Mastodon – The Social Network of the Future

Mastodon – The Social Network of the Future

Mastodon is a free, decentralized, and federated social network based on open-source code. It exists as an application for Android, iOS, and of course, as a web service.

How Does the Mastodon Network Work?

Mastodon is a decentralized and federated social network. Decentralized means that its operation is not regulated by a single centralized server, but by a large number of independent servers. These are called instances. Each instance has its own rules, community, and administrators. A federation is a form of decentralization. A federated social network means that instances (servers) communicate with each other. This way, users from different servers can follow each other and communicate with one another. The ActivityPub protocol is used for this purpose. It is a standardized open protocol for implementing federation. Using it, Mastodon websites communicate and synchronize their operations. These don’t even have to be websites; any software that uses ActivityPub can do it. The Fediverse (federated universe) is the name for all websites that can communicate with each other via ActivityPub and the internet.

Mastodon - Join and Server Rules

To clarify the concept, the authors provide an example of three levels of decentralization. The most centralized are networks like Twitter (X), Facebook, Instagram, and similar social networks. Then come less centralized, i.e., federated networks such as email, telephone networks, and VoIP (voice over IP). Mastodon also falls into this category. The least centralized are distributed networks such as BitTorrent, IPFS (InterPlanetary File System), the Scuttlebutt protocol, and peer-to-peer networks for storing and sharing hypermedia data.

A website on Mastodon can exist independently and function like any other website. Users log in, write and publish messages and images, follow other users, and communicate with each other. Posts can be private, public, or only for certain users, just like on other networks. However, Mastodon websites allow users of different websites to communicate with each other. It’s as if you could follow and comment on someone on Twitter from Instagram without leaving your account.

Each site in the Mastodon universe has its principles and rules of conduct. There are only a few principles that everyone agrees on. These are: banning hate speech, making daily backups, that a site must have at least one administrator, and notifying others at least three months in advance before shutting down. Users register on the instance they choose based on their preferences or create a website according to their wishes. Administrators manage the instance and users according to the rules of that instance.

Mastodon is the largest decentralized social network in the world and a non-profit organization. It is primarily funded through donations via Patreon and OpenCollective. There are no ads on the sites. There is no venture capital investment. Mastodon is based on open-source software, which means anyone can review and adapt it. Users transitioning from centralized social networks may be confused by the multitude and diversity of communities. There is also the question of administration and moderation of smaller instances with modest resources. Sometimes incompatibilities between instances can cause communication issues. The Mastodon community is developing but still has a smaller user base than the most well-known centralized social networks.

Mastodon - Explore

Why Should You Switch from Twitter to Mastodon?

On Twitter, all your data is in the hands (ownership) of the company. This company can use your data for making personalized ads, social behavior analysis, and other purposes that you may not be aware of or agree with. With Mastodon, your data is on the server you choose, based on the privacy policies offered by that server. Many centralized networks have experienced system breaches, where users’ data was misused. Mastodon offers two-factor authentication as an additional option. Twitter uses an algorithm that does not arrange feeds chronologically but in an order predicted to attract the most attention. On top of that, there are sponsored posts and ads. On Mastodon, feeds are arranged chronologically. On centralized networks, the rules of conduct are generalized, often just declarative, and frequently not enforced. On Mastodon, each instance has clear rules of conduct. Twitter has proprietary software code, while Mastodon is open-source. Centralized networks look the same to all users, unlike decentralized ones, which exhibit a higher degree of diversity. Mastodon offers a greater variety of options. If you don’t find an instance that suits you, you can create your own. On Twitter, users cannot directly influence the direction of the social network’s development.

From this, it is evident that Mastodon is not just an alternative or another option. It represents a different approach to social networks, centered on privacy, greater user control, decentralization, and collaborative work. If you value these qualities, then Mastodon is the social network for you.

The Download button below is a link for Android. The link for iOS is HERE. You can access the Mastodon web service HERE.

Android, iOS, and as a web service



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