Mastodon is a relatively new social media service that is quite similar to Twitter but is it worth making the switch? One thing that’s clear is that the familiar feel of Twitter might not remain the same much longer, given its recent purchase by billionaire Elon Musk, who is a known change-maker. Musk’s company, Tesla, pushes the edges of regulations by placing cars on the road that are driven by the beta version of autonomous software. It’s difficult to predict how Twitter may change in upcoming years once the acquisition is completed.

Twitter has been around for 16 years, launching in 2006 soon after Facebook. It is known as a microblogging site since it limits the length of each post to 280 characters, double the original 140-character limit in the early days. This limitation seemed to ease a barrier to writing for many people, and within a short period, Twitter quickly rose from obscurity to compete with the top social networks of the time, drawing the attention of major advertisers. Mastodon is relatively new compared to Twitter, and the number of users is much lower, generating less content and probably being updated less frequently as a result. However, that is beginning to change with the recent Twitter news inspiring some disillusioned users to explore whether Mastodon is a worthy replacement.

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Honestly, whether it’s time to switch from Twitter to the still-developing social media site Mastodon will depend greatly on what particular content is of interest and, in some cases, whether certain people are posting there. Big influencers can turn the tide of a social media network. However, some users are more concerned about content beyond just celebrity statements. Content aside, there are some apparent technical differences that might be equally important. Notably, Mastodon is largely free of advertising, while ads are well established and will continue to be part of Twitter for the foreseeable future. In addition, Mastodon is decentralized, with each server owner setting their own rules about acceptable content, making it easy for the user to switch to a different server if the current limitation doesn’t match their own ideals. This makes it, at the very least, an interesting alternative. Instead of switching, it’s probably best to use both networks at once to get a feel for the community and content before making that personal decision about whether there is enough there to justify a complete switch.

Mastodon Vs. Twitter Apps

Twitter Mastodon Apps Side By Side On iPhone

Both Mastodon and Twitter are cross-platform, supporting the iPhone and Android phones with apps and desktop and laptop computers with web apps that run in any browser. The layout is similar to a Home tab that shows followed accounts, a Search tab that features trending posts, hashtags, and news, and a Notifications tab for alerts about replies, favorites, follows, and other events of interest. The user profile contains the user’s own posts, replies, media, and a customizable About section, along with a cover image and name. Anyone that has used Twitter will feel right at home when using the app. Mastodon posts can contain photos, videos, and text, just like Twitter, but allows up to 500 characters.

Mastodon can be pretty charming and funny, depending on which accounts are followed. In small groups, people tend to be quicker to let their guard down, which is refreshing. It might be fair to say that Mastodon is more like visiting a small town than venturing into the big city. For example, there are some terminology differences. You post a ‘Toot’ instead of a ‘Tweet,’ and there is ongoing talk about the value of a decentralized system and the ‘Fediverse’ that connects various related services such as PeerTube, a federated video platform. Even if the idea of a switch away from Twitter isn’t appealing, Mastodon is worth trying out, and it’s easy to keep the app on a phone and pop in from time to time to see what’s new and exciting in the unique approach to social media.