Mastodon Reaches 2.5 Million Users, Founder Holds Reddit AMA

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Since Elon Musk got 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, Founder of Mastodon, announced the turning point in a blog post this week, promoting his platform as a “drastically different alternative:

“While there is no lack of social networks platforms new and old, this is a drastically different approach to social networks that offers something traditional social media can not. This may be one of the reasons Mastodon has just recently blown up in popularity, jumping from approx. 300K regular monthly active users to 2.5 M in between the months of October and November, with more and more reporters, political figures, authors, stars and organizations moving over.”

Twitter’s new ownership is causing friction with users, prompting numerous to look for an option.

Mastodon’s complimentary and open-source software application permits anybody to run a social networks platform on their own facilities while linking to a global decentralized social media.

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

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

I sifted through the thread to pull out some of the top highlights, consisting of many questions I’ve been seeing from marketers.

The Twitter Scenario

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

Rochko said he was doubtful of Twitter’s leadership but never ever expected this sort of circumstance:

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

Mastodon As A Twitter Option

Question: “Do you believe mastodon will become bigger than other twitter alternatives like reality social?”

Rochko states yes:

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


Question: “What are your thoughts 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 says he does not have strong sensations about algorithms, and devotes to preserving a reverse-chronological feed:

“I believe that individualized algorithms like Buy TikTok Verification Badge’s or Buy YouTube Subscribers’s recommendations have to be approached with a lot of care because of how they can reinforce your biases and send you down conspiracy rabbit holes. I have stayed away from anything machine-learning-related in Mastodon. But I do not have strong sensations about “algorithms” in general, just that the house feed need to be reverse-chronological and just contain material you chose to put there.”

Explore Page

Question: “Are there prepares to permit ‘the number of time a toot has been favorited’ to be utilized as a sort requirements? If not, why was the choice taken to not use this?”

Rochko says the Explore page is created 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

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

Rochko says Mastodon is redesigning the onboarding procedure on Android:

“Our most current beta construct on Android consists of a revamped onboarding flow. The biggest differences are that the starting screen now consists of an explanation 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 basic functions, like separation of DMs from notifications?”

Rochko discusses that Mastodon doesn’t have traditional DMs, only posts limited to private users:

“Mastodon does not have conventional DMs, and different UX choices are encouraged by making that more clear. Mastodon has granular presence settings for posts, which suggests you can restrict an individual post (even as part of a thread) to just your fans, or simply people discussed in the post. These can be utilized for the very same function as DMs, however particularly in regards to the threading design and attending to, they’re not the same.”

Rochko includes that end-to-end encrypted DMs are on the back burner, but the 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 indicate, from the ground up designed to be DMs. I began working on that function in 2020 but then it got stalled at the customer level. We needed our own native apps to do the ground deal with designing the client-side procedures, and back then we didn’t have any. In 2021 we lastly launched an official iOS app, and in 2022 we lastly introduced a main Android app, but there are numerous things that those apps require previously end-to-end encrypted DMs that it’s still on the backburner.

Third-Party Apps

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

Rochko says it comes down to trademarks and branding:

“I went into detail on that when the iOS app was initially announced. People search for “Mastodon” on the platforms’ own app shops (in reality, 82% of our iOS downloads originate from individuals utilizing the search, and not from any web links to the app). We could not perhaps offer our hallmark to an app that we had no influence over (what if the app makes bad UX choices or stops being kept?), nor did we wish to take over any app that existing users were already dependent upon and alter it. Furthermore, we remain in an unique position to have the resources to buy expert UX design. Dealing with our own apps has actually provided us insights into discomfort points with the APIs and directly fed into enhancements to server-side code that all apps can benefit from.”

For more, see the complete AMA here.

Featured Image: davide bonaldo/SMM Panel