A deep dive into Mastodon

Elephant in the Room

Article from Issue 269/2023
Author(s):

Get started with free microblogging, interact with others who share you interests, and even help expand the Fediverse with your own Mastodon instance.

Recent affairs at Twitter have led to resounding and sudden success for the free, open, and federated Mastodon [1] social media platform. But despite the apparent benefit of Twitter's mismanagement, Mastodon's success was bound to happen sometime. As Cory Doctorow explains in one of his many eye-opening essays [2], proprietary, centralized, and for-profit social media platforms always kill themselves. Mastodon and other open platforms will fill in the vacuum they leave in their wake.

Mastodon Is Not Twitter

Thinking of Mastodon as a stand-in for Twitter will leave newcomers confused. Sure, on the surface, Mastodon is a microblogging social media platform, and you could use it a such. But, as Max Leibman points out, assuming that Mastodon is just like Twitter is the first of the two fundamental errors people make.

Mastodon taps into and inherits all the advantages of the Fediverse. It is not only distributed, but massively distributed. This means no controlling entity can mess with your content or push sponsored posts onto your feed. Although a company can buy up individual servers, it will be hard for Mastodon, as an ever-expanding network of interconnected, but independent instances, to be bought out.

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