What is Mastodon? The social media platform Twitter users are emigrating to in protest of Elon Musk
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Elon Musk’s first weeks in charge of Twitter have been anything but turbulent free, and some users have been looking at other platforms to join in protest. One such social network attracting the attention of many new users is Mastodon, a microblogging network with an egalitarian ethos behind it.
Described as a “decentralised social network”, Mastodon pride themselves by offering users no algorithms or adverts in their feeds and a curation process that solely relies on what Mastodon users want to see. No signs of sponsored posts or unwanted suggestions here.
Creators of Mastodon have been very clear about what they do with user data too, claiming their curation process will, so far, never see profiles unwanted in your feed. The company proudly proclaims on their website “that means your data and your time are yours and yours alone.”
Talking about the decentralised aspect of Mastodon, former developer for the platform Eugen Rochko wrote on his blog “maintaining communities that feel safe for all of its members is not easy. Mastodon provides a lot of foundational framework and tools for doing it, and shifts the power to effect change from one commercial entity to the communities themselves.”
Staunchly independent, the Mastodon platform relies on open-source coding that is available for other programmers to study and customise for their own needs. But for most people looking to move from Twitter to Mastodon the big question is - what can it do? Is it simply another company attempting to usurp the ubiquity of another social media platform like Minds tried against Facebook?
Well, it’s certainly a lot more technical than the pick-up-and-post interface that Twitter is known for and the learning curve for some might be quite steep. However, with many now leaving Twitter and looking for an independent alternative, Mastodon looks to be the current social media platform people are flocking to.
How do I sign up to Mastodon?
You can download Mastodon through the Google Play store or Apple Store and sign up through the app, or visit Mastodon’s website to sign up there. However there are a few set-up options to undertake before you start tooting.
You will be asked when first loading the app on your mobile device to pick a server to cater to either the region you are in or an interest you have; we chose mastodonapp.uk as our server to connect to but you may have your own preference.
Connecting to the server is one of the more complicated matters when setting up a Mastodon account compared to signing up to Twitter; but once you’ve decided which server you want to frequent then the rest of the network offers free rein to explore. You could even start tooting immediately - that’s the Mastodon equivalent of tweeting for those not yet in the know.