Quitting Elon Musk’s Twitter? Here’s how to join Mastodon


Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Mastodon has emerged as one of the fastest-growing and high-profile options for those looking for an alternative to Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk’s erratic changes.

The big picture: Mastodon says it had more than 1.8 million active users last month — more than three times the number it had the day Musk took over Twitter.

  • But Mastodon isn’t just another Twitter clone – nor does it try to be. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Mastodon is not a company

It is a social media app that, like Twitter, allows users to share short messages in real time, but unlike Twitter, there isn’t one giant system run by a for-profit company.

  • Instead, Mastodon is a network of privately managed servers running shared open-source code.
  • Mastodon has thousands of “instances” – individual servers – that users join as their home base. These servers are “federated” into a network so that once you choose a server, you can easily track messages from users based on other servers.
Mastodon is not trying to clone Twitter

While much of Mastodon looks and feels a lot like Twitter, there are some key differences.

  • There is no algorithm that promotes posts that have attracted a lot of engagement from other users. You’ll see a chronological list of everything users you follow have posted.
  • Mastodon doesn’t have trending topics, and while you can retweet (“boost”) other users’ posts, you can’t “quote tweet”.
Mastodon’s content rules are decentralized

The operator of each server sets the conditions for which types of messages are out of scope.

  • Some welcome sexual content and others do not.
  • Most have chosen to introduce fairly blanket bans on hate speech, abusive behavior and misinformation.
  • But it’s entirely possible that a server might welcome QAnon conspiracy theorists or white supremacists, for example.

The intrigue: Mastodon allows other server operators to block servers whose practices and content they deem to be malicious.

  • Users on a server that was widely blocked were able to communicate with each other, but not with most of the Mastodon world.
How to start with Mastodon

Joinmastodon.org is a good starting point to download the app and choose a server.

  • As with Twitter, you can also use Mastodon in any web browser.
  • Tip: First set up your account in your browser – it’s easier and works better than doing this in the app.

How Mastodon compares to Twitter

The service’s lack of polish and added complexity leave many other Twitter users feeling confused or lost when they jump over to Mastodon.

  • Because Mastodon is not a company, individual servers are often run by volunteers and there is little customer support beyond the help other users can provide.
  • Some Twitter communities — including science Twitter and journalistic Twitter — have expressed strong interest in Mastodon. Others, including Black Twitter and MAGA Twitter, seem to be waiting.

Be smart: Mastodon itself feels little of the pressure to scale quickly that drives most social media companies. It does not intend to keep an eye on advertisers or goose stats for investors.

  • This means that Mastodon has fostered many micro-communities and developed a native maverick streak.
  • Some Mastodon users are delighted to see hordes of Twitter descend on the spot. Others may be happier if their alternate dimension grows a little more slowly.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:


More like this