April 5, 2017 5:58:27 pm
Hate Twitter? Think that 140 characters are over-rated? Well apparently there’s an alternative to Twitter that is fast gaining followers. The name: Mastodon, which is an open-source and distributed network where users can make public posts of 500 characters.
Mastodon was launched by Eugen Rochko six months back, but has gained popularity in the last 48 hours or growing by 73 per cent with over 41,000 users. Motherboard’s wrote an article around around it and according to a report on The Verge, Rochko has had to “shut down new signs” until quality service can be ensured.
In fact if you try and sign up for the service on the Mastodon.social, you’ll be greeted with this instance: “Due to exceptionally high traffic, registrations on this instance are closed until quality of service can be assured for existing users. Choose one of the various other public instances to sign up!” If you click on any one of those public instances, you should find a sign-up page where you’ll be able to create an account.
In terms of design and features, Mastodon might remind you of Tweetdeck, but with a slightly darker blue theme. On Mastodon you don’t tweet, you toot, and you can keep tooting up to 500 characters.
Other features of Mastodon include: chronological timelines (something that Twitter has killed), public timelines, GIF video sets and short videos, the ability to set privacy settings according to a post. Of course, the network has no ads or no tracking. It also comes rich blocking and muting tools, which should appeal to most folks who want to escape the toxic conversations of Twitter.
The idea with Mastodon is to have a “free, open-source social network.” The idea is a “decentralized alternative,” where others can also host and set up a server for Mastodon to use. Mastodon’s entire source code is available on Github page as well.
On Mastodon, there are four main tabs. The first tab is where your can see the ‘Toot’ option, you also have a search bar there, and you can search for people or ‘toots’ based around hashtags etc. There’s is Home Slab, which shows your posts, replies etc. Notifications tabs which has well notifications, and finally the Timeline Tab, where you can see either the local timeline or the Federated Timeline which shows all the posts from users across Mastodon.
Mastodon looks like a cool idea for now, though the UI is confusing at times. Yes, people have already created accounts with the name TwitterUser, which is not at all surprising. But the idea of an ad free, non-corporate, all good and no evil social network has been explored for sometime. We had Ello trying to take on Facebook, and going viral in 2014, but that run didn’t last long. Twitter might be in trouble, but the idea that Mastodon will be able to outlast it, is highly unlikely for now.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines