In today’s episode, we’re going to take a look at Mastodon, which is an open source, decentralized social media platform that allows you to connect with people from all over the world.
Mastodon users can join servers, follow each other, engage in conversations, do all the things they’d expect to be able to do on a Twitter-like social media app.
As to whether Mastodon is another Twitter or the next Twitter, I’m gonna have to say no right off the bat.
But this has mostly to do with Mastodon’s age than anything else.
Consider that while Mastodon has been around since March 2016, it only really blew up in late 2022, when a certain someone bought a certain social media platform and put it on a, shall we say, interesting new course.
At first glance, Mastodon looks like an early version of Twitter, or for those of you who remember, like Windows 95.
Back before usability was a thing.
Anyway, Mastodon is organized into different servers or instances.
Each instance can have its own rules and community guidelines.
You can join an instance that fits your interests and connects with people who share your passions.
This gives the individual communities more control over the content and more freedom of expression.
Like any other social media platform, Mastodon has a variety of features that make it fairly simple for you to customize your experience.
You can create custom profiles, add tags to your post, and even use bots to automate tasks.
The beauty of the decentralized Mastodon system is you can join any instance with people sharing your passions.
The one negative though is the same thing.
Each instance has its own URL and login.
In terms of usability, allowing people to just zone out and passively ride the wave, the whole thing of instances and URLs and logins is not ideal.
And unfortunately, you can’t go to one place and then bounce to other instances a la Reddit.
ITWC does have its own Mastodon instance, technews.
social, where you’ll find news from our publications and be able to converse with members of our community.
To get to it, simply go to a browser and go to technews.
social and sign up.
Once you’re on the page, you’ll notice it looks just like Twitter, just an older version.
Click on create account, go through the ground rules, and fill in the blanks.
Once you’ve filled in the form, you’ll be on a wait list.
Usually within 15 to 30 minutes, you’ll be accepted and you’ll receive an email telling you how to get on.
Once you sign in, you’ll notice that you can edit your profile.
Over here, you can fill in whatever you want about you, check through the preferences, the filters, create labels, all kinds of stuff that you can do with Twitter.
And then to actually see what’s happening, if you check under Local, these are all the posts of people who I follow as well as posts that are happening in our platform.
Now for the big question, what value Mastodon can bring when people already have Twitter.
The answer to this once again comes down to age and maturity.
It’s still early days for Mastodon and they have some kinks to iron out, particularly around how it feels to use.
You don’t use Mastodon for an hour and come away saying, “I totally zoned out.
That was fun, I learned something.
” At least I didn’t.
When it comes to social media, this is absolutely not what you want.
You want something that you can use without thinking, whether you’re sitting in your car waiting to pick someone up, standing in line at the supermarket, nursing a coffee at the airport as you wait to board a flight.
Mastodon is not that app, at least not yet anyway.
Will it be.
Only time will tell.
As the now controversial Twitter continues to shed users, Mastodon may indeed reap a rich harvest and grow by leaps and bounds.
But again, this will come down to usability, how the app feels to Joe and Judy public.
Right now, the best you can say about Mastodon is that it’s early days, that it has good, strong Twitter-like bones, and that it has a truckload of promise.
but I don’t think most people will go for instances and URLs.
They’re not coming to Mastodon to learn.
They’re coming to enjoy the community and consume content without having to think too much, the way you do with the centralized platform like Twitter.
But given the whirlwind swirling around Twitter these days, it’s definitely worth people’s while to, if not install and begin using Mastodon, to at least follow its progress and adoption.
Who knows, it may within a year or two succeed becoming the next new and improved Twitter.
Thank you for joining me for this episode of All Hands on Tech.
If you enjoyed it, please like and subscribe and share it with your friends.
See you next time.
The post All Hands on Tech – Mastodon Review: The decentralized online communities platform first appeared on IT World Canada.