Mastodon, a free and decentralized social network, has benefited from Elon Musk’s disastrous takeover of Twitter. After an unprecedented amount of people downloaded the Mastodon mobile app over the previous weekend, the firm, run entirely by volunteers, announced another achievement today.
Mastodon has been actively pushing its app to Twitter users who are considering quitting, and the company said that 230,000 individuals have joined in the past week. The post boasted that with the influx of new members and their return to their former accounts, the network had reached 655,000 total users.
According to Mastodon, this is an all-time high for social networking services.
This follows reports that, on Friday, Oct. 28 — the day after Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter was finalized — over 70,000 new users joined the open-source network. And according to independent data collected by Sensor Tower, the Mastodon mobile app had about 91,000 new installs from Friday through Sunday, representing a 658% rise from the 12,000 installs seen in the three days prior. The Twitter alternative’s popularity has increased and hasn’t been without its share of problems.
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This week, Mastodon. Social, one of the most visited Mastodon servers, has been experiencing delays and outages as its administrators have tried to keep up with the demand for their service. This could turn some people from utilizing Mastodon, as their initial experience was terrible.
As the survival of Mastodon hangs in the balance, Mastodon creator and CEO Eugen Rochko has been working tirelessly to optimize the service and has even ordered new hardware. Often, when new users who test a benefit for the first time feel annoyed by bugs and other issues, they don’t come back a second time.
Furthermore, some users have arrived at Mastodon without a firm grasp of how a decentralized social network operates and, as a result, have found the process difficult or unnecessarily technical. Users can’t just sign up for an account and start making posts as they can on Twitter or more conventional social networks.
They have first to pick a server to join as their Mastodon home. This is where most individuals run into trouble, as they have no idea where to look for a list of available servers, how to select the best one, or whether they can communicate with users on other servers. This may discourage them from further investigating Mastodon.
It’s too bad because that’s Mastodon’s main selling point: the ability to find and join a server that perfectly suits your interests. Because it runs on a distributed network of servers, Mastodon doesn’t need the same level of expensive infrastructure and engineering as a network like Twitter.
This implies that Mastodon doesn’t need to rely on ad revenue and may be sustained by smaller revenue streams like sponsorships and donations. Because of this, a company like Musk cannot acquire Mastodon for any price.
Because each Mastodon server is independently run, its administrators can decide how the platform is policed. Nonetheless, users aren’t restricted to interacting solely with those on their server; they can locate and adhere to buddies everywhere on the network.
Aside from your own “Home” feed of people you’re following, you can also see the timeline meals of both your server and the more comprehensive “Federated” stream. This is especially handy if the server you’ve joined is frequented by people who post about topics pique your interest.
In addition, there are many different topic-based servers available. In addition to general-purpose socialization servers, topic-based servers focus on things like technology, music, gaming, art, activism, LGBTQ+, food, and more. Because of this, it’s easier for people to find their place.
Notably, Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter is taking a decentralized approach with his new social networking protocol Bluesky, which already has over 30,000 people on its waitlist ahead of its prelaunch. In the future, a Bluesky mobile app will make it easier for people to communicate via this medium.
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The Silicon Valleyexecutive’ss decision to go his way with Bluesky, rather than adopting known protocols like ActivityPub, which powers Mastodon and others, has irritated the open source community, which includes individuals who have been doing the hard work on Mastodon over the years.
Users will soon have to decide if the excitement of Twitter — no matter who owns it — is worth giving up for a decentralized social networking future.