Mastodon: The New, Open-source and Booming Twitter Alternative
The Executive Headlines
It is uncertain what Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter means for the platform. However, one Twitter alternative might be booming as a result of the news. And that Twitter alternative is Mastodon.
Booming Twitter Alternative—Mastodon
Mastodon is the open-source social media service that bills itself as the largest decentralized social network on the internet. The platform has been exploding since Musk’s acquisition, as per its founder.
News of Twitter's buyout has rattled Twitter employees and users, as Musk has indicated he plans to take a much more hands-off approach to content moderation. As is often the case when Twitter makes a controversial change, some users have threatened to leave the platform, while critics have pushed #RIPTWITTER to trend.
Viable Alternative to Twitter
While Mastodon has been in the spotlight as a potentially viable Twitter alternative in the past, it has yet to reach the mainstream. But its current popularity comes at a moment when Twitter is also exploring how it could become an open-sourced protocol — much like Mastodon.
Unlike Twitter, Mastodon is not a single, centralized service. Though the interface looks similar to Twitter — it has a 500-character limit but otherwise will be mostly recognizable to Twitter users — it runs on an open-source protocol. Groups of users are free to create and maintain their own “instances” with their own rules around membership, moderation and other key policies. Users are also able to take their followers with them between instances.
Open-source Social Media Network
Mastodon operates its own instances, mastodon.social and mastodon.online, but those are apparently overloaded, according to Rochko, who suggests that new users sign up via the official apps and join other communities on the service. And, because it’s open source, Mastodon makes its code available on GitHub, an idea Musk has also endorsed with regards to Twitter’s algorithms.
But all that also comes with extra complexity for new users who may not easily understand Mastodon’s unique structure or how it works. But those who stick around long enough may see some significant new features. Rochko said that end-to-end encrypted messaging is in the works, as well as “an exciting groups functionality.”