Your guide to Mastodon: What is it and how is it different from Twitter?

Your guide to Mastodon: What is it and how is it different from Twitter?
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Twitter has been pretty chaotic since Elon Musk took over as CEO half of the workers were laid off At the end of October and new features such as gray marks for trusted sources were released only to be then it was removed from the site the same day. There is also musk argued with founder Jack Dorsey and threatened companies to pull ads from Twitter.thermonuclear name and shame.”

since Official purchase of the mask Twitter shut down in October. 28 44 billion dollars, many users decided to leave the site. Sentinel bot, an organization that monitors the behavior of Twitter accounts, estimates that nearly 900,000 Twitter accounts were deactivated by October. 27 and November 1, for MIT Technology Review.

Some of those who leave Twitter switch to it Mastodon, a decentralized social network built on open source software. Mastodon’s “federated network” saw a remarkable rise in November. 6, Eugen Rochko, creator of Mastodon, Since October, the service has gained 489,003 new users, he said. 27 and now has over a million active users. However, that’s still a tiny fraction of Twitter’s 238 million.

Read on to learn how Mastodon works, how to sign up, and how it compares to Twitter. See for more information How to delete your Twitter accountand get the latest news Twitter’s verification badge plans.

What is Mastodon and how is it different from Twitter?

Mastodon It is a free social media service that works like Twitter. You can post toots (instead of tweets), follow other people and organizations, and like and retweet other people’s posts.

Mastodon was founded and first released in October 2016 by Eugen Rochko, CEO and sole employee of the non-profit organization Mastodon gGmbH. In May, Rochko explained the service’s oddly named replacement for “tweet.” The original button was called “toot,” he says, but a loyal supporter promised to support the Mastodon Patreon account for life if he changed it to “toot.” (“says” in the iOS and Android appspublish it.”)

In the year Time magazine interviewRochko said that he “is very important to me to be able to express myself to my friends online through short messages, it’s important to the world, and maybe it shouldn’t be in the hands of one person” and a corporation that can do whatever it wants with it.

Read more: No Mastodon Twitter Replacement

Instead of one town square for everyone, Mastodon is made up of thousands of social networks, all running on different servers or able to communicate with each other through a system called “instances”. fediverse. It also includes other social networks such as Fediverse PeerTube for videos, funkwhale for music, PixelFed for pictures and NextCloud for ranks

Mastodon servers are not required to join Fediverse, In fact, the most popular example of Mastodon Social TruthThe social network of former US President Donald Trump.

How do I join Mastodon?

The most difficult part of Mastodon begins. Since there isn’t a public Mastodon space for everyone — like on Twitter — you have to register on a dedicated Mastodon server.

Servers can be based on geographic location, subject interest, professional background, or anything an administrator can think of. For example, people horse dolphin. city there is only Literary lovers were allowed to write the letter “E”. there is is prohibited from never using the letter “E” (in honor of OuLiPo writer Georges Perec’s lipogram “Missing“).

Two of the largest Mastodon servers, aka instances mastodon. social — the official server of the Mastodon project — and, although both have temporarily suspended registration. This is another great shared server that I recently joined Other famous examples of Mastodon include for journalists and for open source software.

Don’t worry too much about which server you choose — you can join as many times as you like and leave or switch servers at any time. And you can follow people between servers, so choosing one doesn’t prevent you from contacting those on other instances.

One good place to find a server to join is the official Mastodon website The site currently lists 106 committed servers Mastodon Server Agreementan agreement to enforce moderation, back up the site, and give at least three months’ notice before shutting down the instance.

Each server’s “about” page will provide some information about the Mastodon instance and list the server’s rules. If you don’t find a server you like on, you can try other Mastodon directories, for example situations.sociala wizard offers to select a server sortable list 3,910 instances.

A screenshot of the Mastodon registration form

Joining a Mastodon server requires only a few personal details.

Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

Most Mastodon servers with open registration will only require your email address and password to get started. After responding to the verification email, you are ready to use Mastodon. Other, more private Mastodon servers may ask you to send a request to join and then wait for an invitation.

How do I use Mastodon?

Like Twitter, Mastodon lets you send short messages to the world or select people, but instead of tweets, Mastodon posts are called toots. Many of Mastodon’s other features are similar to Twitter, with minor differences. Each post is limited to 500 characters (instead of 280) and you can add links, images (JPG, GIF or PNG, up to 8MB), audio files (MP3, OGG, WAV, FLAC, OPUS, AAC, M4A and 3GP) . up to 40MB) and videos (MP4, M4V, MOV, WebM up to 40MB).

A screenshot of the Mastodon deployment interface with visibility options is shown

Mastodon offers four levels of visibility for all your teeth.

Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

Your posts on Mastodon can be made public only to your followers or completely unlisted from all timelines. You can create polls for your followers and use all your favorite regular emojis, plus custom emojis created for specific servers.

Any post can be marked with an explanatory “content warning” that requires a click before viewing, and Mastodon users often take advantage of this feature.

You can even edit posts in Mastodon. Each version of your toot remains available for review, and people who reblog your post are notified after it’s been edited.

Like Twitter, Mastodon uses hashtags starting with the “#” symbol, such as #Gaming, #Anthropology or #Veganism. Since there is no algorithm to suggest your posts to non-followers, using hashtags to categorize your posts for people who might be interested is more important than Twitter.

You can follow any account on Mastodon, whether it’s on your own server instance or not, and the account’s posts will be added to your Main feed in chronological order. Be aware that for some accounts, you need to request permission to follow them.

free web apps like Debirdify, Fedifinder and Twitter It can help you find accounts you follow on Twitter that have migrated to Mastodon.

If you don’t want a certain account to follow you, you can block them just like you do on Twitter, or you can choose to block the entire server.

Mastodon allows you to “favorite” posts, but the number of favorites doesn’t appear in the timeline — if you want to promote someone else’s posts, you have to “promote” them or reblog them. Unlike Twitter, there are no “quotes” on Mastodon, a deliberate choice to discourage “dunking” on other people’s posts. A separate “bookmark” function allows you to save tots in Mastodon without notifying the account that posted it.

Mastodon has a feature called Direct Messages, but the name is a bit misleading. Instead of sending messages from person to person, the Mastodon feature limits the visibility of a post to only the people listed in it. In other words, they are more things that only certain people can see, rather than actual direct messages.

How do mastodon charts work?

While Twitter has just one timeline (sorted chronologically or by “top stories”), Mastodon has three: The main timeline shows all the posts and reblogs of everyone you follow, your Local timeline everything from your server instance, and your Federated timeline shows. shows all posts from all Mastodon servers you follow someone on.

Using a web browser, you can make Mastodon look like Twitter, displaying one feed at a time, or viewing multiple feeds and notifications at the same time. Tweetdeck) by selecting “Advanced view” from your options.

A screenshot of Mastodon's advanced view interface

Mastodon’s advanced view lets you view notifications and multiple timelines simultaneously.

Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

Are there mobile apps for Mastodon?

You bet. Due to the open source nature of Mastodon, you have many options for apps on both iPhone and Android.

Your first and easiest choice is the official app from Mastodon gGmbH ( iOS gold android), but there are other solid third-party apps. Currently, the two most popular alternative Mastodon apps are Metatext for iPhone and Tusky for Android.

Mastodon apps for iPhone:

Mastodon apps for Android:

If you’ve started with Mastodon, don’t forget to follow me (And say hello!)

For more information on social media and Twitter a Elon Musk acquisition timeline and read about Big changes coming for Twitter.

Correction, November 7: An earlier version of this story misstated the characteristics of the Mastodon. Mastodon added the ability to edit posts in March 2022.

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