What Is Mastodon and Why Is Everyone Going There?

You’ve seen the title pop up once more and once more on Twitter: Mastodon. Often, it’s from individuals making grand claims about Twitter’s future and declaring that they’re leaving the app.

Subsequent to the title is a URL, a barely totally different profile image, and perhaps a screenshot of a platform you’ve by no means seen earlier than. You’ve been racking your mind attempting to determine what Mastodon is, the way it works, and whether or not you ought to be on it, too.

In the event you’re a marketer, perhaps you’ve been questioning if there’s a approach you’ll be able to monetize this pattern. It’s okay, we all know you thought it. We received’t inform anybody.

Let’s dive into Mastodon. We’ll discover why everybody’s concerned about it, and whether or not it could possibly truly substitute Twitter. We’ll additionally assist you determine whether or not there’s any advertising potential on this newly trending different social media platform.

What is Mastodon?

Mastodon is a decentralized social network made up of independent servers organized around specific themes, topics, or interests.

People can join servers, follow each other, engage in conversations, and otherwise do all sorts of things they’d expect to do on a social network like Twitter.

Mastodon has been around since March 2016 but it only really blew up in late 2022, when a certain someone bought a certain social media platform.

Why? Largely as a result of a ton of individuals on Twitter have mentioned they’re leaving the platform for Mastodon.

Whereas the posts you’ve seen about Mastodon on Twitter lately may make it appear to be it’s only a copycat different, Mastodon is definitely utterly totally different from the blue hen app. Let’s see simply how totally different.

How does Mastodon work?

The most important distinction between Mastodon and Twitter will be summed up in a single phrase: decentralization.

Social media platforms like Twitter are centralized, which means they’re owned and operated by a single firm. That firm builds options, moderates content material, tweaks algorithms, and handles all different duties that include operating a social community.

Comparatively, whereas there are individuals at a non-profit firm called Mastodon gGmbH that work on the social platform referred to as Mastodon — follow us right here — the platform itself isn’t centralized inside that firm. That’s as a result of it’s made up of 1000’s of impartial servers.

Consider a Mastodon server as a mini social community or a discussion board. Often, a server is organized round a selected curiosity, subject, or trade. When you’ve joined a server, you’ll be able to observe, reply to, and have interaction with anybody on Mastodon, it doesn’t matter what server they’re on.

However what are you able to do on Mastodon precisely? The brief reply: quite a lot of the identical issues you are able to do on Twitter. You possibly can discuss what’s in your thoughts, contribute to conversations that pop up in your feed, submit footage of your cats, and so on. You get your feed, the place you’ll see posts from the individuals you observe, and an discover tab that permits you to discover new fascinating of us.

You’ll see some variations, in fact. For instance, you’ll be able to’t begin a thread the best way you do on Twitter, however you’ll be able to reply to your self and basically replicate a Twitter thread. You’ll additionally want to choose a server to host your account.

The most important servers are basic, which means they don’t have any particular subject — these will really feel extra just like Twitter. However you’ll additionally discover that tech matters, like Bitcoin and software program growth, have a few of the hottest servers. You should use a platform like mastodonservers.net to seek out the server you wish to be a part of.

And in the event you’re seeking to discover the Mastodon equal of the Twitter accounts you observe, you need to use Debirdify to seek out them mechanically.

How can companies use Mastodon?

In the event you’re seeking to Mastodon because the social community of selection for the initiatives you’ve been operating on Twitter till now, you is likely to be dissatisfied.

As a result of it’s a community of servers, fairly than a single social platform, companies can’t undergo a single particular person or platform to “do advertising” on Mastodon. Moreover, Mastodon’s homepage states that the service will by no means serve adverts or push some profiles above others. Since Mastodon is run by a non-profit, there’s no revenue incentive and no want to work with advertisers.

That mentioned, there are nonetheless methods for companies to make the most of this surge of curiosity in Mastodon.

Market analysis

On this aspect of promoting, Mastodon is likely to be an excellent different to Twitter. That’s as a result of whereas Twitter allows you to search hashtags and matters, you’re nonetheless served an uncategorized mess of Tweets in an order that’s not notably helpful to you — because of the algorithm.

However with Mastodon, every server is actually a self-contained group gathered round a single subject, whether or not that’s locality, a shared curiosity, or perhaps a particular profession.

Discover the proper server, and you may get unfiltered entry to what actually issues in your goal demographic or a brand new market section.

Internet affiliate marketing, sponsorships, and UGC

You may completely run affiliate marketing online, sponsorship, and UGC campaigns by Mastodon. You may attempt reaching out to particular person accounts with a sure variety of followers the identical approach you’d on one other platform; you may simply need to do a bit extra digging earlier than you discover the proper accounts.

Take into account that follower counts are typically a lot decrease on Mastodon than on Twitter, which means your efforts won’t be as efficient. For instance, George Takei has 3.4 million followers on Twitter and solely 235,000 on Mastodon. You may wrestle to seek out influencers of the identical dimension you’re used to working with.


This one will likely be a bit more durable to drag off. The individuals behind Mastodon are staunchly anti-advertisement, which means that there’s no infrastructure for pushing adverts broadly on a number of servers.

That mentioned, every server operates utterly independently, so there’s nothing stopping a server proprietor from placing in their own infrastructure to accept payments, which means technically servers can promote advert area.

However in the event you attempt promoting on Mastodon, you may run into some resistance. Mastodon customers anticipate to see fewer adverts — if any in any respect.

