Mastodon is a decentralized social network in addition to a metal band. This service, which is likewise accessible and self-hosted, was developed by Eugen Rochko. The user must select a server at the time of registration in addition to registering with Mastodon.
There are already more than 3,600 of them, and each is hosted by one or more administrators who set the rules and moderation they choose. The Fediverse, the name given to a federation of autonomous servers where many free services communicate with one another, makes this operation possible. Mastodon falls under this category, as does PeerTube (a YouTube competitor), PixelFed (an Instagram alternative), and others.
A server can be selected based on location, topic (music, activism, activity,…), language, or any combination. At the time of writing this article, there are about six regions a user can choose from during registration. These include Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. For folks in Africa, there are currently seen; however, you still can choose the servers from other regions during registration.
You should also know that finding a server, however, is not always straightforward, especially since some users frequently close their registrations after experiencing success. This is especially true for Mastodon. Social, the primary server run by the service’s inventor.
How does Mastodon work?
Mastodon will consequently ask you to select a server when you sign up on joinmastodon.org. This will impact the “Local Public Thread,” which we will discuss shortly. The newcomer’s nickname will, after that, appear as follows: @[email protected] Remember that you can change servers after the fact and keep all your subscribers’ subscriptions. You can join the server on fantasy literature that a friend has recommended if the one on the history of cheese does not particularly interest you.
Similar to Twitter, Mastodon primarily provides the ability to post messages. Other platform functionalities include retweets, hashtags, trends, and even favorites. Pictures, videos, and questionnaires may accompany the text. Sadly, there is no native support for GIFs here; instead, you must download them locally and upload them as an attachment.
Regarding its interface, The posts from the people you are following are shown here. Its notifications, favorites, lists, direct messages, and Explore tab may all be viewed by clicking on the right side of the screen, but the local and global public threads stand out. The second one shows the aggregated messages from all the servers, but the first one shows the messages posted by all the server users where the user registered.
Mastodon is accessible on mobile devices, the leading web, and through third-party services (such as the streamlined and light Pinafore). Along with numerous other free or paid third-party options for mobile and desktop, there are official Android and iOS apps available. Here is a list of the latter.
Difference between Mastodon and Twitter
The maximum character limit for toots is 500 here (as opposed to 280 for the blue bird), and you can amend your messages here already after they have been sent (when this has been expected on Twitter for years). You may also choose who can view your posts on Mastodon or add warnings to them (for sensitive topics or to prevent spoilers). Additionally, you can enter several connections to other social media platforms and websites and pin multiple Toots to your profile.
Mastodon also gives users a choice to select a sophisticated web interface. When turned on, the latter provides a TweetDeck-like display with movable columns. It is practical to show the home, notifications, and direct messages, for instance.
What you should know about Mastodon before switching
The approach used by Mastodon offers some benefits despite initially appearing to be challenging and occasionally less effective than a technological giant like Twitter. Mastodon is run on a volunteer basis and funded by donations and sponsors. As a result, it is not dependent on administrators’ whims and can do without advertising, tracking, or centralization.
Be cautious, as Mastodon also includes inaccurate comments and misinformation due to a moderating procedure that varies from server to server. Choosing the correct server is crucial, and regardless of whether users are using free hosting or not, hosts’ selections always affect them. Mastodon makes the following guarantee on its homepage: “Our organization will only direct you to servers continually committed to moderation against racism, sexism, and transphobia.
Another potential issue is the service’s lackluster level of confidentiality, especially concerning private communications which are not encrypted. Instance administrators do have access to these, as well as the passwords. These (major) weaknesses can be avoided by choosing a unique password, enabling two-factor authentication (as suggested by Mastodon), and avoiding sending essential data on the service.