Mastodon Reaches 2.5 Million Users, Creator Holds Reddit AMA

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

Eugen Rochko, Founder of Mastodon, announced the milestone in a post this week, promoting his platform as a “drastically different option:

“While there is no scarcity of social networks platforms new and old, this is a significantly different approach to social networks that uses something traditional social networks can not. This might be one of the reasons Mastodon has just recently blown up in appeal, leaping from approx. 300K monthly active users to 2.5 M in between the months of October and November, with a growing number of journalists, political figures, writers, actors and organizations moving over.”

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

Mastodon’s totally free and open-source software application permits anyone to run a social media platform on their own infrastructure while connecting to an international decentralized social network.

The unexpected appeal of Mastodon, publicly introduced in 2016, has actually resulted in increased concerns and issues from new users.

Rochko recently held an AMA on Reddit to resolve those issues, answering lots of frequently asked concerns.

I sifted through the thread to take out a few of the top highlights, including numerous concerns I have actually been seeing from online marketers.

The Twitter Situation

Concern: “When you first decided to establish Mastodon, did you expect a circumstance like the one that occurred with Twitter occurring?”

Rochko stated he was skeptical of Twitter’s management however never ever anticipated this type of scenario:

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

Mastodon As A Twitter Option

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

Rochko states yes:

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

Algorithms

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

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

“I think that individualized algorithms like Buy TikTok Verification’s or Buy YouTube Subscribers’s recommendations need to be approached with a lot of care because of how they can enhance your biases and send you down conspiracy rabbit holes. I have steered clear of anything machine-learning-related in Mastodon. But I do not have strong feelings about “algorithms” in general, only that the home feed should be reverse-chronological and only consist of material you decided to put there.”

Check out Page

Question: “Are there plans to enable ‘the number of time a toot has been favorited’ to be used as a sort requirements? If not, why was the decision taken to not utilize this?”

Rochko says 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 released (comparable to Reddit and HN).”

Sign-Up Process

Concern: “The sign up process on Android is a little antiquated. How will you repair that to make it more available to less tech savvy users?”

Rochko states Mastodon is redesigning the onboarding process on Android:

“Our most current beta develop on Android includes a revamped onboarding flow. The most significant differences are that the beginning screen now includes a description of what servers are, which the server screen will let you tap Next without making a selection 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 notices?”

Rochko describes that Mastodon does not have conventional DMs, only posts restricted to private users:

“Mastodon does not have traditional DMs, and numerous UX options are inspired by making that more clear. Mastodon has granular visibility settings for posts, which means you can restrict an individual post (even as part of a thread) to just your followers, or simply individuals discussed in the post. These can be used for the exact 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 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 created to be DMs. I started working on that function in 2020 but then it got stalled at the client level. We required our own native apps to do the ground deal with creating 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 finally introduced a main Android app, but there are a lot of 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 just would like to know why you and your group focuses on the iOS and Android apps since there are already other 3rd party apps available that could be backed?”

Rochko says it comes down to trademarks and branding:

“I explained on that when the iOS app was first revealed. People look for “Mastodon” on the platforms’ own app shops (in fact, 82% of our iOS downloads originate from people utilizing the search, and not from any web links to the app). We could not possibly offer our hallmark 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 reliant upon and change it. Additionally, we remain in a special position to have the resources to purchase expert UX style. Dealing with our own apps has provided 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 full AMA here.

Included Image: davide bonaldo/SMM Panel