Create your personal group

You won’t have the ability to run adverts, and you won’t discover the following massive influencer, however you already know what you are able to do on Mastodon? Run your personal server.

Certain, it’s a bit extra technically concerned than beginning a YouTube channel or operating a Twitter account, however having your personal Mastodon server comes with one massive benefit. You could have full management over it. Meaning you’ll be able to select to approve each new account, you’ll be able to deal with content material moderation, and you’ll be able to steer the dialog. That may make it a robust advertising software.

Neighborhood outreach

As a result of Mastodon doesn’t have an algorithm pushing sure posts over others, you’ll be able to’t simply submit and hope for the perfect. It’s a must to exit of your strategy to have interaction with the group if you wish to get any traction.

However as a result of Mastodon is organized in servers, you don’t have to search around by the void to seek out your prospects — each present and potential.

Working a SaaS enterprise? Discover servers the place individuals discuss SaaS to reply questions, provide your information, and grow to be a trusted skilled. Work in artwork provides? Go to servers the place artists hang around and be a part of the dialog.

Grow to be an skilled in an underserved subject

At present, Mastodon has over 8,000 servers, however does it have one in your area of interest? Looking up “SaaS” on mastodonservers.internet returns a single server with simply over 20 customers. A seek for “advertising” solely finds one server, too.

You see the chance, proper?

Create your personal server, decide a subject that matches your area of interest, and begin creating content material. You possibly can even repurpose content material out of your weblog, your YouTube channel, or your web site to get began.

The best way to create a Mastodon account

1. Go to joinmastodon.org

Click on Create an account.

social networking that's not for sale

Then, scroll down till you see an inventory of servers.

getting started with mastodon is easy

2. Decide a server

Then, hit Create account (once more).


3. Create an account

On the server web page, click on Create account within the panel on the proper aspect of the display.

create account server

Then, Overview the foundations of the server and hit Settle for.

accept rules

As soon as that’s accomplished, fill out the signup type, test the privateness coverage field, and click on the Signal Up button.

sign up button

4. Affirm your e-mail tackle

You’ll obtain a affirmation e-mail. Observe the hyperlink within the e-mail to activate your account.

confirm email

Congratulations! You’ve simply signed up for Mastodon. You’ll be taken to your property display, inside the server you selected to hitch. From right here, you can begin following individuals — irrespective of which server they’re on — to get posts in your feed, discover standard content material from different servers, and extra.

follow people

Word that you just’re not caught in that server simply because that’s the place you created your account. If you wish to select a distinct server to function your account’s house base, you can migrate your account between servers.

Can Mastodon substitute Twitter?

That relies upon.

Whereas Mastodon has seen an enormous surge of recognition lately — going from 1 million monthly active users to 2.5 million in a couple of month — that doesn’t even put it in the identical ballpark as Twitter.

Twitter has simply crossed 250 million month-to-month lively customers for the primary time, in keeping with this Tweet from CEO Elon Musk:

So regardless of the concerns that havebeen surrounding Elon Musk’s takeover, Twitter doesn’t appear to be in any true hazard. Not less than not but.

For Mastodon to have an opportunity to interchange Twitter, it must both present an identical sufficient expertise to Twitter or one thing that’s considerably higher.

So the true query is can Mastodon do this?

Effectively first, the individuals behind the platform would want to wish to do this, and that doesn’t appear to be the case. They’re not attempting to construct a greater Twitter, they’re constructing one thing that’s almost a sort of anti-Twitter:

“Mastodon is free and open-source. It has no adverts, respects your privateness, and permits individuals/communities to self-govern. It’s because at Mastodon, we current a imaginative and prescient of social media that can not be purchased and owned by any billionaire, and try to create a extra resilient world platform with out revenue incentives.”

The important thing variations between Mastodon and Twitter — revenue vs. non-profit, centralized vs. federated — make it tough to say whether or not Twitter can get changed. Many Twitter customers appear to assume that’s the case proper now, however the platforms are so totally different that it’s uncertain Mastodon will likely be an enduring substitute.

Particularly since most individuals who mentioned they have been leaving Twitter for Mastodon haven’t really left.

That mentioned, it’s doubtless that a number of ex-Twitter customers will discover Mastodon’s decentralized community mannequin preferable to Twitter, and the change will stick. However the common consumer will most likely follow the the platform they know — until a extra direct challenger emerges.

Mastodon FAQ

Nonetheless have burning questions? We’ve the solutions.

What is Mastodon social media?

Mastodon is a social platform that’s exploded in reputation following Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, with many Twitter customers leaping to the platform. Whereas it’s been round for six years, its month-to-month lively customers greater than doubled on the finish of 2022.

Who owns Mastodon social media?

Mastodon was developed by Mastodon gGmbH, a non-profit firm from Germany. However because the social media platform is each open-source and decentralized, there’s no single “proprietor.” As a substitute, particular person Mastodon servers — basically self-contained communities — every have their very own homeowners.

How is Mastodon totally different from Twitter?

As a substitute of being a single, centralized place the place everybody Tweets, replies, and throws shade, Mastodon is a decentralized community of particular person servers. Every server is organized round a selected subject, firm, or curiosity, and a server’s members can work together with members of different servers.

Moreover, as a result of Mastodon is run by a non-profit, is has no promoting infrastructure, no built-in monetization, and no algorithms.

How do you discover individuals on Mastodon?

In the event you’re in search of a selected particular person, you’ll be able to kind of their title or URL (their account’s distinctive identifier) in a search bar proper above your profile image. Simply in search of new accounts to observe? You then’ll wish to hit the #Discover tab to the proper of your property display.

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