Mastodon Gain Users: Mastodon, a decentralized and open-source social network, has benefited from Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter. The non-profit organization behind the Mastodon mobile app has reached a new benchmark following the announcement of a weekend record for app downloads.
Mastodon has been actively marketing its app to Twitter users who are thinking about leaving, and the company announced that 230,000 new users have signed up in the past week. The post said that the network now has 655,000 active users, thanks to new sign-ups and people logging back into accounts they had created.
Mastodon claims this is their most extensive user base ever. This follows reports that the open-source network added over 70,000 users on Friday, Oct. 28 — the day after Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter closed.
According to independent data compiled by Sensor Tower, there were approximately 91,000 new installs of the Mastodon mobile app from Friday through Sunday, representing a 658% increase from the 12,000 installs seen in the three days prior.
The Twitter competitor’s rapid expansion hasn’t been without its drawbacks. These past few days, mastodon. Social, one of the most visited Mastodon servers, has been experiencing delays and outages as it has tried to keep up with the growing number of users. Some people may be put off using Mastodon because of this poor introduction.
As the future of Mastodon hangs in the balance, Mastodon founder and CEO Eugen Rochko has been working tirelessly to optimize the service and has even ordered new hardware. When first-time users encounter bugs or other issues, they may become frustrated and abandon the service altogether.
As an added complication, some Mastodon users may have arrived without completely understanding how a decentralized social network operates. As a result, they may have found the process confusing or overly technical.
You can’t just sign up for an account and start posting like you can on Twitter or any other more conventional social network. They must initially choose a Mastodon server to call “home.”
People usually get stuck here because they don’t know where to look for a list of available servers, how to pick the right one, or whether they’ll be able to communicate with people outside of their particular server. They might become discouraged and decide against further investigation of Mastodon.
Unfortunately, this is Mastodon’s main selling point: you can join a server that caters to your interests. Because it runs on a distributed network of servers, Mastodon doesn’t need the same level of expensive infrastructure and engineering as a network like Twitter.
Therefore, Mastodon doesn’t need to rely on ad revenue but on smaller income streams like sponsorships and donations. For the same reason, someone like Musk could not acquire ownership of Mastodon.
Because each Mastodon server is independently run, its administrators can decide how the platform is policed. However, users aren’t confined to chatting with those on their server; they can locate and adhere to friends anywhere on the network.
— Catherine Miao (@catherine_miao) November 18, 2022
Aside from your own “Home” feed of people you’re following, you can also see the timeline feeds of both your server and the more extensive “Federated” feed. If the server you’ve joined has many people talking about things that interest you, this is a great feature to have.
In addition, there are several topic-based servers available. In addition to more general socializing servers, there are also topic-based servers focusing on technology, music, gaming, art, activism, LGBTQ+, food, and more. Everyone can then find their specialization.
Notably, Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter, is taking a decentralized approach with his new social networking protocol Bluesky, which has already attracted more than 30,000 people to sign up for its waitlist ahead of its upcoming launch. In the future, people will be able to use this technology to connect via a mobile app developed by Bluesky.
— Tattooed_mummy (@Tattooed_Mummy) December 27, 2022
When a Silicon Valley executive decided to go his way with Bluesky instead of using established protocols like ActivityPub, which powers Mastodon and others, the open-source community (including those who have been doing the hard work on Mastodon over the years) became frustrated.
Users will soon have to decide if the excitement of Twitter — no matter who owns it — is worth giving up for a future of decentralized social networking.