a peertube instance, a searx instance, an invidious instance, a Matrix homeserver, an xmpp homeserver, and a lotide instance.
It's really cool! Essentially, most of the tabs I have open now are from my own services.
There's lots of interesting people on here so content isn't really a problem. Some people have reported my posts, but that's because they're literally stupid. Every report I've seen is "I disagree with this guys politics!" which was summarily ignored.
The only service I still routinely use from big tech is youtube, though now mostly through my invidious instance. I spend a lot of time on my peertube instance, however.
I'm pretty sold on the fediverse ecosystem at this point, and I'm totally sold on self-hosting. Nobody will get rich off of it, but what I envision is someone coming up with a box that you can install in your house that will allow setting up and maintaining self-hosted services automatically, and then everyone would be independently using their own services that communicate with others' self-hosted services.
I grew up on the Free Internet. I don't care to live on the locked down Internet. I like seeing ideas I don't agree with. I like seeing things that make me feel uncomfortable. I like seeing things I think are wrong. I like seeing things that make me think and maybe change my own views. This is the last best bastion of freedom left.
@sj_zero I really appreciate your post. I have no idea if I would agree with you politically, and I don't really care, and I think that's actually a beautiful thing. I believe that every attempt by large corporations to lock us into their platforms should be met by a strong resistance.