Mastodon Reaches 2.5 Million Users, Creator Holds Reddit AMA

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Since Elon Musk obtained Twitter, Mastodon, a decentralized and open-source social networks platform, has grown its user base from 300K to 2.5 M regular monthly active users.

Eugen Rochko, Founder of Mastodon, announced the turning point in a post this week, touting his platform as a “significantly different alternative:

“While there is no shortage of social media platforms new and old, this is a significantly various technique to social media that uses something standard social media can not. This might be one of the reasons why Mastodon has just recently blown up in popularity, jumping from approx. 300K regular monthly active users to 2.5 M between the months of October and November, with a growing number of journalists, political figures, authors, stars and organizations moving over.”

Twitter’s brand-new ownership is triggering friction with users, triggering many to seek an option.

Mastodon’s complimentary and open-source software application enables anybody to run a social media platform by themselves facilities while linking to a worldwide decentralized social network.

The sudden popularity of Mastodon, openly released in 2016, has actually caused increased questions and issues from new users.

Rochko recently held an AMA on Reddit to resolve those concerns, responding to dozens of frequently asked concerns.

I sorted through the thread to pull out a few of the top highlights, including many concerns I have actually been seeing from marketers.

The Twitter Scenario

Question: “When you first decided to develop Mastodon, did you prepare for a circumstance like the one that came to pass with Twitter taking place?”

Rochko stated he was skeptical of Twitter’s management but never ever expected this type of situation:

“A few of my original motivations for exploring federated social networks (back then GNU social) and eventually choosing to do my own take on it with Mastodon were unpredictabilities with Twitter’s leadership and future, so in a way, yes. However I am not going to pretend like I had any concept anything would become of my project then.”

Mastodon As A Twitter Alternative

Question: “Do you think mastodon will end up being bigger than other twitter options like fact social?”

Rochko says yes:

“If it’s not currently, which I’m nearly sure it is and constantly has been, yes.”


Concern: “What are your ideas on “algorithms”? Will we see more of these easy, transparent algorithms for post sorting, for instance as an alternative sort technique on/ public/local,/ public, and/ home?”

Rochko states he doesn’t have strong sensations about algorithms, and commits to maintaining a reverse-chronological feed:

“I believe that individualized algorithms like Buy TikTok Verification Badge’s or Buy YouTube Subscribers’s suggestions need to be approached with a great deal of care since of how they can enhance your biases and send you down conspiracy bunny holes. I have actually avoided anything machine-learning-related in Mastodon. However I do not have strong feelings about “algorithms” in basic, only that the home feed must be reverse-chronological and only consist of content you decided to put there.”

Explore Page

Question: “Are there prepares to allow ‘how many time a toot has been favorited’ to be utilized as a sort requirements? If not, why was the decision required to not utilize this?”

Rochko states the Explore page is developed to do this by default:

“Trending posts on the explore page are ranked by their reblogs and favourites count with a decay from the time the post was published (comparable to Reddit and HN).”

Sign-Up Process

Question: “The sign up process on Android is a little archaic. How will you fix that to make it more available to less tech smart users?”

Rochko says Mastodon is revamping the onboarding process on Android:

“Our most current beta build on Android includes a revamped onboarding circulation. The most significant differences are that the starting screen now includes a description of what servers are, and that the server screen will let you tap Next without making a selection by choosing a random General server in your language for you.”

Direct Messages

Concern: “I wonder why it doesn’t have more standard features, like separation of DMs from notices?”

Rochko explains that Mastodon does not have traditional DMs, only posts limited to individual users:

“Mastodon does not have standard DMs, and numerous UX options are encouraged by making that more clear. Mastodon has granular visibility settings for posts, which means you can limit an individual post (even as part of a thread) to simply your followers, or just individuals pointed out in the post. These can be used for the exact same purpose as DMs, however specifically in concerns to the threading model and addressing, they’re not the exact same.”

Rochko adds that end-to-end encrypted DMs are on the back burner, but the top priority is improving the main iOS and Android apps:

“What we have on the backburner are end-to-end encrypted DMs. And by that I mean, from the ground up developed to be DMs. I started dealing with that feature in 2020 but then it got stalled at the customer level. We needed our own native apps to do the ground work on creating the client-side protocols, and back then we didn’t have any. In 2021 we finally launched a main iOS app, and in 2022 we finally introduced a main Android app, but there are many things that those apps need before end-to-end encrypted DMs that it’s still on the backburner.

Third-Party Apps

Concern: “I simply would like to know why you and your group focuses on the iOS and Android apps given that there are currently other third party apps readily available that could be endorsed?”

Rochko says it comes down to trademarks and branding:

“I went into detail on that when the iOS app was first announced. People search for “Mastodon” on the platforms’ own app shops (in reality, 82% of our iOS downloads come from individuals using the search, and not from any web links to the app). We could not possibly offer our trademark to an app that we had no impact over (what if the app makes bad UX decisions or stops being kept?), nor did we want to take over any app that existing users were already dependent upon and alter it. In addition, we’re in an unique position to have the resources to buy professional UX design. Working on our own apps has actually given us insights into pain points with the APIs and directly fed into improvements to server-side code that all apps can benefit from.”

For more, see the complete AMA here.

Included Image: davide bonaldo/SMM Panel