Mastodon – decentralized open source social network benefits from Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter. In addition to the record number of app downloads over the past weekend, the nonprofit company announced a new milestone.
In posts on Twitter, where Mastodon is successfully promoting its app to those considering leaving the service, they note that 230,000 people have joined Mastodon in the last week alone. With these new signups, as well as people returning to their old Mastodon accounts, the network already has 655,000 active users.
According to Mastodon representatives, this is the largest number of users they have seen to date. However, the rapid growth was not without negative consequences for the platform.
One of the most popular servers on the Mastodon network, mastodon.social, experienced lag and downtime this week as it struggled to cope with the influx of new users. This may have turned some people away from using Mastodon because their initial experience was unsatisfactory. Often times, when new users who try a service for the first time are disappointed by bugs and other issues, they don’t come back a second time.
In addition, some users came to Mastodon without a full understanding of how this social network works and found the process confusing or overly technical.
Unlike Twitter or any other traditional social network, with Mastodon users don’t just create an account and start posting, they first have to choose server to join. This causes people to stumble because they don’t know where to find the server list, how to choose the right one, or if their communication is limited to just one server.
It’s a shame, because that’s the key advantage of Mastodon – you join the server that best suits your interests.
Each Mastodon server is managed by an individual or organization and may set its own moderation policy. But users are not limited to communicating with friends on their own server – you can find friends and follow them anywhere on the network. But you can view a temporary feed of your server and a larger, “federated” feed of the people you follow.
It’s worth noting that decentralization is the direction Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey is headed with his new social network protocol Bluesky, which currently has over 30,000 subscribers on its waiting list. The Bluesky mobile app will help people communicate using this technology in the coming days.
The open source community — including those who have worked on Mastodon for years — were disappointed by the Silicon Valley executive’s decision to go his own way with Bluesky, instead of using established protocols like ActivityPub, which powers Mastodon and others.
Soon, it looks like users will have to choose which decentralized social media future they want — or whether Twitter’s capabilities, regardless of its owner, are too tempting to pass up.