Some users are not happy with Elon Musk‘s takeover of Twitter, and many are switching to Mastodon, a decentralised alternative. According to the open-source network’s CEO and principal developer Eugen Rochko, one million people have joined in the last few days. To be fair, Twitter alternative app Mastodon has experienced spikes like these before, including in May of this year when the Musk contract was originally disclosed, as well as in 2017 and 2019 from users in India who were dissatisfied with Twitter’s stance.
Musk had made a fairly harsh joke making fun of Mastodon’s name before deleting it. Additionally, he stated that after the acquisition, Twitter usage is at an all-time high. The new Twitter Blue membership and verification restrictions have not yet been implemented for many locations, including India, thus it is unclear whether we will really observe a change in Twitter users. Here is a brief explanation of how Mastodon functions in case you decide to sign up to Twitter alternative account Mastodon in the interim and want to learn more about it.
There have been rumours that Twitter will eventually be completely behind a paywall. Given the circumstances, it makes sense that some users would want to completely quit the platform. This is helping Twitter alternative app, especially the open-source social networking site Mastodon, flourish.
Mastodon has attracted roughly 500,000 new members since 27th October, when the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla formally announced his purchase of Twitter, essentially doubling its user count.
But what exactly is Mastodon, and should everyone create Twitter accounts like accounts in Mastodon?
What is Mastodon?
Mastodon is distinct from other social media platforms in that it requires more than a simple website or app sign-up before you can use it and post content. Unlike Twitter, it is a decentralised network that is run by independent servers all over the world as opposed to being run or managed by a single headquarters. Mastodon was founded in 2016 by German software developer Eugen Rochko.
Mastodon posts and user-specific information are not solely controlled by one organisation. Instead, because of its open-source code, anybody may build their own Mastodon server and take registrations. This includes servers created for certain countries and regions or others for specific interests. Mastodon is also open source, so anybody may put up their own servers and increase membership, much like how cryptocurrencies operate.
Even if users decide not to leave their current server and join another one, each server has the ability to link to the others, enabling users to follow toots (Mastodon’s equivalent of tweets) from all public servers. Mastodon has more features than services like Twitter, such as spoiler tags, and is also free of adverts.
“Unlike the past 5 years that I’ve been running Mastodon operations as a sole proprietor, where Mastodon’s income was my personal income (minus all the expenses), I am now an employee with a fixed wage,” Rochko wrote in a blog post last year. “My personal income will thus be lower but I was willing to go this route because I want Mastodon to have more resources for things like hiring extra developers, UX designers, developing official apps and so on, and I want there to be a clear boundary between fundraising for that cause and my personal income.”
How to sign up for Twitter account alternative app Mastodon?
Get the application:
This is the simple part: Simply download the Mastodon app from the iOS or Android application store. Additionally, you may get started online by going to joinmastodon.org and clicking “Find a server.”
Pick a Server:
Mastodon doesn’t have a central place where you may register an account, in contrast to Twitter. You must instead pick from a variety of servers, each with its own community and moderating guidelines:
Even though you can follow and talk to people on multiple servers, the one you join will determine your entire Mastodon handle, the content policies you must abide by, and the web URL you must use to log in. Additionally, it influences some of the postings that you may view. (More on it in a moment.)
In the app:
Hit “Sign Up” and select a server from the list. Make sure you’re okay with its moderation rules, then create an account.
On the web:
Browse the list of Mastodon servers, pick one to join, then create an account.
Unfortunately, you still cannot view the top posts or hashtags on a server before joining it using the Mastodon mobile app. Because of this, you could think about selecting a server through the web first, then connecting to it using the mobile app.
Create the Account:
You will be required to create a unique ID using information such your full name, email address, and password in addition to a username that will be used on the site after accepting some basic ground rules.
@yourname@servername is the format of your whole Mastodon handle. (Rochko’s handle is @[email protected], for reference.) Keep this in mind since you’ll probably need it later.
Mastodon doesn’t provide a simple method for changing handles. You must first register a new account, move your old one over, and then change your @name. You may move to a different account or server by going to the profile editor, clicking “Account settings,” and then selecting “Move to a different account.” [(Your chosen name)@ will serve as this username (your chosen server). You can then move forward by clicking “Next” and your account will soon be operational.]
Find the Folk:
Mastodon’s mobile app will recommend a limited number of users to follow when you join up, although the list isn’t very extensive. Other ways to communicate with users on Mastodon include the following:
Use the search tab:
The mobile app’s search icon directs you to the discovery area, where you can look through hashtags, trending posts, the “For You” section of suggested followers, and “Community,” which displays a live stream of postings from your server.
Utilize the Explore area:
The #Explore section on the internet performs a comparable function and includes tabs for trending articles, hashtags, and “For you” follower recommendations.
Drink from the firehose:
You may examine a live stream of postings from your server and the whole decentralised network, respectively, using the Local and Federated portions of the website.
Find the people:
You may use the search box to hunt for particular names or handles. This should be done online where results may contain users from servers other than your own.
Browse through some curated lists:
As highlighted by FediTips, you may follow individuals through directories that have been hand-picked by editors. The most effective of them is Fedi. Directory, which lists each person’s bio and arranges individuals according to the topic.
Set Up your Profile:
You may settle in by setting up your Mastodon profile once you’ve joined a server and discovered some people to follow:
- In the app: Tap on the elephant icon, then hit “Edit Info.” You can then add a profile picture, change your display name, and add info to your bio.
- On the web: Click “Edit profile” under your display name, and you can add a bio, profile picture, and header image.
Several things to be remembered in time of posting –
- Hashtags are more important on Mastodon because the search function only covers plain text for you and people you follow. If you want other people to find your posts, you’ll need to use hashtags.
- Mastodon does not have a Direct Message function. The closest equivalent is to use the post visibility tool to limit a post only to people you’ve mentioned.
- Mastodon does not have an equivalent to Twitter’s Quote Tweet tool. This was a design decision intended to make the platform less incendiary.
- Although Mastodon offers a Favourite function akin to Twitter’s Like button, you can also use Bookmarks to save a toot without other people knowing about it.
How to use Mastodon?
By tapping the edit icon on the app’s lower right side, you may start typing your message and posting it on Mastodon. then click the publish button. On Mastodon, retweets and likes are referred to as relogged and favourites. Currently, Mastodon has no advertisements. Additionally, even though Mastodon is a free service, certain servers on the app want money.
Mastodon supports a character limit of around 5,000 posts, as opposed to Twitter’s 280-character restriction.
After Twitter’s takeover, people were prone to use Mastodon for the recent week. This guide provides the right way to create an account and use it.
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