Mastodon Reaches 2.5 Million Users, Creator Holds Reddit AMA

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

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

“While there is no lack of social networks platforms brand-new and old, this is a radically various technique to social media that offers something standard social media can not. This might be one of the reasons Mastodon has just recently taken off in appeal, leaping from approx. 300K regular monthly active users to 2.5 M between the months of October and November, with a growing number of reporters, political figures, writers, actors and organizations moving over.”

Twitter’s brand-new ownership is triggering friction with users, prompting numerous to seek an alternative.

Mastodon’s totally free and open-source software application enables anybody to run a social networks platform on their own facilities while linking to an international decentralized social media network.

The sudden popularity of Mastodon, openly launched in 2016, has resulted in increased questions and issues from new users.

Rochko recently held an AMA on Reddit to address those concerns, addressing lots of commonly asked concerns.

I sorted through the thread to take out a few of the top highlights, including lots of questions I have actually been seeing from marketers.

The Twitter Scenario

Concern: “When you initially decided to establish Mastodon, did you prepare for a circumstance like the one that happened with Twitter happening?”

Rochko said he was skeptical of Twitter’s leadership however never ever anticipated this kind of scenario:

“A few of my initial motivations for exploring federated social networks (at that time GNU social) and eventually deciding to do my own take on it with Mastodon were uncertainties with Twitter’s leadership and future, so in a way, yes. But I am not going to pretend like I had any idea anything would end up being of my job then.”

Mastodon As A Twitter Option

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

Rochko states yes:

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

Algorithms

Concern: “What are your thoughts on “algorithms”? Will we see more of these simple, transparent algorithms for post sorting, for example as an alternative sort method on/ public/local,/ public, and/ house?”

Rochko says he does not have strong feelings about algorithms, and commits to keeping a reverse-chronological feed:

“I think that personalized algorithms like Buy TikTok Verification Badge‘s or Buy YouTube Subscribers’s recommendations have to be approached with a great deal of care due to the fact that of how they can enhance your predispositions and send you down conspiracy bunny holes. I have actually avoided anything machine-learning-related in Mastodon. But I do not have strong sensations about “algorithms” in general, only that the home feed should be reverse-chronological and just consist of material you chose to put there.”

Explore Page

Concern: “Exist prepares to allow ‘the number of time a toot has been favorited’ to be used as a sort criteria? If not, why was the choice required to not use 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

Concern: “The register procedure on Android is a little antiquated. How will you repair that to make it more accessible to less tech savvy users?”

Rochko states Mastodon is revamping the onboarding process on Android:

“Our most current beta build on Android consists of a revamped onboarding flow. The biggest 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 selecting by picking a random General server in your language for you.”

Direct Messages

Question: “I wonder why it does not have more standard features, like separation of DMs from notifications?”

Rochko discusses that Mastodon does not have conventional DMs, just posts restricted to specific users:

“Mastodon does not have traditional DMs, and different UX options are motivated by making that more clear. Mastodon has granular presence settings for posts, which suggests you can restrict a specific post (even as part of a thread) to simply your followers, or just people pointed out in the post. These can be used for the very same purpose as DMs, but specifically in concerns to the threading model and resolving, they’re not the exact same.”

Rochko includes that end-to-end encrypted DMs are on the back burner, however the top priority is improving the official iOS and Android apps:

“What we have on the backburner are end-to-end encrypted DMs. And by that I indicate, from the ground up designed to be DMs. I began dealing with that function in 2020 however then it got stalled at the customer level. We required our own native apps to do the ground deal with developing the client-side protocols, and at that time we didn’t have any. In 2021 we finally released a main iOS app, and in 2022 we lastly launched a main Android app, but there are so many things that those apps need in the past end-to-end encrypted DMs that it’s still on the backburner.

Third-Party Apps

Concern: “I simply want to know why you and your team concentrates on the iOS and Android apps because there are currently other 3rd 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 initially announced. Individuals look for “Mastodon” on the platforms’ own app stores (in reality, 82% of our iOS downloads come from individuals utilizing the search, and not from any web links to the app). We could not possibly provide our hallmark to an app that we had no impact over (what if the app makes bad UX choices or stops being maintained?), nor did we want to take control of any app that existing users were currently dependent upon and change it. Additionally, we’re in a special position to have the resources to invest in expert UX design. Dealing with our own apps has given us insights into pain points with the APIs and straight fed into improvements to server-side code that all apps can gain from.”

For more, see the complete AMA here.

Featured Image: davide bonaldo/SMM Panel