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 grown its user base from 300K to 2.5 M month-to-month active users.

Eugen Rochko, Creator of Mastodon, announced the milestone in a blog post this week, promoting his platform as a “drastically various alternative:

“While there is no lack of social media platforms new and old, this is a significantly different approach to social media that provides something conventional social networks can not. This may be among the reasons that Mastodon has just recently exploded in appeal, jumping from approx. 300K monthly active users to 2.5 M between the months of October and November, with increasingly more journalists, political figures, writers, actors and companies moving over.”

Twitter’s new ownership is triggering friction with users, prompting many to look for an alternative.

Mastodon’s complimentary and open-source software application enables anyone to run a social networks platform by themselves facilities while linking to a worldwide decentralized social network.

The unexpected popularity of Mastodon, openly launched in 2016, has resulted in increased concerns and issues from new users.

Rochko recently held an AMA on Reddit to attend to those concerns, answering dozens of typically asked concerns.

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

The Twitter Scenario

Concern: “When you first decided to develop Mastodon, did you expect a situation like the one that happened with Twitter taking place?”

Rochko stated he was doubtful of Twitter’s management however never anticipated this sort of circumstance:

“Some of my initial inspirations for checking out federated social media (at that time GNU social) and eventually choosing to do my own take on it with Mastodon were unpredictabilities with Twitter’s leadership 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 task then.”

Mastodon As A Twitter Option

Concern: “Do you think mastodon will become bigger than other twitter options like truth social?”

Rochko states yes:

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


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/ house?”

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

“I believe that tailored algorithms like Buy TikTok Verification Badge’s or Buy YouTube Subscribers’s recommendations need to be approached with a lot of care due to the fact that of how they can strengthen your biases and send you down conspiracy rabbit holes. I have stayed away from anything machine-learning-related in Mastodon. However I do not have strong feelings about “algorithms” in general, just that the home feed must be reverse-chronological and just include content you decided to put there.”

Explore Page

Question: “Exist plans to allow ‘how many time a toot has been favorited’ to be used as a sort criteria? If not, why was the choice required to not use this?”

Rochko states 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 procedure on Android is a little antiquated. How will you repair that to make it more accessible to less tech savvy users?”

Rochko says Mastodon is redesigning the onboarding procedure on Android:

“Our newest beta develop on Android includes a revamped onboarding flow. The greatest differences are that the beginning screen now consists of an explanation 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’m curious why it does not have more basic functions, like separation of DMs from alerts?”

Rochko explains that Mastodon does not have conventional DMs, only posts limited to private users:

“Mastodon does not have standard DMs, and numerous UX options are motivated by making that more clear. Mastodon has granular visibility settings for posts, which suggests you can limit an individual post (even as part of a thread) to just your followers, or just people pointed out in the post. These can be utilized for the same purpose as DMs, but specifically in regards to the threading model and addressing, they’re not the same.”

Rochko includes that end-to-end encrypted DMs are on the back burner, but the concern 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 created to be DMs. I began working on 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 procedures, and back then we didn’t have any. In 2021 we lastly released an official iOS app, and in 2022 we lastly released an official Android app, however there are so many things that those apps require before end-to-end encrypted DMs that it’s still on the backburner.

Third-Party Apps

Concern: “I simply need to know why you and your team focuses on the iOS and Android apps since there are already other 3rd party apps offered that could be endorsed?”

Rochko states it boils down to hallmarks and branding:

“I explained on that when the iOS app was initially revealed. People try to find “Mastodon” on the platforms’ own app shops (in reality, 82% of our iOS downloads originate from people using the search, and not from any web links to the app). We could not possibly give our trademark to an app that we had no impact 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 reliant upon and alter it. Moreover, we’re in a special position to have the resources to buy professional UX style. Dealing with our own apps has actually provided us insights into discomfort points with the APIs and straight 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