Mastodon Reaches 2.5 Million Users, Founder Holds Reddit AMA

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

Eugen Rochko, Creator of Mastodon, announced the milestone in a blog post today, touting his platform as a “drastically different alternative:

“While there is no scarcity of social networks platforms brand-new and old, this is a significantly different technique to social media that provides something conventional social media can not. This may be one of the reasons why Mastodon has actually just recently taken off in popularity, leaping from approx. 300K month-to-month active users to 2.5 M in between the months of October and November, with a growing number of reporters, political figures, authors, actors and companies moving over.”

Twitter’s new ownership is causing friction with users, prompting lots of to seek an option.

Mastodon’s complimentary and open-source software application enables anyone to run a social media platform by themselves infrastructure while connecting to a worldwide decentralized social media.

The unexpected appeal of Mastodon, publicly released in 2016, has caused increased questions and issues from brand-new users.

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

I sifted through the thread to take out a few of the top highlights, including lots of concerns I’ve been seeing from online marketers.

The Twitter Situation

Concern: “When you initially decided to develop Mastodon, did you expect a scenario like the one that came to pass with Twitter happening?”

Rochko stated he was skeptical of Twitter’s leadership but never ever anticipated this type of circumstance:

“A few of my initial motivations for exploring federated social media (at that time GNU social) and ultimately choosing to do my own take on it with Mastodon were uncertainties with Twitter’s management and future, so in a manner, yes. But I am not going to pretend like I had any concept anything would become of my project then.”

Mastodon As A Twitter Option

Concern: “Do you think mastodon will end up being larger than other twitter options like truth social?”

Rochko states yes:

“If it’s not already, which I’m nearly sure it is and always has actually been, yes.”

Algorithms

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

Rochko states he does not have strong feelings about algorithms, and devotes to preserving a reverse-chronological feed:

“I think that customized algorithms like Buy TikTok Verification Badge‘s or Buy YouTube Subscribers’s recommendations have to be approached with a lot of care due to the fact that of how they can reinforce 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 sensations about “algorithms” in general, just that the house feed must be reverse-chronological and only consist of material you decided to put there.”

Explore Page

Concern: “Exist prepares to permit ‘how many time a toot has been favorited’ to be utilized as a sort criteria? If not, why was the choice required to not utilize this?”

Rochko states the Explore page is designed 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 repair that to make it more available to less tech savvy users?”

Rochko says Mastodon is redesigning the onboarding process on Android:

“Our most current beta construct on Android consists of a revamped onboarding flow. The greatest distinctions are that the starting screen now consists of a description of what servers are, which 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’m curious why it does not have more fundamental functions, like separation of DMs from notices?”

Rochko explains that Mastodon doesn’t have standard DMs, just posts restricted to individual users:

“Mastodon does not have conventional DMs, and various UX choices are motivated by making that more clear. Mastodon has granular exposure settings for posts, which suggests you can restrict a private post (even as part of a thread) to simply your fans, or just individuals pointed out in the post. These can be utilized for the exact same function as DMs, however especially in regards 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 enhancing the official iOS and Android apps:

“What we have on the backburner are end-to-end encrypted DMs. And by that I imply, from the ground up developed to be DMs. I began dealing with that feature 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 back then we didn’t have any. In 2021 we lastly launched a main iOS app, and in 2022 we lastly released a main Android app, however there are numerous things that those apps require before end-to-end encrypted DMs that it’s still on the backburner.

Third-Party Apps

Question: “I just wish to know why you and your team focuses on the iOS and Android apps given that there are already other third party apps readily available that could be backed?”

Rochko states it comes down to hallmarks and branding:

“I explained on that when the iOS app was first announced. People search for “Mastodon” on the platforms’ own app stores (in reality, 82% of our iOS downloads originate from people utilizing the search, and not from any web links to the app). We could not potentially offer our trademark to an app that we had no influence over (what if the app makes bad UX choices or stops being maintained?), nor did we want to take over any app that existing users were already reliant upon and alter it. Additionally, we remain in a special position to have the resources to invest in professional UX style. Working on our own apps has actually provided us insights into discomfort points with the APIs and directly fed into improvements to server-side code that all apps can take advantage of.”

For more, see the full AMA here.

Featured Image: davide bonaldo/SMM Panel