The purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk at the end of October has released more than just the blue bird, as Tesla’s owner announced in a tweet. Mastodonan alternative social network based in Germany, has reached 489,000 new subscriptions in the last 13 days, taking advantage of the media noise generated since the tycoon’s arrival on Twitter. With a dizzying increase of up to 5,900% in new registrations registered this Monday morning, Mastodon already exceeds 4.5 million accounts.
Eugene Rochko, executive director of this platform since 2016, has taken advantage of the attention to point out that “social networks can be managed differently, with a protocol that is not controlled by a single company”, as is the case with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Rochko, a 29-year-old German, has specified in his personal account that the platform has quadrupled its processing capacity to deal with the unbridled increase in users. Only seven employees cope with sudden success.
At the same time, the firm Bot Sentinel, which specializes in monitoring activity on Twitter, claims that the platform now controlled by Musk suffered the voluntary deactivation or suspension of almost a million and a half users in the first four days under the new control of Tesla’s owner. This adds up to a “mass drop” in advertising revenue from the social network.
The American press highlights the similarities between both services. “With its history and network dynamics, Mastodon probably has the best chance of being able to replicate what led Twitter to build the user base it currently enjoys, and also grow it,” said Darrell Etherington, editor head of TechCrunch.
For users, the parallelism is not surprising. Jorge Ruiz, a Spanish user active in Mastodon since 2021, points out that the “spirit” of both services is similar given the importance of current affairs and last-minute events. For Ruiz, the opportunities for growth are limitless, although he points out that the network “is not as simple or user-friendly” as Twitter.
Musk cannot claim that he does not know his new rival. This Monday, the richest man in the world suggested on the social network that he now controls that if users no longer liked Twitter, they could migrate to “Masterbatedone”, along with a photo of their competition. A few minutes later, the message was removed from his verified profile.
The sudden huge interest in the social network and the chaotic nature of Mastodon seem like a bad starting combination for users looking to steer clear of Twitter. Even a Nobel laureate can suffer the drawbacks of change.
That was the case for Swedish Academy Award Laureate Paul Krugman for his contribution to the economy. The expert shared last Sunday with his followers that he had opened an account on this platform as a precaution against a possible Muskocalypse, a combination of apocalypse and the surname Musk. However, just three hours later, the economist acknowledged that “things were not going well” as his posts were not seen and he received multiple unsolicited notifications.
- Decentralization. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, the network is divided into independent servers that host users, although they are capable of interacting globally. Each of them creates its own rules and regulations, which apply only to its participants. If someone does not agree with certain rules, he can create his own space.
- Open Source. Mastodon is based on free and open source code that all users can participate in. Even the social network sponsored by former US President Donald Trump, Truth Social, is based on the development of this open platform.
- central authority. The programming and the multiplicity of servers differentiates the social network from the traditional models of the big technology companies. The platform, which is defined as “the best of Twitter and Tumblr”, also highlights that the network “can never be closed”
- Users. The tootsthe local equivalent of tweets, have a maximum length of 500 characters, in addition to offering the option of incorporating multimedia content.
- Advertising. The website highlights as a virtue that Mastodon is free of “algorithms and advertising” so as not to waste users’ time. In addition, it highlights that the publications appear in chronological order, one of the biggest changes that Twitter implemented in 2020.
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The social network that takes advantage of the chaos of Twitter and increases its registrations by 5,900%