If you still haven’t heard about Mastodon, you might be living under a rock. Mastodon has drawn a lot of attention from various countries regarding its open-source and federated social network server, which was found on October 5, 2016, by Eugen Rochko.
Mastodon likes to call itself a federation that consists of thousands of communities, which resonates with the Twitter kind of timeline and forum-style like Reddit. Users can create a profile, post images, messages, videos, and follow other users to get updates on Mastodon.
Mastodon offers 500 characters to users to express themselves compared to it’s big brother – Twitter, which only allows 280 characters.
You might be thinking that is this the birth of a new social media, while Mastodon has been for a while around. Mastodon has gone through various revisions over a couple of years by learning from the audience and continuously developing new infrastructure to cater the modern needs. Mastodon 3.0 provides a social media experience that focuses on anti-abuse tools to protect users from harassment and has strict codes of conduct. A pool of moderators ensures that the platform is abuse-free.
What makes Mastodon unique from the crowd is the infrastructure compared to other social media like Twitter. The Mastodon infrastructure is massively centralized, and all interactions take place on a single server controlled by the company while Mastodon is decentralized, which leads to a broader network. It includes many instances where communities can communicate and have their own admin and policies to become federated.
Twitter is already getting crowded by the discussions of Mastodon and how it has developed its policies, product features, code of conduct, and the overall ideology of an open Social Network.
How does it work?
Mastodon is based on individual servers, also known as instances like Mastodon .xyz or Mastodon .social, which anyone can join. As opposed to Twitter, which is decentralized by the company or a private server. Mastodon gives back the user the right to create its own restrictions and present a new scope in the social media world.
Each instance is an individual server, which is run by an administrator. The admin controls who can become a member and what kind of content can be allowed in that instance. For example, MumbaiBikers is a social network for Mumbai Bike Enthusiasts, which can be run by Indian owner on a specific server and also generate its own rules.
For users to communicate with each other, users can use @username in these specific instances. Instances are not visible to every other instance and are private to people of that particular instance in a larger group. One of the core policies that the owner of an instance can frame the rules of the federated timeline of other uses.
Complete freedom is given to the admins to migrate the kind of content which is available in the Instance and provide the opportunity to create multiple categories, fanbases, and interest groups.
How to Join?
If the introduction of Mastodon has piqued your interest, joining Mastodon is also quite easy. Since the complete freedom is given to the admin to manage any kind of content available in an instance, it depends on the admin and instance rules on who can join and who can’t.
You can sign up on Mastodon and join its flagship instant Mastodon.social network for early users of Mastodon and start understanding the platform.
Currently, it does not have an official app. You can start browsing the instances of your choice once you have downloaded the version you want to use.
While federated network might sound quite complicated and technical, but we all are using a federated system in our daily lives called email. As you have an account on Gmail and your friend has an account on Outlook or Yahoo, you still can exchange messages with each other. Mastodon is built on a similar fundamental, in which you have an account on a server, and your friend has an account on another server, and you can still follow each other. It facilitates a centralized network except that it’s not.
Hunt your perfect community
Mastodon is not your another Social Media platform, but it is a federation, think of – The Avengers. Thousands of independent communities running Mastodon from their individual networks become a part of a larger group.
Browse the communities with a Safer social media experience
The most prominent feature of Mastodon is that it comes with an anti-abuse tool to protect yourself and other people on the internet. Thanks to the network’s spread out, and it’s independent nature, that the other users can approach moderators for personal help and adhere to the code of conduct.
Sharing your thoughts has never been more convenient
While Twitter only provides 280 characters, Mastodon gives an extension of 500 characters to express, and you can also adjust the quality of your pictures by providing focal points. It also allows you to add custom emojis.
The one thing which is missing from Twitter is the Edit function, which Mastodon brings back to the community and allows for editing and deleting post accordingly. Mastodon also provides an ad-free experience without an intent to sell you any kind of products or services and enjoy content uninterruptedly. Every feed on Mastodon is chronological, and you can decide on whom you want to follow.
Mastodon for organizations – You can also host your own social media platform on your infrastructure and write your own rules of the game.
Code of Conduct
The following guidelines of Mastodon .social are here to provide you with an insight into the content moderation policies of Mastodon:
The following form of content will be removed immediately from the public timeline:
- Excessive and direct advertising
- News bots posting from third-party news sources by using tools like scraping
- Nudity and pornography which include artistic depictions
- Discrimination against gender or sexual minorities, or advocation
- Discrimination against sexual and gender minorities, or advocation
As Twitter has Tweets, Mastodon has Toots. It provides you the option to take polls, change the privacy before publishing a post, as well as a warning before your message gets displayed. These tools are kept in mind for an abuse-free community on the internet. This is also one of the primary reasons why Twitterati’s are moving to Mastodon. Mastodon has the true potential to disrupt Twitter, but it will take years to get the same reach as Twitter as it is used multiple celebrities, politicians, and stars. You can try out the social app in India by heading to the homepage and registering your profile.