Is Mastodon The New Alternative To Twitter?

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Elon Musk bought Twitter. This message alone is apparently already enough to persuade thousands of Twitter users to switch. Even venerable Jedi Masters are losing their allegiance. Among other things, the Mastodon service is moving into the focus of people who are looking for a safe, free alternative that is as easy to use as possible.

mastodo welcome screen

Of course, there are some questions in the room. What is Mastodon? Do I have to do without well-known Twitter features? Does the service cost me anything? Questions that we answer in this FAQ.

Last but not least, what we’re most interested in is your opinion: are you considering or have you already made a switch to Mastodon or another service?

What is Mastodon?

Mastodon is a social network that allows you to create your own communities, follow friends and share content. Sounds like Twitter? At first glance, many things are reminiscent of this, but Mastodon works differently in the background.

Mastodon was developed by the German developer Eugen Rochko. In principle, thanks to the open-source approach, anyone can operate their own Mastodon server, which becomes part of a public, decentralized network. But that doesn’t prevent you from finding your friends, because of the features of the service work across servers.

And not only that: Other social networks such as Friendica and Misskey as well as the Instagram alternative Pixelfed are also compatible with Mastodon.

What features does Mastodon have?

Using Mastodon may sound familiar if you’re already familiar with Twitter.

  • Toot: The mastodon variant of the well-known tweet. The messages can be up to 500 characters long.
  • Boost: The equivalent of retweeting, i.e. spreading a toot.
  • Favorites: If you particularly like a boosted toot, you can mark it as a favorite with an asterisk, which was still a heart symbol on Twitter.

Of course, you can also attach images and other media to your messages and set privacy functions, such as who can see your toot.

Is there an app?

Yes, there is an official Mastodon mobile app. However, since the technology is open source, there are numerous other apps that you can use Mastodon with.

Does Mastodon cost anything?

No, the use of a Mastodon server is basically free of charge, and there is no advertising either. Whether you send the operators a thank you in the form of a donation is of course up to you.

mastodo platform

Is Mastodon safe?

This is where Mastodon benefits from being an open-source application. Any security gaps in the code can thus be quickly discovered and remedied by resourceful eyes – at least in theory. The service also offers a range of tools to protect you against bullying and other forms of abuse on Mastodon.

Instead of a large corporation, Mastodon is based on the voluntary work of ordinary people worldwide. This sounds tempting at first, but it also has a downside: if the person running your server decides to unplug it for private reasons, you will be kicked out of the network.

In addition, the operators can manually determine how far the interaction with other servers should go. It can therefore happen that you do not have the same functions as in other networks.

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How do I switch to Mastodon?

First of all: If you are now planning to switch from Twitter to Mastodon, you have to say goodbye to the hope of being able to transfer your content – i.e. tweets, pictures, and other media. You start from scratch, you must be aware of that.

If you still want to get started, we’ll guide you in a few steps to your new presence on Mastodon.

  • First of all, the choice of a server is on the program – yes, even before the assignment of your username. This is supplemented by a server-dependent attachment. You can choose from a list with several categories, there is also gaming, cars, pets, etc…
  • Once you have found a server, click Join and this will take you to the normal registration form, where you can enter your username and password. You can also have a look at the members of the server beforehand to make sure that you meet as many like-minded people as possible.
    Important: Be sure to read the server rules before you finish!
  • Upon completion, you will have your new Mastodon identity with the naming scheme [email protected] and you can start the worldwide conversation!

How many people use Mastodon?

According to official figures, over 4.4 million people worldwide are currently using Mastodon (as of April 2022). That sounds like a lot at first, but it is only a fraction compared to Twitter with well over 200 million active users. So when you move to Mastodon, don’t expect to find your friends or celebrities or corporations you’ve followed on Twitter.

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