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Is Mastodon Bringing Twitter Down? Is the Fediverse the Future of Social Media?

Searches for ‘Mastodon’ social have risen 4,404% in the UK in November and December as Elon Musk’s Twitter overhaul divides users, prompting users to switch to alternative platforms.


What is Mastodon?

Mastodon is a micro-blogging platform, similar to Twitter in some respects – and vastly different in others. It was founded in 2016 by now-29-year-old German programmer, Eugen Rochko.

On Twitter, users post short comments or messages. Mastodon has a 500-character limit as opposed to the 280 characters possible on Twitter. These messages can be accompanied by links, pictures and videos. Users can follow people that they are interested in, and in some cases, send private messages (although this is reported to be unencrypted and accessible to the admins of the server the recipient is on; do not trust a DM to always be private).

The big difference is that Twitter is owned and controlled by an erratic billionaire. Mastodon has no owner. It’s a distributed group of independent servers sharing open-source code. That shared code links them together in a federated model that many refer to as the “Fediverse.” The central body, if there is one, is a not-for-profit called Mastodon, but as Rochko has pointed out, even if someone were to buy or take control of that not-for-profit, it would not be able to control the federation of communities nor the software which is irrevocably open sourced.

There have been over 920,000 searches for Mastodon worldwide this month so far, with 51,000 searches from the UK and 405,000 from the U.S.

The popularity of Mastodon increased when Stephen Fry made public that h was moving to Mastodon and since then other well-known celebrities have done the same.

Since Elon Musk became Twitter’s CEO, There have been over 920,000 searches for Mastodon worldwide this month so far, with 51,000 searches from the UK and 405,000 from the U.S.

This is an increase of over 45 the average search interest when compared to national average levels in the UK over the last five years. There are similar increases seen worldwide and in the U.S., with search interest levels rising over 21 and 14 times above average levels, respectively.

The peak of the trend coincides firstly with when Elon Musk began cracking down on parody accounts, such as banning comedian Kathy Griffin and then mentioning Mastodon in a now-deleted tweet, driving users to the Twitter-alternative platform.

Searches for ‘Delete Twitter’ have also surged by 201% in the U.S. and 102% worldwide in the last month.

There have been 129,000 searches for ‘Delete Twitter’ worldwide in the past month, with 33,000 searches from the U.S. and 8,400 from the UK.

This could mean that Elon Musk’s Twitter overhaul and his tweets have caused almost one million users to seek alternative platforms.

Is Twitter losing followers?

Twitter’s daily user growth hit “all-time highs” during the first full week of Elon Musk owning the platform, according to a company document obtained by The Verge.

Since Musk’s dramatic takeover, Twitter’s monetizable daily user (mDAU) growth has accelerated to more than 20 percent, while “Twitter’s largest market, the US, is growing even more quickly,” according to an internal FAQ obtained by The Verge.

Is Twitter going down since Elon Musk acquisition?

Well, here are some statistics that say the contrary.

  1. The majority of Twitter’s audience (38.5%) belongs to the 25 to 34 age group.
  2. Twitter’s brand value growth rate in 2022 was 85%. Facebook growth was an average of 1.6% per quarter.
  3. Twitter has a 56.4% male audience and 43.6% female audience.
However, while Mastodon is more welcoming to new users, there are still three features it quickly needs to do in order to be the successor to Twitter, before another platform like Hive overtakes it.

So, what are the problems with Mastodon?

Apart from the initial teething troubles and moving away from the ‘blue bird’, there are other problems with using Mastodon.

The single most glaring issue with Mastodon is that you are left at the whim of the person or organisation running your server. A Mastodon server admin has ultimate control over everything you do — if they decide to abandon it, you lose your account.

A server admin could also snoop on private toots if they wanted to – or delete an account for any reason.

On the issue, Rochko has said that new users should look at who runs the server before they join it. He was quoted as telling The Guardian, “Is it an organisation that has a track record, is trustworthy, is likely to be around for a long time, but also has a moderation policy?”

He explains further, “The ‘good ones’ have rules against hate speech, and provide basic necessities like backups, so if one of the admins gets hit by a bus, the server does not disappear.”

He added that Mastodon includes a list of vetted servers on its homepage that meet these criteria.

Maybe give Mastodon a try and share with us your experience on our Twitter Account.

Recommended reading:


Mili Ponce

Former Computer Engineer, Tech, EdTech and eCommerce Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker on Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Social Media Strategist, eCommerce Business Mentor, Trainer, Writer, Blogger, Mother, Daughter, Dreamer.

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Is Mastodon Bringing Twitter Down? Is the Fediverse the Future of Social Media? Reviewed by Mili Ponce on Tuesday, January 03, 2023 Rating: 5
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