What is Mastodon and why is it causing an exodus from Twitter?

mastodon logo

Yesterday, Sunday, December 29, the word 'Mastodon' entered the list of trending topics on Twitter. What did it mean and why was it among the most commented of the users of this social network? Everything originates from Twitter and its apparently new policy of massive account blocking . Many users report that their number of followers progressively decreases throughout the days and others that their accounts disappear overnight. They allege an attack on freedom of expression and censorship. This equation is where the mastodon comes into play, a (not so) new social network that returns Twitter to its origins.

How does Mastodon differ from Twitter?

But how does Mastodon work and how is it primarily different from Twitter? At first glance everything looks very similar. We have a microblogging network where we will write our thoughts for other users to read, share and interact with us. We also have our list of trends and favorites. The tweets are called 'toots', in reference to the noise that elephants make with their trunks, in English. And, of course, we can block those undesirables that contaminate our experience. But in reality, Mastodon is very different from Twitter in one very basic thing, its 'decentralization'.

And what does this mean? Well, Mastodon is basically a 'network of networks'. A user can create their own server, which is known as a 'community' or 'instance'. Everything that the user writes in his own network will only be read by the members of that network. On Twitter, all content is controlled from the same server, so it is very easy to 'control' through an algorithm (or through human action) everything that is written, proceeding to eliminate accounts that are considered 'not suitable' for Twitter. Therefore, Mastodon is based on an open source and free software system.

Does this mean that anything goes in Mastodon? It is true that each instance or community has its own rules, created by the owner and lord of said community. But there are global standards common to all the different servers that Mastodon is made of, such as the prohibition of racist, sexist , xenophobic messages, child pornography and excessive advertising.

How to create a Mastodon account

What is Mastodon and why is it causing an exodus from Twitter?  one

If you are interested in creating an account on this social network, it is very simple. Follow the steps that we detail below.

Enter this link. At the bottom, we have the option of looking at a list of servers and entering the one we like the most. In each of the servers that are listed we have a description of it. Just above the list we can configure our language, so that it suggests communities that speak in Spanish, as well as its theme, which can be from 'general', 'regional', 'activism', 'journalism', etc. Unfortunately, at the moment, there are no communities expressly created in Spanish but surely, from Twitter, you will find many Spanish speakers who use Mastodon.

As for the interface of your account, it is very simple as soon as you get used to it. On the right side you have everything that interests you: you can check your notifications, toots of people who are part of your community but you do not follow, and even toots of users from other servers whose posts are totally public.

In short, if you want to feel a little more free and not fear that your account is going to be closed and write what you want, as long as it does not exceed the red lines, you can try to open an account in Mastodon. Who knows, you might even stay.