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Mastodon, the social network that seeks to overthrow Elon Musk’s reign on Twitter

Por: Gabriela Castillo14 de noviembre de 2022

Thousands of people are fleeing to Mastodon, a network that could be the alternative for those who are not willing to tolerate Musk as the new owner of Twitter.

Elon Musk finally formalized his purchase of Twitter and wasted no time before he began the chaos and destruction he had promised so much. He fired several company executives, including Parag Agrawal, and dissolved the board of directors to be the only one. He also ordered mass layoffs that sowed panic among Twitter employees, who started working over eight hours a day and even slept in the offices for fear of being fired. As for Twitter and its users, Musk announced that the blue checkmark would become a paid feature, at about eight dollars a month (which sparked havoc and has now been called back), among other nightmarish measures.

Given the situation on Twitter, many people who used to be active on the platform and accumulated thousands of followers have already announced their decision to leave this social network for good. Of course, leaving Twitter in 2022 is not the same as leaving 10 years earlier when it was one of the most used social networks in the world, but you get the idea. And the thing is, there really wasn’t another microblogging platform as famous... until the world found out about Mastodon.

What is Mastodon?

Mastodon is an open-source and decentralized social network that exists since 2016. It was created by German Eugene Rochko and is very similar to Twitter: it has a character limit (500) and there you don’t write tweets but “toots.” It is part of alternative platforms to others such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube known as “Fediverse.”

Until the middle of the last decade, Twitter’s timeline showed tweets in chronological order: you could see all the tweets of all your followers, no matter how popular the tweet or account was. But everything changed when Fire Nation struck: in 2016, Twitter started displaying tweets in a similar way to Facebook, and that annoyed a lot of people who had no choice, at least not in there. Thus Mastodon was born, a social network that looks more like the “primitive” Twitter that many knew and loved.

One day after Elon Musk purchased Twitter, Mastodon gained about 70 thousand new users. So far, there are more than 200 thousand and it currently reaches a total of almost 650 thousand users.

All is well and good, but we don’t know how long Mastodon’s boom will last or how long it will take for the big accounts to come back to Twitter, with all and Elon Musk. Here we would like to think that it is possible to have more decentralized and democratic social networks that everyone can access, but only time will tell. For now, if you want to make an account on Mastodon, you can start here.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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