Mastodon: Which new platform are some Twitter users turning to?
- son Kleinman
- Technology Editor
After Elon Musk took over Twitter, some users looked for alternative platforms. Mastodon was a great benefactor. But what?
The social network says it now has more than 655,000 users, with more than 230,000 added in the past week.
Mastodon’s interface looks like Twitter, account users write posts called “tots” that can be replied to, liked and reposted, and they can follow each other.
But its settings work differently than Twitter.
This is one of the reasons it attracts new users, but it has caused some confusion among them.
The platform is six years old, but its current activity is unprecedented and it’s struggling under the weight of new entrants.
Here’s a quick guide on how to use it.
What are all these servers?
The first thing you need to do when registering is choosing a server. There are many of them and they are grouped into categories, many by country, city or interest such as UK, Society, Technology, Games etc.
It doesn’t really matter which one you use since you can follow users in all other threads anyway, but it does give you a community that is more likely to post stuff you’re interested in too.
Some servers are currently working very slowly due to the high access rate.
Ryan Weld, who runs the MastodonApp.UK server through his company Superior Networks, said he had more than 6,000 new subscribers in 24 hours and had to pause registration.
“I wanted to see what the hype was about,” he said.
“I shut down the server at 10pm on a Friday and woke up the next morning to a thousand people I didn’t know were going to join.”
how do you find people on the podium؟
The server(s) you choose will become part of your username, for example I used my current Twitter username “zsk” and I chose the UK server which made my username [email protected] And that’s my address over there, what you’re going to look for to find me.
If you’re on the same server you can just search for the person’s name, but if they’re on a different server you’ll need their full address.
Unlike Twitter, Mastodon doesn’t suggest followers you might be interested in.
You can also search for hashtags.
Why are the servers there?
Well, this is complicated, but I’ll try to keep it very simple.
Mastodon is not a single platform. It is not a single “thing” nor does it belong to a single person or company. All of these different servers are connected and form a collective network, but they are owned by different people and organizations.
This is called decentralization and fans like decentralized platforms for this very reason, they cannot be run by a single entity whether bought or sold.
However, the downside to this is that you are instead burdened with the whims of the person or organization running your server. If they decide to give up, you will lose your account. Mastodon requires server owners to give their users three months’ notice if they decide to shut it down.
Incidentally, Twitter’s original founder, Jack Dorsey, is working on a new network called Bluesky, and he has said he would like it to be decentralized as well.
How is Mastodon monitored?
Currently all servers have their own moderation rules and some don’t. Some servers do not link to servers that are full of bots or contain a large amount of hate content, meaning they are not visible to those on blocked servers. Posts can also be reported to server owners.
If it’s hate speech or illegal content, those owners can delete it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be deleted everywhere.
It will be a big problem as this platform keeps growing.
There are already reports of people being attacked with hateful content.
Do you TFound ads?
No, there are no ads, although there’s nothing stopping you from writing a post promoting your company or product.
Mastodon also doesn’t offer a structured experience like Twitter, in terms of how you view posts, you generally see what your followers are saying, they are saying.
Is it free to use?
It depends on the server used, some ask for donations, they don’t get paid, but it’s pretty much free.
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