What is Mastodon and how does the social network that is growing as an alternative to Twitter work?

(CNN) – Ago Elon Musk has taken over TwitterThe number of people who registered on the small social network Mastodon has increased significantly.

You probably haven’t heard much about it mastodon, which has been around since 2016, but is now growing at a rapid pace. Some are running away from Twitter or at least looking for it A second option is to post your ideas onlineas the popular social network faces layoffs, controversial product changes, a new approach to content moderation and an increase in hateful speech.

It may not yet be clear what the alternative to Twitter is, a unique, fast-moving, text- and conversation-oriented, news-oriented platform of influencers. But Mastodon fulfills a few needs.

The service looks similar to Twitter, with a schedule of short updates arranged chronologically rather than algorithmically. It allows users to join a large number of different servers run by different groups and individuals, rather than a single centralized platform controlled by a single company such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Unlike the big social networks, Mastodon is free to use and ad-free. It is run by a nonprofit organization led by its creator, Eugene Roshko, and receives funding via microfinance, also known as Crowdfunding.

Elon Musk sued Twitter for massive layoffs 0:57

Roshko said in an interview Thursday that Mastodon has gained 230,000 users since Oct. 27, when Musk took control of Twitter. He said it now has 655,000 active users each month. Twitter reported in July that it has approximately 238 million active monetizable users per day.

“Obviously it’s not the size of Twitter, but it’s the biggest network out there,” said Roshko, who created Mastodon more as a project than a consumer product.

See also  Musk does not rule out bankruptcy of Twitter as CEOs continue to bleed

Who will join Mastodon?

Mastodon is a free, open source software for running self-hosted social networking services.

New recordings on Mastodon include some Twitter users with a large following like the actress and comedian Cathy Griffinwho joined in early November, and a journalist Molly Jung Fastwho joined at the end of October.

Sarah T. Roberts, associate professor at UCLA and faculty director at the university’s Center for Critical Internet Research, began using Mastodon in earnest on October 30, after Musk took over Twitter. (He said he created another account years ago but only recently logged into it due to Twitter’s popularity among academics.)

Roberts, who worked at Twitter as a staff researcher earlier this year while taking a leave of absence from UCLA, said she was inspired to start using Mastodon because of concerns about how Twitter content moderation could change under Musk’s control. But he suspects some newcomers are simply tired of social media companies hoarding so much user data and being governed by ads.

He noted that Twitter users can switch to Mastodon because the user experience is quite similar. Many of Mastodon’s features and design (especially in its iOS app) will look familiar to existing Twitter users, albeit with slightly different verbiage. You can follow others, create short posts (there is a 500 character limit and you can upload photos and videos), bookmark or repost other users’ posts, etc.

“It’s as close as you can get,” he said.

Feeling like a newcomer to social media

I’ve been a Twitter user since 2007, but since people I follow on the social network have started posting their Mastodon usernames in recent weeks, I got curious. This week, I decided to check out Mastodon for myself.

See also  Get £ 46 from the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Mesh Wi-Fi on Prime Day

There are some major differences, particularly in how the network is set up. Since Mastodon user accounts are hosted on a large number of different servers, the costs of hosting users are spread out among many different people and groups. But it also means that users are all over the place, and it’s hard to find people you know. Rochko compared this setup to different email providers, such as Gmail and Hotmail.

Elon Musk's Twitter accounts suspended by Trump

Elon Musk.

This means that the entire network is not under the control of one person or company, but it also introduces some new complexities for those of us accustomed to Twitter, a product that has also been criticized over the years for being less intuitive than the popular Facebook and Instagram.

On Mastodon, for example, you have to join a specific server to register, some of which are open to anyone, while others require an invitation (you can also Build your own servers). There is a server operated by the non-profit organization behind Mastodon, Mastodon.social, but it does not accept any other users. I currently use one called Mstdn.social, where I can also log in to access Mastodon on the web.

And while I can follow any other Mastodon user, no matter what server they’re signed up for, I can only see lists of who follows friends of Mastodon, or who follows friends of Mastodon, if the followers belong to the same server with the one they’re registered with (I found this out while trying to track down some more From people I know who signed up recently).

See also  Track tried to rob a house but ran away after seeing the security cameras

At first, I felt like I was starting over, in a sense, as a newcomer to social media. Like Roberts said, it’s quite similar to Twitter in terms of looks and functionality, and the iOS app is easy to use.

But unlike Twitter, where I can easily interact with a large audience, my Mastodon network has less than 100 followers. I suddenly had no idea what to post, a feeling I never get on Twitter, perhaps because the size of that network makes any post less important. I soon got over it, though, realizing that Mastodon’s smaller scale can be calming compared to Twitter’s endless stream of stimulation.

An escape from social networks

However, I’m not quite ready to close my Twitter account. For me, Mastodon is a kind of social media escape door in case Twitter becomes unbearable.

Roberts hasn’t decided yet whether to shut down his Twitter account either, but he was surprised by how quickly his Mastodon following grew. Within a week of recording and letting his nearly 23,000 Twitter followers know, he had amassed over 1,000 Mastodon followers.

“People probably don’t want to be stuck on Twitter so soon,” he said.

In some ways, starting over can also be fun. “I thought, ‘What will it be like to start over?'” “

“It’s kind of interesting: Oh, this one’s here! Here’s such-and-such! I’m so glad they’re here so we can be together.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.