- Mastodon is emerging as a Twitter alternative
- Mastodon is an open-source microblogging site
- Since Elon Musk took over Twitter, Mastodon has drawn 489,003 new users
Twitter has been in the headlines since the world’s richest person, Elin Musk, took control of it last week. As a result, several advertisers and celebrities have left the app in search of better pastures. Apps like Koo, Cohost and B-Heard provide new, safer environments for Twitter users concerned about what “free speech” looks like.
However, the app that has gained the maximum eyeballs is Mastodon. It is a decentralised social media app. Since Elon Musk took over Twitter on October 27, Mastodon has drawn 489,003 new users, bringing monthly active users to more than 1 million. Here’s everything you need to know about the emerging microblogging platform.
What is Mastodon?
Mastodon is an open-source microblogging site. Unlike Twitter, it operates decentralised and has user-managed servers. Various categories involve a large number of servers, often known as communities. People can participate in any of them based on their interests.
How to create an account on Mastodon?
It is simple to create a Mastodon account. After tapping “Get Started,” the software prompts users to select which servers they want to join. Where users will have to choose the servers based on their interests, servers can be geographical, personal, or professional.
Once the servers are selected, it will ask to create a username. Usernames work similarly to email addresses and are unique to the instance you joined. It is structured as @[Username]@[MastodonInstance.Domain].
How to Use a Mastodon?
When users log in to a server, the app shows the content that individuals on that server post. In order to post on Mastodon, tap on the edit button in the lower right corner. Write your message and hit publish. The good thing about Mastodon is that it allows a 500-character limit instead of 280 on Twitter.
Just like on Twitter, users on Mastodon can create polls, post photos or videos, and post animated emojis. On Mastodon, retweets and likes are called reblogged and favourites. Users can see the content of the people they are following on the Home page.
How is Mastodon moderated?
As you already know, Mastodon is an open-source microblogging site. It uses decentralised methods to employ community-based moderation. This allows each server to prohibit or filter out objectionable information.
For example, Mastodon.social and several other servers can prohibit content banned in Germany or France, such as Nazi symbols, Holocaust denial, and incitement of violence against Jews. Besides, servers can also block or filter out messages with inappropriate content.
Eugen Rochko, founder and CEO of Mastodon, believes that small, tightly related communities can deal with undesired behaviour more efficiently than a huge company’s small safety team.
Issues, bugs and missing features on Mastodon
Just like Twitter or any other platform, Mastodon is not perfect. The emerging microblogging site lacks features that users may see on other mature apps. The one feature that is missing at the moment is an option for DM (Direct Message). If you want to ping someone individually, there seems to be no way around it. An option to save drafts that you may wish to post later is also currently unavailable on Mastodon. Besides, the Blue tick feature doesn’t seem available to everyone.
Currently, the loading times are a bit slow, and notifications are not sent out on time. The issues relating to notifications and load times are accredited to the sudden eruption of users ditching Twitter to get here. It is assumed that this will be fixed soon once the users stabilise or when an update is rolled out.
Finding friends/people to follow on Mastodon
The server you select is incorporated into your user name. So, if I choose the UK server and my name is Keval, my Username will be @Keval@mastodonapp.uk. To find someone on Mastodon, enter their full name. If they are on the same server, the app will locate them by just entering their names.
Besides, most Twitter users who set up a new Mastodon account share its link on their Twitter page. Users can locate them by using Twitter’s search feature. Go to Twitter.com and enter “Mastodon” in the search field. Now, to the right of the search box, click the three dots and then “Search filters” and filter out all the non-following accounts.
Users may now read through tweets from people they follow who have referenced Mastodon, with most of them containing a link to their page.
Elon Musk’s views of Mastadon
Elon Musk has been super active on Twitter since he took over the company. From commenting on the new paid verification scheme to the current layoffs, he has been sharing his opinion freely on the microblogging platform. So it comes as a little surprise that he took to Twitter to comment on the current exodus of people leaving Twitter for Mastodon. He Tweeted, “If you don’t like Twitter anymore, there is an awesome site called Masterbatedone.” Guess that was not enough as he replied to his existing tweet with another dig that reads, “Gee, I wonder why the screen is so dirty …” He added, “What do you call someone who is a master at baiting?”
Do people get verified on Mastodon?
No. There is no universal verification system in place like there is on Twitter.
Is Mastodon free?
Mastodon is a free and open-source microblogging platform. However, some servers on the app may ask for donations.