Mastodon is a name I had not heard of in several years, up until this weekend. In April 2019, Google shut down one of the best social media platforms on the planet, Google+. They did give users of the platform some notice so they could download their data and prepare for the closure.
During that time, users on the platform were searching for another social platform to go to and trying to find the platform their friends were going to. The discussion swirled around many different options, including Minds, MeWe, tsū, Mastodon, and a handful of other small social platforms.
Back in 2019, the choices were not as many as there is today. What happened ultimately was that the users split up into three groups. Some went to Mastodon, some went to MeWe, and others went to unknown places.
It may surprise you, but Mastodon has been around since at least 2017, maybe earlier. The platform is built on free, open-source software that essentially allows anyone to start an “instance.” While some people liked the platform well enough, others found it difficult to navigate and not as user-friendly as Twitter or Google+.
Fast forward to today, and Twitter is melting down before my eyes; at least some of its users are. I’m not going to get into the wide variety of reasons, but it primarily has to do with Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter.
Many high-profile accounts are leaving or “taking a break,” and other users are seeking alternatives, like Mastodon. While Mastodon is doubtful an alternative, I’m not sure it will satisfy the ease of use and tools that a platform like Twitter provides.
That’s not me saying not to leave Twitter; you do what you like and go where you feel suits you best. But there are other alternatives. Platforms such as MeWe, Snapchat, and, yes, Facebook will probably give you an experience closer to Twitter than you will find on Mastodon.
One challenge with Mastodon is how you join servers and how the entire thing functions. TechRadar has a new article out that explains how confusing it can be to a new user and why many won’t stay very long. It seems Mastodon hasn’t changed much since last I was on it. But we shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, this is open-source software and not a closed system.
Open source has a lot of advantages, but more often than not, the user and ease of use experiences suffer. It will be interesting to see how many celebrities make it to Mastodon and can navigate it and make sense of it. Wherever you go, I wish you the best of luck!
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Last Updated on November 7, 2022.