With Twitter becoming more and more volatile, we’ve been hearing a lot of questions from clients who are looking at alternatives. They’ve been asking us: What is Mastodon? How does it work? And should we make an account?
In this guide, we’ll define what Mastodon does, explain why it has emerged as a destination for ex-Twitter users, and help you decide whether your organization should join.
What is the Mastodon social media platform?
Mastodon is a free-to-use social media platform that looks and acts a lot like Twitter.
This is by design. Mastodon's website says that its creator, Eugen Rochko, was an avid Twitter user for years, but grew to dislike the platform’s direction. As such, most of Mastodon’s functions are similar to Twitter’s: Tweets are “toots,” retweets are “boosts,” and likes are “favorites.”
But a big difference exists in how Twitter and Mastodon are structured – Mastodon is a decentralized social network, whereas Twitter is centralized.
This concept is a little tricky, but it gets easier to understand when you think of each platform as a community. Twitter is like one giant city. Although users discuss thousands of different topics every day, all conversation happens on the same website.
Mastodon, on the other hand, is like hundreds of small villages. These villages are called “servers,” and each server has its own niche (e.g., “veganism.social,” “historians.social,” etc.). While they are all linked to Mastodon’s larger network, servers are run independently and make their own moderation decisions.
That sounds like a big difference, but the server you choose doesn’t really change your user experience. All Mastodon servers can communicate with each other, so you’ll be able to see posts and follow users across the platform.
How does one join Mastodon?
For those that haven’t yet joined Mastodon, the sign-up process can seem intimidating. We’ll walk you through it:
Start by visiting joinmastodon.org. Click “Create account.” You’ll then be sent to a page where you can choose a server to join.
Need help getting your organization signed up? Don’t hesitate to contact us.
How can my organization use Mastodon?
We feel that your strategy should reflect the balance of these two questions:
We recommend setting up a basic account for your organization on one of Mastodon’s general servers. That way, you can reserve your handle and have a solid fallback should Twitter crash.
However, we don’t think it’s time to add Mastodon to your social media posting schedule. We will be sure to update our blog if this changes.
What are the other alternatives to Twitter?
Mastodon isn’t the only alternative to spring up since Elon Musk took over at Twitter. Here’s a couple more to watch:
The social media landscape is always evolving, but we’ve got your back. Reach out today to talk about how we can help!