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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Mastodon: An alternative to Twitter?

Mastodon is a decentralised, open-source social media platform that prioritises privacy and offers an alternative to Twitter.

Since the takeover of Twitter by billionaire Elon Musk, many users have become disenchanted with the social media platform. In response, several alternatives have gained momentum, including Jack Dorsey’s BlueSky and Mastodon. Although Mastodon claims to be a decentralised open-source network that does not use an algorithm feed and sell user data like Twitter, it has failed to attract a significant number of users. 

Interface

Mastodon’s interface is similar to Twitter’s, with minor differences in terminology. For instance, posting a message on Mastodon is called “tooting,” while on Twitter, it is called “tweeting.” The options available for posts on a user’s feed are similar to Twitter’s, albeit with different names. Despite the similarities, some users have found Mastodon’s interface difficult to navigate, while others have not.

Read More: Twitter Experiences Major Outage Across the Globe

Decentralised Structure

Mastodon’s decentralised structure is one of its unique features. According to the platform’s creators, anyone can set up a server or instance and operate and manage the content on it. Each server has its own set of rules and adds part of it to a user’s username. For instance, if a user signs up to Mastodon’s UK server, their username would be @mastodonapp.uk. Mastodon refers to these servers or instances as “federated ones.” The sum of all these sites is called the “fediverse” and will appear under the “federated timeline.”

Servers or Instances

When signing up for Mastodon, users can join different servers according to their interests, including politics. Joining a server means being part of a community, which allows users to message other members and view content created around a shared interest. The “Local Timeline” will display toots from a user’s home server, while their home page will show content from the people they follow.

Shortcomings

Despite Mastodon’s unique features, several shortcomings have contributed to its failure to gain traction. One significant problem is the platform’s technical faults and glitches, which have frustrated some users. While these problems have improved over the years, some users have still found the platform difficult to navigate. Another issue is confusion around how to use Mastodon, which has caused some users to abandon it. Additionally, the platform’s lack of celebrity and influencer users has made it less appealing to some users.

Improvements

To enhance Mastodon’s popularity, several improvements can be made. The first would be to simplify the app’s interface, making it more user-friendly. This would help attract more users who may find Mastodon’s current interface confusing. Secondly, Mastodon could expand its user base by recruiting more celebrities and influencers. This would help attract a broader audience to the platform. Thirdly, Mastodon should continue to fix technical faults and glitches to improve user experience.

Read More: Twitter working on AI despite Musk call for global pause

Mastodon is a unique and valuable platform that offers a number of benefits over Twitter. With continued development and community support, it has the potential to grow into a viable alternative to mainstream social media platforms. Developments include simplifying its interface, expanding its user base, and continuing to fix technical faults and glitches. With these improvements more users may be tempted to make the switch.