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'Till Death do Us Tweet

MASTODON – All You need to Know

What is it?

A decentralized microblogging site named after an extinct type of mammoth was founded by German programmer Eugen Rochko in 2016. It currently has 4.5 m user accounts. It is a crowdfunded nonprofit site. It is still in its infancy compared to Twitter with 238m active users and 1.98b on Facebook but new registrations to Mastodon are growing with 3568 in one hour.

Why Is it Different?

· It is not one cohesive platform but a collection of different independently run and self-funded servers. Volunteer administrators run the servers and join their systems together in a federation

· *There are NO adverts

· *You post ‘twoots’ and not ‘tweets’

· *Twitter limits characters in posts to each post to 280 characters whereas on Mastodon, you can have 500

· *You can EDIT your posts!

What are the Features of Mastodon?

· *You can add links, images and videos as well as audio files

· *Polls and spoiler warnings

· *You can EDIT your Mastodon posts. People who reshare your post get a notification that it’s been edited

· *Hashtags can be used to identify relevant and trending topics

· *You can repost someone else’s toot by ‘boosting it’

· *You have more control over who can see your publications – You decide whether you want them to be fully public or only for users you mention in your post

What are the Negatives to Mastodon?

· *The interface is not as user-friendly as Twitter

· *The lingo can be rather strange and Star Trekish – the servers are called ‘instances’ and Mastodon is described as part of the Fediverse

· *Direct messages are just @username posts not private messages coming in to a DM box

· * It can be difficult for others to find you

· *Your full Mastodon handle will be in the following format once you have joined a server – yourname@servername. Bear this in mind as changing handles is not a simple process

How Can I Find Accounts I Followed on Twitter?

Free apps like Twitodon, Debirdify and Fedifinder can help you track these

How do I Join?

There is no single entrance point. You choose and sign up to a specific server.

Enter a username>email address>password

How do I pick a Server?

To sign up to Mastodon, you have to pick a server. Servers have been set up based on geographical location, subject interest, professional background or any other quirky interest. The Mastodon Servers also called ‘instances’ are individual communities, each with its own rules and culture. Mastodon has more than 7500 servers so what should you look for?

Look at things like the moderation policy, the server age or even how quickly you want to use it.

* Open Registration - Some server sign-ups are instant, requiring an email address and password while others require a manual review process before you can join.