Mastodon Reaches 2.5 Million Users, Founder Holds Reddit AMA

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

Eugen Rochko, Founder of Mastodon, revealed the turning point in an article today, promoting his platform as a “significantly different alternative:

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

Twitter’s new ownership is causing friction with users, triggering numerous to seek an alternative.

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

The abrupt popularity of Mastodon, openly introduced in 2016, has actually led to increased concerns and concerns from new users.

Rochko just recently held an AMA on Reddit to attend to those concerns, answering lots of frequently asked questions.

I sorted through the thread to take out a few of the top highlights, consisting of lots of questions I have actually been seeing from marketers.

The Twitter Circumstance

Question: “When you first decided to develop Mastodon, did you prepare for a circumstance like the one that occurred with Twitter occurring?”

Rochko stated he was hesitant of Twitter’s management however never expected this kind of situation:

“Some of my original motivations for checking out federated social networks (at that time GNU social) and eventually deciding to do my own take on it with Mastodon were unpredictabilities with Twitter’s management and future, so in a way, yes. But I am not going to pretend like I had any idea anything would end up being of my project then.”

Mastodon As A Twitter Option

Question: “Do you think mastodon will end up being larger than other twitter options like truth social?”

Rochko states yes:

“If it’s not currently, which I’m nearly sure it is and constantly has been, yes.”


Concern: “What are your ideas on “algorithms”? Will we see more of these simple, transparent algorithms for post sorting, for example as an alternative sort approach on/ public/local,/ public, and/ house?”

Rochko says he does not have strong sensations about algorithms, and devotes to maintaining a reverse-chronological feed:

“I believe that personalized 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 reinforce your biases and send you down conspiracy rabbit holes. I have steered clear of anything machine-learning-related in Mastodon. However I do not have strong feelings about “algorithms” in basic, only that the house feed need to be reverse-chronological and only consist of material you decided to put there.”

Explore Page

Question: “Exist prepares to permit ‘the number of time a toot has been favorited’ to be used as a sort criteria? If not, why was the choice taken to not utilize this?”

Rochko says the Explore page is designed 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 published (similar to Reddit and HN).”

Sign-Up Process

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

Rochko says Mastodon is revamping the onboarding procedure on Android:

“Our most current beta develop on Android includes a revamped onboarding flow. The biggest distinctions are that the starting screen now consists of an explanation of what servers are, and that the server screen will let you tap Next without making a selection by selecting a random General server in your language for you.”

Direct Messages

Concern: “I’m curious why it doesn’t have more standard functions, like separation of DMs from notifications?”

Rochko discusses that Mastodon doesn’t have conventional DMs, just posts restricted to specific users:

“Mastodon does not have standard DMs, and various UX options are encouraged by making that more clear. Mastodon has granular presence settings for posts, which indicates you can restrict a specific post (even as part of a thread) to just your followers, or just people mentioned in the post. These can be used for the same purpose as DMs, however specifically in regards to the threading design and dealing with, they’re not the same.”

Rochko adds that end-to-end encrypted DMs are on the back burner, however the top 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 imply, from the ground up designed to be DMs. I began dealing with that function in 2020 however then it got stalled at the client level. We needed our own native apps to do the ground deal with designing the client-side protocols, and back then we didn’t have any. In 2021 we finally released a main iOS app, and in 2022 we lastly introduced a main 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

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

Rochko states it boils down to hallmarks and branding:

“I went into detail on that when the iOS app was first announced. People try to find “Mastodon” on the platforms’ own app stores (in fact, 82% of our iOS downloads originate from individuals using 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 impact over (what if the app makes bad UX choices or stops being preserved?), nor did we want to take over any app that existing users were already dependent upon and alter it. Additionally, we’re in an unique position to have the resources to invest in professional UX design. Working on our own apps has provided us insights into discomfort points with the APIs and directly fed into enhancements to server-side code that all apps can gain from.”

For more, see the full AMA here.

Featured Image: davide bonaldo/SMM Panel