It’s true what they say: you never really know what you had until it’s gone. As someone who used Twitter as their primary source of up-to-the-minute news delivered directly by the journalists breaking it, it’s been tough watching one after another ditch the platform—whether by choice or by late-night edict. So what’s a news junkie to do? Apparently, it involves servers, instances, and an ice-age mammal.
What is Mastodon?
At first blush, Mastodon appears to be yet another Twitter clone. But the free, open-source platform has been thrust into the spotlight in recent months, with peak volumes of over 100,000 new Mastodon accounts created weekly. Though it’s still small compared to Twitter, Mastodon boasts two million active monthly users. If this growth continues, it may be the right time for brands to jump onto the bandwagon.
How Does Mastodon Work?
Mastodon operates by having thousands of different servers for users to join at the outset. But unlike, say, a subreddit, you aren’t limited to interacting with just the people on your chosen server. You can see and follow any of the over six million users, no matter which server you choose. If you’re familiar with Twitter (why else would you be here?), you’ll feel right at home.
Mastodon’s developers created it to be part of a concept they call the Fediverse (federated universe), a network of connected, open-source apps that can share things like user profiles and content. From multimedia to networking to event planning, the Fediverse cuts against the current social media landscape that keeps users’ diverse interests and needs confined to individual, disconnected sites. This means users of Mastodon and other apps on the Fediverse have the opportunity to be their most authentic, well-rounded selves.
Should Your Brand Join Mastodon?
For brands that rely on Twitter to pitch journalists PR-focused articles and ideas, Mastodon seems to be the best platform to connect with these newsmakers. Twitter transplants from the news media have started their own ‘Journa.host’ Mastodon server that verifies each user based on proof that they are, in fact, journalists.
But for any brand, the explosive growth the site has shown in recent months is reason enough to at least test the waters and “get in at the ground level,” as they like to say. If you need help creating a Mastodon channel for your brand or monitoring and community management on any of the established or emerging social platforms, let’s talk.