Mastodon burns in Twitter chaos

Mastodon burns in Twitter chaos
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CNN Business

Within a week of that time Elon Musk has taken over TwitterThe number of people joining a small social network called Mastodon has increased.

You haven’t heard mastodon, has been around since 2016 but is now growing rapidly. Some avoid Twitter for it, or at least looking for a second place such as posting one’s thoughts on the Internet the more prominent social network faces layoffs, controversial product changes, and an expected shift in its approach to content moderation. a leap in hateful rhetoric.

There may not be a clear alternative to Twitter, a uniquely influential platform that is fast-moving, text-rich, conversational, and news-oriented. But Mastodon scratches a certain itch. The service is similar to Twitter, except that the timeline of short updates is sorted chronologically rather than algorithmically. It allows users to connect to many different servers run by different groups and individuals, rather than a central platform run by one company like Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Unlike the big social networks, Mastodon is both free to use and ad-free. It is developed and supported by a non-profit organization run by Mastodon creator Eugen Rochko. crowdfunding.

Mastodon is a free open source software for managing your own social networking services.

Mastodon’s Musk has gained 230,000 users since Oct. 27, Rochko said in an interview Thursday. He took control of Twitter. According to him, there are currently 655,000 monthly active users. Twitter reported in July that it had approximately 238 million daily active monetized users.

“It’s not as big as Twitter, obviously, but it’s the biggest network that’s ever existed,” said Rochko, who originally created Mastodon more as a project than a consumer product (and yes, the name was inspired by it). heavy metal band Mastodon).

Among Mastodon’s new sign-ups are some Twitter users with huge followings, such as actors and comedians Kathy Griffinwho joined in early November and journalist Molly Jong Fastwho joined in late October.

Sarah T. Roberts, associate professor at UCLA and faculty director of the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, began using Mastodon in earnest on Oct. 30, shortly after Musk took over Twitter. (He said he created another account years ago, but didn’t access it until recently because of Twitter’s popularity with academics.)

Roberts, who worked as a researcher at Twitter while on leave from UCLA earlier this year, said he started using Mastodon because of concerns about how Twitter’s content moderation might change under Musk’s watch. He suspects that some newcomers are simply fed up with social media companies that capture a lot of user data and are ad-driven.

And he noted that Twitter users in particular may migrate to Mastodon because its user experience is very similar to Twitter. Many of Mastodon’s features and layout (especially in its iOS app) will look and feel familiar to current Twitter users, albeit with slightly different wording; you can follow others, create short posts (there’s a 500 character limit and you can upload pictures and videos), like or repost other users’ posts, and more.

“It’s as close as it gets,” he said.

I’ve been a Twitter user since 2007, but in recent weeks I’ve become interested as more and more people I follow on the social network start posting their own Mastodon usernames. This week I decided to check out Mastodon for myself.

There are some key differences, particularly in how the network is constructed. Because Mastodon users’ accounts are hosted on many different servers, users’ hosting costs are spread among many different people and groups. But it also means that users are spread out and finding people you know can be difficult – Rochko likened the setup to different email providers like Gmail and Hotmail.

That means the network isn’t entirely under the control of any one person or company, but it also introduces some new complications for those of us used to Twitter — a product that’s been criticized for being less intuitive than it has become over the years. . Services like Facebook and Instagram.

In Mastodon, for example, you should connect to a dedicated server register, some are open to everyone, some require an invitation (you can manage your own server). Mastodon has a server run by a non-profit organization behind, but no longer hosts users; I currently use one called, which is where I can log in to access Mastodon on the web.

While you can follow any other Mastodon user, regardless of what server they are registered with, you can only see who is following your Mastodon friends, or who your Mastodon friends are following, if the followers belong to the same user. the server you’re signed up to (I figured this out recently while trying to track down more people I know who signed up).

At first, I felt like I was starting over, a complete newbie to social media in a way. As Roberts says, it’s pretty similar to Twitter in terms of look and functionality, and the iOS app is easy to use.

But unlike Twitter, where I can easily communicate with a large audience, my Mastodon network is less than 100 followers. I suddenly had no idea what to write – a feeling that never bothers me on Twitter, perhaps because the size of this network makes any post feel less consequential. However, I quickly got over it and realized that Mastodon’s small scale can be soothing compared to Twitter’s endless stream of stimulation.

However, I’m not quite ready to shut down my Twitter account; For me, Mastodon is sort of a social media escape if Twitter is unbearable.

Roberts has also not yet decided whether to close his Twitter account, but he has been surprised by how quickly his following has grown on Mastodon. Within a week of signing up and alerting nearly 23,000 Twitter followers, he had amassed over 1,000 Mastodon followers.

“Pretty soon, people may not want to be caught on Twitter,” he said.

In some ways, starting over can also be fun.

“I thought, ‘How about starting over?'” he asked. “It’s kind of interesting: Oh, there’s that guy! Here, so and so! I’m so glad they’re here so we can be here together.”

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