The news of Elon Musk buying Twitter has put Mastodon into the public spotlight as an alternative social network, rapidly exploding our growth with over 30,000 new users in just a single day. This is because at Mastodon, we present a vision of social media that cannot be bought and owned by any billionaire, and strive to create a more resilient global platform without profit incentives. We believe that your ability to communicate online should not be at the whims of a single commercial company.
Mastodon is used to publish 500-character messages with pictures, polls, videos and so on to an audience of followers, and, in turn, to follow interesting people and receive their posts in a chronological home feed. Unlike Twitter, there is no central Mastodon website – you sign up to a provider that will host your account, similarly to signing up for Outlook or Gmail, and then you can follow and interact with people using different providers. Anyone can become such a provider as Mastodon is free and open-source. It has no ads, respects your privacy, and allows people/communities to self-govern.
Funnily enough one of the reasons I started looking into the decentralized social media space in 2016, which ultimately led me to go on to create Mastodon, were rumours that Twitter, the platform I’d been a daily user of for years at that point, might get sold to another controversial billionaire. Among, of course, other reasons such as all the terrible product decisions Twitter had been making at that time. And now, it has finally come to pass, and for the same reasons masses of people are coming to Mastodon.
We’ve been steadily working towards the ultimate goal of providing a viable alternative to Twitter since 2016, and have proven the scalability and resilience of the platform through organic growth over the years. However, without doubt the sudden and explosive success is putting strain on our resources, specifically the public Mastodon servers that we, the non-profit, maintain ourselves: mastodon.social and mastodon.online. While there are over 2,400 Mastodon servers out there operated by independent individuals and organizations, we provide these two servers as a fallback option for those who don’t know which other server to sign-up on.
We have been working non-stop to maintain quality of service on mastodon.social and mastodon.online, but you may have noticed issues such as confirmation e-mails not arriving or home feeds being delayed. We apologize for the inconvenience and continue to work on addressing these issues.
We recommend using joinmastodon.org or our official iOS and Android apps to choose a Mastodon server to sign-up on, and to tell others to do the same when talking about Mastodon insteading of promoting our own servers directly. All Mastodon servers interoperate, allowing you to follow and be followed by other users from other servers seamlessly. And if you don’t like your choice afterwards, you can create another account and move all your followers to it. Distributing users across different servers is what makes Mastodon more scalable, socially and technologically.
In the future, we plan to add end-to-end encrypted messaging and an exciting groups functionality to our software, together with further updates to our well-received official apps.
Mastodon is a German non-profit organization and we create free, open-source software. You can support us through our Patreon, our custom sponsorship portal, or by contributing to the code directly. If you have any questions reach out to email@example.com.