Mastodon Reaches 2.5 Million Users, Founder Holds Reddit AMA

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

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

“While there is no scarcity of social media platforms new and old, this is a significantly different method to social networks that uses something traditional social networks can not. This might be one of the reasons that Mastodon has actually just recently blown up in popularity, jumping from approx. 300K regular monthly active users to 2.5 M between the months of October and November, with more and more reporters, political figures, writers, actors and companies moving over.”

Twitter’s brand-new ownership is triggering friction with users, triggering numerous to seek an option.

Mastodon’s totally free and open-source software permits anyone to run a social networks platform on their own facilities while linking to a worldwide decentralized social network.

The unexpected appeal of Mastodon, openly released in 2016, has actually resulted in increased concerns and issues from brand-new users.

Rochko recently held an AMA on Reddit to deal with those issues, addressing dozens of commonly asked concerns.

I sorted through the thread to pull out a few of the top highlights, including lots of concerns I have actually been seeing from online marketers.

The Twitter Circumstance

Question: “When you first decided to develop Mastodon, did you prepare for a situation like the one that came to pass with Twitter happening?”

Rochko said he was hesitant of Twitter’s leadership however never expected this sort of scenario:

“Some of my original inspirations for exploring federated social networks (at that time GNU social) and eventually deciding 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 end up being of my job then.”

Mastodon As A Twitter Option

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

Rochko states yes:

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

Algorithms

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

Rochko says he doesn’t have strong feelings about algorithms, and commits to maintaining a reverse-chronological feed:

“I think that individualized algorithms like Buy TikTok Verification Badge’s or Buy YouTube Subscribers’s suggestions have to be approached with a great deal of care because of how they can strengthen your predispositions and send you down conspiracy bunny holes. I have avoided anything machine-learning-related in Mastodon. But I do not have strong sensations about “algorithms” in general, just that the home feed ought to be reverse-chronological and just contain content you chose to put there.”

Explore Page

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

Rochko states the Explore page is designed to do this by default:

“Trending posts on the check out page are ranked by their reblogs and favourites count with a decay from the time the post was released (similar to Reddit and HN).”

Sign-Up Process

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

Rochko states Mastodon is revamping the onboarding procedure on Android:

“Our most current beta construct on Android includes a revamped onboarding circulation. The most significant differences are that the starting screen now consists of a description of what servers are, and that 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 doesn’t have more basic features, like separation of DMs from alerts?”

Rochko explains that Mastodon does not have conventional DMs, just posts restricted to private users:

“Mastodon does not have traditional DMs, and various UX choices are motivated by making that more clear. Mastodon has granular exposure settings for posts, which indicates you can limit an individual post (even as part of a thread) to just your followers, or just individuals discussed in the post. These can be used for the very same purpose as DMs, however specifically in concerns to the threading design and resolving, they’re not the exact same.”

Rochko adds that end-to-end encrypted DMs are on the back burner, but the priority is improving the official 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 designed to be DMs. I started working on that feature in 2020 but then it got stalled at the customer level. We required our own native apps to do the ground work on designing the client-side protocols, and at that time we didn’t have any. In 2021 we finally launched a main iOS app, and in 2022 we finally introduced an official Android app, however there are many things that those apps need before end-to-end encrypted DMs that it’s still on the backburner.

Third-Party Apps

Question: “I simply wish to know why you and your team concentrates on the iOS and Android apps considering that there are already other 3rd party apps readily available that could be backed?”

Rochko says it boils down to trademarks and branding:

“I went into detail on that when the iOS app was initially revealed. People search for “Mastodon” on the platforms’ own app shops (in truth, 82% of our iOS downloads come from people utilizing the search, and not from any web links to the app). We could not possibly give our hallmark to an app that we had no influence over (what if the app makes bad UX choices or stops being maintained?), nor did we wish to take control of any app that existing users were currently dependent upon and change it. Furthermore, we remain in a special position to have the resources to invest in expert UX design. Working on our own apps has actually given us insights into discomfort points with the APIs and straight 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