What is Mastodon app?

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what-is-mastodon-app | Mastodon logo in a blue background
Credit: Mastodon

If you want to know everything about the Mastodon app, read on!

After Elon Musk's Twitter takeover and the controversial changes he brought to the microblogging platform, many users are leaving the app for an open-source alternative called Mastodon.

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Mastodon saw downloads grow 657% in the 12 days following Musk's ownership of Twitter, according to SensorTower and the user base is now over 4 million strong. Still, many people don't know what exactly Mastodon is.

So in this article, we are going to walk you through the basics of this new app and help you get started.

What is Mastodon app?

Founded in 2016 by German software developer Eugen Rochko, Mastodon is a free, open-source social media platform.

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Similar to Twitter, users can post messages (tweets), images, and videos, and of course, follow each other. But unlike Twitter, Mastodon is decentralized, meaning that there is no one server, company, or person running it.

Like Discord, anyone can create and run their own server of Mastodon with their own set of rules. Meaning, all the instances (servers) are owned, operated, and moderated by the community, not some large corporation that tracks and sells your data to advertisers.

When you sign up for Mastodon, you choose a server, which generates your profile’s address. For example, if you sign up for Mastodon via the Mastodon Social server, then your address will be @[your username]@mastodon.social. You can easily move your profile to a different server at any time without losing any followers.

There are over 4,000 servers (services) in Mastodon, each curated around a specific topic or a specific geographical region and operated by people like you and us. While users within an instance (server) can communicate and follow each other, they can also decide to follow users within other instances.

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Some server operators choose to offer paid accounts, some server operators rely on crowdfunding from their users via Patreon and similar services, and some server operators are just paying out-of-pocket for a personal server for themselves and maybe some friends.

Difference between Twitter and Mastodon

Twitter Mastodon
PlatformCentralizedDecentralized
FeedAlgorithm basedChronological
Character limit280500
AdsYesNo

Mastodon app download

If you are considering giving Mastodon a try, you can download the Mastodon app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. When you open the app for the first time, you will be asked to select a server from the list to create an account.

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You can select a server that matches your interest. Signups are manually reviewed on some servers, so you might need to wait a bit. Once you select your server, you can set up your account by entering your display name and username as well as your email and password.

Once the account is created, you can start finding people to follow, regardless of whether they’re registered via your same server.