Mastodon Reaches 2.5 Million Users, Founder Holds Reddit AMA


Since Elon Musk acquired Twitter, Mastodon, a decentralized and open-source social media platform, has grown its consumer base from 300K to 2.5M month-to-month lively customers.

Eugen Rochko, Founding father of Mastodon, introduced the milestone in a weblog publish this week, touting his platform as a “radically totally different different:

“Whereas there isn’t a scarcity of social media platforms new and previous, this can be a radically totally different strategy to social media that gives one thing conventional social media can’t. This can be one of many the reason why Mastodon has lately exploded in recognition, leaping from approx. 300K month-to-month lively customers to 2.5M between the months of October and November, with increasingly journalists, political figures, writers, actors and organizations shifting over.”

Twitter’s new possession is inflicting friction with customers, prompting many to hunt another.

Mastodon’s free and open-source software program permits anybody to run a social media platform on their very own infrastructure whereas connecting to a world decentralized social community.

The sudden recognition of Mastodon, publicly launched in 2016, has led to elevated questions and considerations from new customers.

Rochko lately held an AMA on Reddit to handle these considerations, answering dozens of generally requested questions.

I sifted by means of the thread to tug out a number of the prime highlights, together with many questions I’ve been seeing from entrepreneurs.

The Twitter Scenario

Query: “While you first determined to develop Mastodon, did you anticipate a scenario just like the one which got here to cross with Twitter taking place?”

Rochko stated he was skeptical of Twitter’s management however by no means anticipated this type of scenario:

“A few of my unique motivations for exploring federated social media (again then GNU social) and ultimately deciding to do my very own tackle it with Mastodon had been uncertainties with Twitter’s management and future, so in a manner, sure. However I’m not going to faux like I had any thought something would change into of my undertaking then.”

Mastodon As A Twitter Different

Query: “Do you assume mastodon will change into greater than different twitter alternate options like fact social?”

Rochko says sure:

“If it’s not already, which I’m virtually positive it’s and at all times has been, sure.”


Query: “What are your ideas on “algorithms”? Will we see extra of those easy, clear algorithms for publish sorting, for example instead type methodology on /public/native, /public, and /residence?”

Rochko says he doesn’t have robust emotions about algorithms, and commits to sustaining a reverse-chronological feed:

“I believe that personalised algorithms like TikTok’s or YouTube’s suggestions need to be approached with lots of care due to how they’ll reinforce your biases and ship you down conspiracy rabbit holes. I’ve steered away from something machine-learning-related in Mastodon. However I wouldn’t have robust emotions about “algorithms” generally, solely that the house feed needs to be reverse-chronological and solely comprise content material you determined to place there.”

Discover Web page

Query: “Are there plans to permit ‘what number of time a toot has been favorited’ for use as a kind standards? If not, why was the choice taken to not use this?”

Rochko says the Discover web page is designed to do that by default:

“Trending posts on the discover web page are ranked by their reblogs and favourites depend with a decay from the time the publish was revealed (much like Reddit and HN).”

Signal-Up Course of

Query: “The enroll course of on Android is a bit archaic. How will you repair that to make it extra accessible to much less tech savvy customers?”

Rochko says Mastodon is redesigning the onboarding course of on Android:

“Our newest beta construct on Android features a redesigned onboarding circulation. The most important variations are that the beginning display now consists of a proof of what servers are, and that the server display will allow you to faucet Subsequent with out making a range by choosing a random Normal server in your language for you.”

Direct Messages

Query: “I’m curious why it doesn’t have extra primary options, like separation of DMs from notifications?”

Rochko explains that Mastodon doesn’t have conventional DMs, solely posts restricted to particular person customers:

“Mastodon doesn’t have conventional DMs, and varied UX selections are motivated by making that extra clear. Mastodon has granular visibility settings for posts, which suggests you possibly can prohibit a person publish (whilst a part of a thread) to simply your followers, or simply individuals talked about within the publish. These can be utilized for a similar goal as DMs, however particularly regarding the threading mannequin and addressing, they’re not the identical.”

Rochko provides that end-to-end encrypted DMs are on the again burner, however the precedence is bettering the official iOS and Android apps:

“What we’ve got on the backburner are end-to-end encrypted DMs. And by that I imply, from the bottom up designed to be DMs. I began engaged on that characteristic in 2020 however then it acquired stalled on the consumer degree. We would have liked our personal native apps to do the bottom work on designing the client-side protocols, and again then we didn’t have any. In 2021 we lastly launched an official iOS app, and in 2022 we lastly launched an official Android app, however there are such a lot of issues that these apps want earlier than end-to-end encrypted DMs that it’s nonetheless on the backburner.

Third-Occasion Apps

Query: “I simply wish to know why you and your crew focuses on the iOS and Android apps since there are already different third celebration apps out there that might be endorsed?”

Rochko says it comes right down to emblems and branding:

“I went into element on that when the iOS app was first introduced. Individuals search for “Mastodon” on the platforms’ personal app shops (the truth is, 82% of our iOS downloads come from individuals utilizing the search, and never from any internet hyperlinks to the app). We couldn’t probably give our trademark to an app that we had no affect over (what if the app makes dangerous UX selections or stops being maintained?), nor did we wish to take over any app that present customers had been already reliant upon and alter it. Moreover, we’re in a novel place to have the assets to spend money on skilled UX design. Engaged on our personal apps has given us insights into ache factors with the APIs and straight fed into enhancements to server-side code that every one apps can profit from.”

For extra, see the total AMA right here.

Featured Picture: davide bonaldo/Shutterstock


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