Showing all posts tagged: Mastodon

Not moving to Canada or Mastodon, I’ve been on Twitter too long

9 January 2023

Josh Nicholas, writing for The Guardian, about a recent decline in active members on social network Mastodon:

The number of active users on the Mastodon social network has dropped more than 30% since the peak and is continuing a slow decline, according to the latest data posted on its website. There were about 1.8 million active users in the first week of January, down from over 2.5 million in early December.

Aside from grumbles about Mastodon being difficult to use, I think a lot of people are wary of having to start over again somewhere else. If Twitter had ceased to exist, gone off-line, members who wished to remain active on a micro-blogging service would have no choice but to find a new platform, but that hasn’t (yet) been the case.

I joined Twitter in 2007, as did many of the people who follow me. Today some of those people have tens of thousands of followers, something that would’ve entailed considerable time and effort to achieve. The prospect of leaving that behind, and rebuilding their following on another service, would be daunting.

Despite Mastodon experiencing a growth surge in recent months, and making headlines in the process, membership peaked at about two and a half million accounts in December 2022. This compared to Twitter’s 368 million monthly active users at the same time. Some people moved on, but plenty stayed back.

Anyone then looking to start again would have found barely any of their Twitter followers on Mastodon, rendering a move questionable. So much for the Twitter members who threatened to depart, to “move to Canada” so to speak, after Elon Musk assumed ownership. In the same way some Americans, unhappy with the prospect of Donald Trump becoming U.S. President, declared they would migrate to Canada, in the event he won office. Ultimately few, if any, made the move.

While some Twitter users might have gone to Mastodon, or another micro-blogging service, or left social media behind all together, their numbers were limited by the looks of it. Staying on, rather than starting from scratch, turned out to be more appealing. Twitter had a way of retaining members, sitting — out of sight — up its sleeve, all along.


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Seth Godin: Mastodon is a federation not a corporation

21 November 2022

Inconvenient. Difficult. Different. Resilient. Social network Mastodon — viewed by some as a Twitter alternative — as seen by American author, entrepreneur, and master of short-form blogging, Seth Godin:

It’s a network in the real internet sense of the word. It’s not just a network of users, it’s a network of servers as well. No one owns it. Like email, it’s a set of principles and rules, not a place. A federation is different than a corporation. It might not be as shiny, but it’s far more resilient. It’s inconvenient. You can’t get started in ten seconds. This leads to less initial stickiness. It means that the people who get through the learning curve are more likely to be committed and perhaps generous.


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Reports of the death of social media are greatly exaggerated maybe

14 November 2022

Ian Bogost writing for The Atlantic:

It’s over. Facebook is in decline, Twitter in chaos. Mark Zuckerberg’s empire has lost hundreds of billions of dollars in value and laid off 11,000 people, with its ad business in peril and its metaverse fantasy in irons. Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has caused advertisers to pull spending and power users to shun the platform (or at least to tweet a lot about doing so). It’s never felt more plausible that the age of social media might end — and soon.

The question is, what do we do next, if we don’t have social media? Go back to meaningful face-to-face interactions? What do content producers, who enjoy self-publishing do? Print a zine? I’m not sure that social media is about to disappear, even if some of the bigger players are having some trouble. Still, Bogost makes some salient points.

As I’ve written before on this subject, people just aren’t meant to talk to one another this much. They shouldn’t have that much to say, they shouldn’t expect to receive such a large audience for that expression, and they shouldn’t suppose a right to comment or rejoinder for every thought or notion either.

People have been over-talking since people could first talk. Ditto expecting a large audience for their rants. Social media only amplified the voice of these over-talkers. On the upside, anyone we don’t want to listen to can easily be ignored, blocked. Try doing that to an over-talker you don’t want to listen to at a family gathering.

Social media might not be about to roll over and die, but it is at a turning point. Yet as Twitter’s implosion shows, people are not quite ready to walk away from connecting online. Membership of Twitter alternative, Mastodon, has spiked in recent weeks. Billing itself as a social network, rather than a social media service, it has become a sanctuary for people seeking a place where they can hear themselves think.

Presently there are few brands, and — better still — influencers, and possibly over-talkers, on Mastodon. That some servers, or instances, forbid commercial accounts, helps in this regard. Instances are either owner funded, or member supported, meaning they don’t need advertising revenue to survive. Perhaps this means there’ll be more signal and less noise, but only time will tell.

If social media is about content creation and publishing to the widest possible audience, then social networking is about forging more meaningful connections with those in your network. No doubt some will welcome the demise of certain social media channels, but if the migration to Mastodon is any indication, people are still looking to connect online with others, both known and unknown. Or maybe a whole lot of us simply want to be part of the next (sort of) big thing. Only time will tell.


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Shlee admin of Aus Social Mastodon instance on radio RRR

10 November 2022

Shlee, admin and founder of the Aus.Social instance, of which I am a member, spoke on Melbourne based radio station Triple R, last night.

He was joined on the weekly Byte Into IT segment by Aurynn Shaw, founder of New Zealand based Mastodon instance, Cloud Island. Listen here to their chat with hosts Vanessa Toholka, Warren Davies, and Laura Summers.


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Mastodon clocking up some impressive milestones

8 November 2022

Eugen Rochko, creator of microblogging platform and social network Masterdon, highlights some recent milestones:

Hey, so, we’ve hit 1,028,362 monthly active users across the network today. 1,124 new Mastodon servers since Oct 27, and 489,003 new users. That’s pretty cool.

I think Mastodon is easier to use than it is to understand. What perhaps confuses many would-be Mastodon members is the federated structure of the social network. Whereas Twitter is centralised, Masterdon is a collection of thousands of individual servers, called instances. Each one is owner operated so to speak, and each has their own rules, and terms of use.

New members can pick and chose an instance best suiting their needs. Masthead, for example, caters for people with an interest in the journalism and blogging space. But if that’s not your thing, there’s bound to be one that is. Here’s a tool to help you find an instance you might like. You also have the option to create your own instance, if you want.

I ended up joining Aus.Social as it more of a general interest space, with, obviously, an Australian leaning. That said though anyone, anywhere, is free to join if they want. The federated timeline is also accessible, meaning everything happening across the entire so-called fediverse, is there to be seen and interacted with, making Mastodon more like the classic Twitter experience.


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Mastodon isn’t Twitter but it can be Twitter like in good ways

5 November 2022

I’m not quite sure what to expect at Twitter, but I have no plans to depart the platform for now. In the meantime I’ve been looking at Mastodon, a highly geeky alternative to Twitter. To say there’s a learning curve to Mastodon is an understatement.

Once you get used to the differences though between the centralised domain that is Twitter, and the decentralised realms of Mastodon, the experience can be mostly Twitter like, while still being a breath of fresh air.

One thing to bear in mind is most Mastodon instances, or servers, such as, are operated privately by the individuals who set them up. So if you think Mastodon is your thing, and you’re going to be hanging around, you could consider making a contribution to help with operational costs.

The other challenge for Mastodon’s ability to scale is that it has very scarce resources compared to Twitter. Rather than relying on investors, Mastodon survives on donations, crowdfunding, sponsorships and grants. The platform is free of ads and thus doesn’t collect any of its user’s data. But, its frugality has meant it also has no real way to gain revenue the way other platforms do right now.


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