Mastodon, a lesser-known social media platform, has seen a surge in users in the week since Elon Musk took over Twitter. Mastodon is similar to Twitter in that it displays a timeline of short updates sorted chronologically, but it differs in that it is not controlled by a single company. This allows for a more decentralized network where users can join different servers run by various groups and individuals.
Some users are fleeing Twitter for Mastodon or at least seeking out a second place to post their thoughts online, as Twitter faces layoffs, controversial product changes, an expected shift in its approach to content moderation, and a jump in hateful rhetoric. While Mastodon may not be a clear alternative to Twitter, it scratches a certain itch for those looking for more control and flexibility in their social media platform.
What is Mastodon?
Mastodon is a social media platform that launched in 2016. It is similar to Twitter in that it has a timeline of short updates sorted chronologically, but it differs in that it is not controlled by a single company. This allows for a more decentralized network where users can join different servers run by various groups and individuals.
If you’re curious about Mastodon and considering making the switch, here are a few things to know:
- Mastodon is free and open-source software licensed under the GNU AGPLv3.
- Anyone can run their own instance of Mastodon, with their own rules and moderators.
- Mastodon is based on ActivityPub, an open standard for federated social networks.
- Mastodon accounts are portable – if you decide to leave one instance for another, you can take your account (and followers) with you.
Who owns Mastodon?
Short answer: no one and everyone. The project is maintained by a loose collective of individuals from around the world.
The person responsible for creating Mastodon is Eugen Rochko, a German software developer. He started working on the project in 2016 and it has been growing steadily since then. Rochko started coding Mastodon back in 2016 after getting fed up with the bullying he saw on Twitter.
When Rochko launched Mastodon, he hoped to create a friendlier and more democratic social network than what was currently available. By decentralizing the platform and giving users the ability to run their own servers, Rochko believed that Mastodon could avoid many of the problems that plague centralized social networks like Twitter.
Since its launch, Mastodon has gained a small but passionate following. The platform now has over 1 million monthly active users. While this is a far cry from Twitter’s 238 million daily active users, the recent surge in interest in Mastodon suggests that there is a growing appetite for alternatives to centralized social media platforms.
So if you’re looking for a Twitter alternative, Mastodon might be worth checking out.
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