Hey y'all, it's been a hell of a week. I'm Eric Holthaus, coordinator of Project Mushroom, and like you I'm a little worried about what's happening at Twitter.
Over the past few days we've watched the richest person in the world systematically dismantle one of the most important online organizing spaces at a moment when democracy, justice, and the planet itself are all under attack.
I'm fucking outraged. And so I thought the best thing I could do is work with other people who want to subvert what's happening — and hopefully build something even better as a result.
If you're getting this, you're on the waitlist for Project Mushroom, but you probably still have a lot of questions about it. That's completely understandable — we're building this project in realtime and there are still a lot of unknowns.
The most important thing to know is: We need your help to make Project Mushroom a reality.
The name 'Project Mushroom' comes from the ground beneath our bodies. Mycelium is the part of a fungus that gathers nutrients, comprised of web-like threads. Like Rebecca Solnit writes in Hope in the Dark, a mushroom is the visible fruit of the work of billions of connections waiting for the perfect moment to rise up together.
Project Mushroom is a project of Currently, a global network of journalists and scientists focused on climate justice and equity. We're also working with ex-Twitter employees who want to continue their work of bringing a safer, better online experience into the world.
We are assembling a creator council that will help direct our efforts going forward that is open to anyone who wants to help build a better online experience — free from harassment, free from bigotry, and promoting connection, mutual aid, and transformative action at a critical moment in history.
Since we launched on Friday — Project Mushroom is now the largest Mastodon project with climate justice as a priority, and one of the fastest growing in the English language. Since our launch, more than 10,000 people have signed up for our waitlist.
To make Project Mushroom a reality, we need support of all kinds. One of our primary principles is to never solicit unpaid labor, and there are a lot of folks wanting to help us get this going asap. Right now we are entirely member-funded so we set up a way for folks to pledge $5, $20, $50, or $100 a month to make sure we have a stable source to pay folks what they're worth. Exactly 100% of these funds will be used to pay for people's labor on this team and to fund the climate justice projects we're using as referral incentives. We need your help.
Keeping our creators safe is our utmost priority. We will be working with the Project Mushroom community to develop moderation protocols with strict bans on behavior like harassment, racism, and climate denial.
Our goal at Project Mushroom is to center joy and action. We will recruit moderators to enforce our community-led rules and will have a firewall protecting creators from targeted harassment and unwanted attention. We will set up transparent processes to gather input at all steps.
We recognize that climate justice is fundamentally connected to all other forms of justice. Everything is climate now, lovelies. So join us in remaking everything.
This platform is being built to fit creators' and communities' broad needs for safety and community — not just as a replacement for Twitter.
We will offer at least four types of creator services:
🍄 Newsletter hosting/publishing (including setup, maintenance, discoverability, creator tools via Ghost)
🍄 Live events hosting (audio, video, in person, and creator support)
🍄 A curated Mastodon-based social media network
🍄 Onboarding assistance for your followers to join you
More info on these tools will become available as they are built and passed through our community-led advisors.
Our goal is to build an open-source community of creators that can help each other bring into being the world that needs to exist.
We are contemplating a pay structure that would let creators keep 100% of their proceeds from their paid memberships *and* charge $0 in setup fees or ongoing maintenance. In exchange, we'll fund Project Mushroom by engaging with mission-aligned advertisers (i.e. no Exxon) and host regular membership drives to keep this a community-funded effort. We are doing this for us.
We're not quite ready to launch yet, but should be in the coming days and weeks. On our waitlist you can share your referral link — please share this with your networks if you're excited about this project. For every five referrals, we will pull a pound of trash out of the ocean with our partners at 4ocean.
We’ve had enough of the scorched earth policies of billionaires on a warming planet. Project Mushroom will cultivate timely and accurate information that supports community resilience and safety during the climate emergency. It will work to build strong, long-term relationships with people whose stories we share and those who use our services.
If you’d like to help us build Project Mushroom, either as a creator or developer or advisor, please fill out our short survey. If you’re interested in staying in touch and want early access, you can join the waitlist here and we’ll keep you updated as Project Mushroom grows.
That's it for now. But I'll stay in touch and make sure everyone here has a voice to build what needs to exist for the world that needs to exist to come into being.
For more information, or if you have any questions, please reach out to us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org