It could be an extinct beast like an elephant. A rock band. However, in the weeks following Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, it is known for being a Twitter-like social network.
Twitter follows in the line of social media companies run by billionaires. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is the plaything of Mark Zuckerberg. It has billions of users. By comparison, Twitter is the small network with just 300 million. Elon Musk paid $44 billion for Twitter. What has followed has been chaos. Highly individual CEOs often leads to eccentric decision making. Some would say decisive decision making.
Some users have Twitter have decided that looking for an alternative social experience is now required. One option is the social network called Mastodon. If you sign up, you get a similar experience to Twitter. Without the advertisements. Signing up may be the first complexity.
With most traditional social accounts, you are signing up to a single entity. Mastodon is the name of the software. Anyone can run the software on a server. This is like email. Anyone can setup an email server. You can set up an email server at your home. Most people don't and use a provider like Google, Microsoft, or Apple. Mastodon is the same. Your first step is to choose your Mastadon server.
This is non-conventional behaviour. Most users expect to sign up to a thing that is centralised, commercial and they give up personal information for access. Mastodon is the exact opposite.
Once you join a server you need to obey its rules. Each server can see other servers. If you know who you want to follow you can search for people. Some servers are blocked. There really are servers for Nazis. However, no one else connects to them.
The experience is like Twitter. You can post random thoughts and read them. Whether it will take over from Twitter, no one knows. Right now, Twitter is up to its neck in debt and chaos. It might be the Twitter platform may never be a commercial asset and will rely on the generosity of billionaires until it becomes bankrupt.
I am sure there will be others inspired to create the next social network and Mastodon won't be the last.
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